We'll take a second to blame our fellow blogger, Sally, for this posting. It started off with a comment on her post, but I felt I was getting a bit long-winded, so decided to just say "to heck with it" and do my own post. Here goes…
As I've mentioned probably more than any of you care to hear, I'm an only child. This can be a good thing when it comes to siblings. I've bemoaned the fact many times over the years as Hubs has had to deal with his family that we, too, have given our children … siblings. Except for a few hiccups along the road when they were small, and perhaps a few more as teens. they are now actually friends… a feat by no means simple and one I am very proud of. They did it. Not me.
The dynamic of Hubs' family is this. He's the eldest of three children. He has a sister a couple of years younger, and a brother about six years younger (my age). As much as his mother and father were teased about the last one being a "surprise", they don't take the bait… so we assume he was "planned". Okay, whatever. Hubs' always farmed with his dad. When he was young they had livestock – cattle and pigs, as well as being grain farmers. Ironically enough when Hubs was drafted into the Navy, dad sold off the livestock. Guess it was too much work alone. The younger brother had no interest in the farm and instead was interested in fast cars and ditching school, leading to various other problems. The sister was, and has always been, The Princess. (Yes, she has actually moved into Queen status, but less I confuse you with MIL who is THE QUEEN, I'll refer to her as The Princess… or TP). She was the one that when Hubs' dropped out of college and got drafted, managed to get not one college degree, but three, count 'em… three. Yeah. She made up for both the brothers in that department.
After Hubs got out of the service, he wasn't given a choice. It was just assumed he would come home to farm. There wasn't anyone else to do it, so he did. His mom and dad built a new house with the good grain prices of the 70's and moved, leaving him to live in the house he'd grown up in. Fast forward a few years until I came on the scene. The first thing I did wrong was be a divorcee with two children. MIL never could quite get a handle on that. Somewhere in the back of her mind I was never quite good enough. Whatever. Hubs loved me, that was what counted. I was a bit peturbed however that she refused to have my children call her "grandma". She never wanted to be called that until about 14 years ago when the last grandchild was born. Suddenly she was the perfect grandmother. Go figure.
TP had married before us, and moved to a far eastern state to have a dairy farm with her husband. They ended up having two children, just about the same ages as our two eldest. Being as they lived out there, phone calls and letters (before the days of e-mail) were pretty frequent between MIL and TP and occasionally Hubs would get drift of the conversations. Lots of "oh woe is me"… and "things are hard" … constituting secreted checks being mailed out a day or two later. MIL has no idea we know this, but the facts are there. One of my most vivid memories was the time we scrimped and saved to buy our kids a fairly large swingset (there were four kids, so had to be big enough)… and when MIL got a glimpse of that she immediatly thought TP's kids needed the same thing, so *swoosh* went the checkbook and off went the money… yup. Not long afterwards we heard how thrilled TP's kids were with the new swingset.
Over the years BIL got married and had the two kids… The Boys. They live just a few miles away in the next town over. You don't see them unless they want something or want to kiss up to MIL for something. Several years ago we got wind of the fact they were in severe debt. Suddenly, you didn't hear about it any more. Speculation, anyone?
We have to walk on tiptoe around anything the rest of the family does or says. Everything is a big secret. The TP's eldest let slip a few years ago that his parents had come into a windfall that allowed his and his sisters' college education to be paid for. In full. With money left over. Did anyone else tell us that? Did MIL share the good news? Hell no.
When BIL youngest started having some medical and behavioral problems, it was all whispering and innuendo and hush-hush and secretive looks… but when anything is going on with OUR kids, it becomes quickly a group project to be analyzed and gossiped about all over town.
I won't even get into the whole religious thing, except to say we didn't get our children baptized. *gasp* According to MIL they're probably all going to hell. We don't think that her putting on every diamond she owns, her most expensive suit, and washing her car to go to church guarentees her a place in heaven, but we could be wrong. Guess we'll find out someday.
Hubs' shop is at his mom's house. It has been that way forever. He shows up, she shoots down from the house to jabber (yes, jabber) at him non-stop until he can barely think straight. He is the one who is responsible for many of her bills. He cleans her driveway, he makes sure she gets to town in the wintertime if she can't get out with her car. He (involuntarily) takes her to the races every week. He feels as though his mother has designated him to be his dad's replacement, since he died several years ago. It is as though Hubs' is responsible for her well-being, care, and entertainment…and yet? How do you say "no" when she's one of the landlords and every farmer knows you have to kiss the landlords' ass? *Sigh* It's a fine line, I tell ya.
Yet? After all that he tries to do for her… after he is the one she calls when she wakes up in the morning to find her husband dead beside her in bed… who is the one she depends on for so many things…Who is the one who gets picked on? Who gets the guilt trips laid on him all the time? Yeah, you guessed it. Hubs. I don't understand what drives this woman, but trust me, it isn't love. A sad thing to say, but truthful. I hope my kids can't say the same thing about me. Ever.