In my family, it was not an either/or situation; both in-laws hated me. I was, after all, an older (three years) divorcee with two kids and I lured their baby boy into my spider web. Knowing that we could never make a go of it (because of their attitude), I tried to break it off several times. He would cry to his parents and they would be upset that I hurt his little feelings. Finally they came around to his way of thinking and decided that their baby was not going to be happy without me. I swear, I have been cursed from birth, but I said I would marry the three of them and their yappy dog (although not in those exact words).
My mother, who was a jewel, told me to be nice to them because you get more flies with honey. Trying to explain to her that everyone hates flies did absolutely no good; besides that, I did love my husband-to-be and if he came with some extra baggage, I could deal with it. I felt noble for at least three minutes and his parents and I tried to stay out of each other's way so their baby boy could be happy. As you can tell, their attitude was not the only bad attitude; I have to share some of the responsibility.
So we got married, bought some land, moved a house on it, and a garage, and a chicken coop; our new neighbors were beginning to wonder if we were ever going to build anything, and so we did. We got an old broken down wood box (that his parents no longer wanted), turned it upside down and put tar paper on the bottom (actually the top now) and look at that - we built our dog a house. We were so proud. No one was impressed except my in-laws who thought their son was actually a carpenter now. My parents stayed out of it, but went home laughing like crazy.
We had a garden, and of course my boys were old enough to weed it. They hated that job and would rather submit to the torture of having their fingernails pulled out than weed. I think they pulled up the seedlings along with the weeds, as we never did get more than a few wormy radishes and a couple of potatoes. Also the in-laws and my husband were from the "old-school" I am not sure what that means exactly, but none of them made it much past the 50's lifestyle. The boys were not allowed to have long hair and supported buzz-cuts until they were 16 and ran away from home to live with their dad.
During this time, we had our first child, a girl, whom my mother wanted to name LaDonna. I threatened to take my baby and run to some foreign country if my husband made me use that name - he didn't, so we stayed. We had two more little boys and before I knew it, my in-laws had warmed up to me and I was no longer their enemy (it only took twelve years), but still I felt like I had reached the unattainable. My father-in-law was definitely easier to get along with than my mother-in-law; probably because we named one of our boys after him and the other after his dad. My mother-in-law was probably still holding the "LaDonna grudge" against me. I did name my daughter Elizabeth after her mother, but later found out that she hated that name and feared that our daughter would be tagged “Dizzy Lizzy;” at least I tried.
We had the occasional spats, but things were better now and my hubby was happy in his little happy world. Holidays were better, and once in awhile we actually enjoyed each other's company. After all the trouble to build a good relationship, they up and died on me - just like that - gone. I am wondering if there is a moral to this story, maybe; but I do miss them and wish they had lived long enough to see their great-grandchildren.
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE Read more articles by Margaret Sleasman or search for other articles by topic below.