TL: “The visit.”

Some back ground on MC’s Mom, I’m sure he will give more, but let me give you my perspective.

MC’s mother rarely has anything nice to say about women. She bases many of her opinions of people on stereotypes. In her view, and words, most women are stupid and silly. She is a fantastic baker and gardner, but only sees the negative in herself and others. She puts herself down, for being a woman, constantly. The one type of woman she envisioned as perfect for MC, and the only type she deemed acceptable, was a woman: from the Asian continent; who was demure, unassuming and plain; whose family was wealthy; who went to the best schools; and most importantly would be subservient to her husband and his family in all matters.  She gives her and her husband the exact same haircut, she wears men’s clothes, she never wears make-up, which is fine in and of itself, but when combined with the other actions and statements through the years, it paints a fuller picture. Imagine her horror when MC decided to marry a woman who was from a poor, suburban, liberal Jewish family. You would think the fact that I put myself through college would have been a plus, but to her it was an embarrassment. To say she was not pleased with me as choice for wife is a HUGE understatement. And, heaven forbid we breed.

For the first half of our marriage, I bit my tongue and let her walk all over me, including rearranging our home without my or MC’s permission, criticizing my cooking, cleaning and whatever else she could find. I would only voice an opinion if it was one I believed she also held. I quickly found out that if it came from me, it was wrong, wrong, wrong. For example, I knew she hated beards. MC was growing one and I mentioned that I did not like it. This is when she told me that such an opinion was “stepping over the line as a wife.”

From the day we married, she criticized my cleaning, even though both MC and I worked full-time. When she came to visit us while MC was in grad-school and I was working 70 hours/week to support us and put him through school, she again was critical of my housecleaning. Never mind that MC was home far more than I was home. Overseas, we often had a housekeeper. The house was cleaned top to bottom every day. MC’s parents visited. And, she still criticized the standard of cleanliness.

Before I was 30 she would constantly tell MC we were too young for kids. When I hit 30 it was all about how I was too old for having children. Once we had kids, she would criticize my parenting as if MC had no say in it. She was proud of keeping MC in a bubble as a child and felt it was the proper way to parent. Both MC and I disagreed wholeheartedly, but kept our mouths shut.

We visited when our oldest was a toddler. We asked if we could childproof one room of the house, to have a safe place for our child to hang-out. Childproofing is not how she does things. We told them we would get a hotel, she insisted we stay with them because it would “look bad to the family.” We were not allowed to get our own glass of water or snack, nor get one for our child. We were not allowed to get together with old friends or other family members on our own. Everything had to go through her. She had many glass, ceramic knick-knacks throughout the house and was constantly telling our child “no” and telling us we needed to spank him, if we didn’t she would. When she started coming down on our child, I broke. Don’t mess with me when it comes to my children.  I told her that her house was not meant for a toddler and that we needed to move to a hotel. Oh boy, you would think I launched a nuclear war. She went off big time into one of her temper tantrums. This time, I responded. In fact, I did not hold back at all. MC didn’t say a word except that it was “time for us to leave.” All through the years, I kept hoping that MC would step in at some point and tell her to “knock it off.” But, he did not. That is how it was before D-day.

This visit just after d-day, clearly I was not in good shape when we arrived in town. We did stay at a hotel, but visited for the sake of our kids seeing their grandparents, a supervised visit! MC stood by my side every second, he held my hand in front of her, and gently and affectionately caressed my arm or back in front of her. He stood up for me and the kids when she started to go off the deep-end. He did so without backing down, while remaining calm and firm throughout. Oh my, I had never seen him like this with her. I was so proud of him, so very proud of him. And, it felt good, so good. And, you know what, I really do think she started treating him more like an adult, instead of a child, after that visit. We do limit our visits and contact. But, they are the only grandparents alive and our kids do love them (at least with the limited exposure).

Then we left the US to go back overseas.

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