Saturday, February 17, 2007

So, There Was This Thing Last Week...

I woke up last Sunday morning feeling bad.

Not bad in the way that anticipates people whom I don't particularly like visiting my home, but bad in the way that signals much impending physical discomfort. Although there was a bit of the former in there, as well.

I have known Hubba-hubba's parents for nearly as long as I have known Hubba-hubba. He lived at home for a goodly portion of our relationship, so my interactions with them were more numerous, obviously, than if he had lived elsewhere. And somewhere in that forced proximity, I learned too much about them. Too many things that they did or failed to do. I wonder if my feelings for them would be different if I hadn't spent so much damn time with them.

Nah.

The problem with them is that they are small people. Not small in stature, necessarily, although to know that someone as small as Hubba-hubba's mother produced as large a person as him never fails to astound me as to the intricate wonders of DNA.

No, they are small in mind. Their lives revolve around a very tightly drawn circle of friends and family. And that's it. No lofty debates about the future of the Iraqi people or if Hillary should run for President for them. They care only about the people with whom they interact on a daily or semi-daily basis and the issues that stem from that. My MIL is a woman who feels that a pause in the conversation is a personal failure and that she must rush to fill it, no matter what inanity or absurdity pops out of her mouth in the process.

And that has always bothered me.

I like to think of myself as a person who loves debate. Who loves to learn and discuss different and varied topics. The wider a conversation can span, going from Shakespeare to current foreign trade policy and everything in between, the happier I am. Thus, to make me sit and listen to the saga of how Cousin Dora (a person to which I haven't the slightest interest in, nor would I know if she walked up to me and kicked me in the ass) in Missouri finally left that husband of hers is akin to torture.

But luckily for all of us, I was feeling bad. I gave in when she insisted on dressing Mr. P in the outfit she had bought him, which was embarassingly babyish and ugly. I simply nodded when I learned more about the children of Hubba-hubba's sister and their various acheivements than I really care to know. I did nothing when the visit that was supposedly set up for them to get to know their grandson resulted in them practically ignoring him the entire time and instead prattling on about Uncle This and Aunt That. I failed to become actively resentful of the preferential treatment of certain grandchildren. Cuss words forbidden in our home around Mr. P and spoken by them in conversation did not produce a dirty look. Backhanded compliments were duly ignored, because although it would have been dramatic and satisfying to hurl the chips and salsa in their direction and cry, "Enough!" I simply wasn't rasied that way. And did I mention, I felt bad?

I somehow had managed to hold it together while they were here, but as soon as they were gone, the pain and discomfort descended, hard. The nausea landed like the cliched piano dropped from the 3rd story window, and did not relent until the anti-nausea drugs added to my IV line on Thursday gave me some release.

It was probably better that way. Because with this large gap in time and concsiousness since their visit, I can more clearly see his parents for what they are. Doesn't mean I like it, but it helps to put things in perspective. Just because they came over and we chatted for a bit does not mean I like them or approve of them. It does not mean they will now become a huge part of my life, or of Mr. P's for that matter. It does not mean that we will become a big happy extended family that sings Christmas carols around a blazing fire. It does not mean that I will forget.

One wrong move, and they are out. And they know it. As petty as that is, it sure makes me feel better.

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