Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Yes, I Do Know That I Sound Ungrateful. So What?

My mother-in-law arrived Sunday. “Arrived,” I guess, is not the right word. Several months ago, Mr. WG announced that he had a great plan.

“I’m going to pay for a ticket for my mother to come visit,” he said.

I was, somehow, somewhat… underwhelmed by the greatness of this plan. I would have preferred a plan where my MIL paid for her own ticket. I would have been over the moon for the plan where there was simply no visit at all and we could just be our happy family of six. But I would have settled for my MIL paying for her own ticket.

“You don’t understand,” Mr. WG explained helpfully. “It’s MUCH cheaper for me to buy her one ticket than for all six of us to fly to Israel.”

Yes, yes, that is true. But since we DID buy six tickets not even a year ago, I didn’t quite get the urgency. Whatever. Mr. WG took the kids and went to pick her up from the airport on Sunday morning. He made much of the fact that he was taking all of the kids, thereby leaving me entirely free.

Entirely free, with no car, and with a house that looked as though a tribe of monkeys had made it their nest for several years. I leapt into action, laundering, sweeping, scrubbing, and mopping. I didn’t quite finish before they got back, but I got pretty close. When I heard the garage door, I raced for the shower. By the time I got dressed and rejoined everyone in the kitchen, my MIL was unpacking her suitcase. In the kitchen.

You see, whenever my MIL comes to visit, she first spends a month or three cooking at home. She freezes everything she cooks, packs it into the suitcase, and brings it to America. Because we have no food her.

As she unpacked approximately 27 containers of various combinations of frozen meat and fried dough, a spool of thread and a needle fell out. “Is this yours?” my husband asked.

“Yes, the last time I was here, you needed a button sewn back on your shirt. So I thought that you might have some more mending.”

Good thing she brought that. They stopped selling such items, what, ten years ago in America?

Next, she began explaining to me about the proper care and feeding of my children.

“You know,” she said, “you need to toilet train D. You need to just take off his diaper and put underwear on him. Then, you just ask him every few minutes, ‘Do you need to go potty?’ And you put him on the toilet every twenty minutes or so.”

Well! Thanks for that helpful course. You know what? Knock yourself out. Go ahead. No problem.

Monday morning, the jet lag had her up at 4:30 a.m. So when I came out for breakfast, she said, “I figured, since I was awake anyway, I should get to work. So I organized all the kids’ closets upstairs. Also the playroom.”

“Great. Thank you. That was very nice of you.”

“Come on, I’ll show you what I did and explain how I did it.”

“I don’t climb stairs before I drink coffee,” I muttered. Understand, I don’t really like to speak before I drink coffee.

“But I want to explain it to you. See, I folded all the clothing and put it neatly on the shelves.”

“Fantastic.”

“And that way, it will all be neat.”

“Yep.”

“And I picked up all the toys and put them in boxes.”

“Excellent.”

“So now the playroom is clean.”

“Uh-huh.”

“And now, you just have to tell the children to make sure to keep it that way.”

“Right.”

Today, Mr. WG decided to go to a conference in the city. For the whole day. Which means that MIL will spend the day sitting on her bed upstairs. Just sitting, staring into space. That way, when Mr. WG comes home, she can tell him, “No, I didn’t do anything. She didn’t give me lunch.”

By far and away, though, my favorite part of her visits is that ALL OF MY HUSBAND’S SIBLINGS CALL HER EVERY SINGLE DAY. When she is here, I am like a secretary.

Deep, cleansing breaths. It’s all good. It’s all good.

9 comments:

Teej said...

Oh my god. I'm scared to ask: How long is she staying??

At least when she leaves, your son will magically be potty trained and your children will never, ever again sully the playroom with errant toys that have no business being out of their boxes.

smashedpea said...

Heh. Sorry, but better you than me....

For us, the problem is my mother.... the last time she was here (she lives on another continent, too) she stayed for over a month and my peace-loving husband who never even raises his voice kept phoning me at work, threatening to bash in her head with a shovel. I was back at work 'cause he was taking some of our parental leave and I refused to take vacation....

Now my payback will be this coming September when she's coming back to admire her newest grandchild who will be born in June or thereabouts. It will be me who's at home and my husband is refusing to take vacation.

Oh, how much I'm looking forward to that already....

Scottsdale Girl said...

OH MR WG would be in the SHITHOUSE if he were my hubby...no day long conferences when YOUR MOTHER is in town!!!!!

Deep breaths babe.

ADHD Mom said...

WG, you are a saint!

Meredith said...

You can pick your nose, but you can't pick your family. Ironically, that was my mother's sentence of choice when talking about her MIL.

Whenever I tell people how my dad spends hours every night cleaning my kithcen when he is here, they all say things like "send him to my house!" and I have to say, "you don't understand! It is mental illness! It is annoying!"

I hope you survive the visit! Is she at least a good cook? And does she know that she sounds like such a stereotype of the Jewish mom?

Dramalish said...

You are a saint.
That's all I'm sayin'.
-D.

PS: I really need to add you to my bloglines. I friggin' love the way you write.

The Queen Mama said...

So I guess there are benefits to living only a few hours away from your parents and in-laws. No long extended visits at your home. I will count myself lucky and pray for you.

fluentsoul said...

I laughed aloud as I read this. My husband asked, "What's so funny?"

I said, "I'm reading a blog about a woman whose mother-in-law has come for a visit."

"Oh, is it like when your mom comes to visit?" he asked.

"No," I said. "It's like when YOUR mom comes to visit."

My thoughts are with you. :-)

WriterGrrl said...

Thank you all for your kind support. :-) The visit ends at the end of the month. In the meantime, it helps to know you all share my pain. It eases my burden. :-)