Last year was a particularly tough one for us. My in laws are quite healthy and fit for their age but whenever they visit us, it’s like they are on an extended vacation, which is quite fine, if you are visiting for one or two months but when you are here for six months, they overstay their welcome in my mind. I don’t want to go further into what they do and don’t do but suffice it to say that every prior visit has ended in us drifting further apart than getting closer. Every visit, I would check off the days mentally until the day of their departure and sigh in relief when they did leave. Anyways, long story short, P’s Uncle notified P to start their green card processing and P asked his parents if they were willing to move here and they said Yes, so of course I was notified of the grand plans and while I was boiling with anger on – Shouldn’t you have tried to have a good relationship with your daughter in law before you thought of moving in with us? OR Shouldn’t someone have thought of asking my opinion or whether the timing is right for us when you made this big decision? And other such questions, but there was nothing I could do about it. My year started with me bursting into tears and crying all night after P informed me that come summer, they will be here with us and that’s going to be pretty much the story of our lives this year onwards!
I went through phases of trying to accept and adjust but then memories of prior visits made me miserable. P and I who love each other so much and are happy otherwise went through this constant sadness and stress, we fought daily and there came a point when I asked him – if he wanted a divorce. He didn’t even say No to it, just said that he wanted us both – his parents and R and me but because his parents were “helpless and old” while I could fend for myself; he would have to choose his parents. His parents are in their early sixties and anything but helpless and old.
January through June, we fought and cried, I prepared myself mentally to be divorced, imagining my birth mother’s torture (every time I face something bad, I am more stressed out with the thought of the dramatic fits my birth mom will throw, yes, that’s the kind of support she has given me over the years), imagining her saying a divorcee’s kid turns out to be a divorcee…Truth be told, I also tried to be the bigger person here and tried to be accommodating and adjusting but if anything my birth mother’s life has taught me, is to create your own happiness, you cannot silently/quietly slave away and make sacrifices for someone who doesn’t deserve them. And then when you have wasted a chunk of your life toiling for someone, who doesn't appreciate it and look back and regret it, you are the only one to blame here. Do what you do, with your own choice and your free will. I, at the very least, feel entitled to this, being brought up in a free country and independent and what not..
Come June, they landed at our place. It was like emotions were already running high for me. They of course jumped right into vacation mode with my father in law gluing himself to the computer all day and just showing up for lunch-dinner and spending half an hour or so with R – quality time which was enough for him and everything adjusted according to his TV schedule. Mother-in-law started trying to attain Most important person in the house status with all invitations and advice to be routed through her without actually doing any of the work. R took an instant dislike to these new guests who encroached on her precious evening time with Mommy; after all, coming home from daycare everyday she would miss me and want to play with me but I would be in the kitchen all evening, cleaning and cooking. Plus sister in law agreed to one month visit by her parents, promised a 2 month stay and then cut back to one, most conveniently. Things just turned from bad to horrible to worse and every thing I did was misunderstood and vice versa. MIL made amazing accusations to P, "S must have told bad things about me to R so R doesn’t bond with me", if you couldn’t bond with your grand daughter even after five months of staying here day in day out, the problem is with you! She is freaking 2, its hard to bias a child at that age, they are very innocent. Of course I am decent enough to not do a mean thing like that but even if MIL believed it with her heart that I was capable of it, its not possible, that’s a baby, you cannot teach a baby to hate.
Many accusations, uncomfortable evenings, tears shed on both sides later, finally one day we had the conversation about the green card sponsorship. We didn’t encourage it and they left it at that. October is when they finally left. I got pregnant in November and felt on top of the world with a baby in my arms and another one in my tummy and an India trip planned. Of course that was not meant to be, India trip was cancelled on doctor’s orders, baby in my tummy departed and I was left crying when I didn’t think I had any more tears left in me through the year.
I had kinda seen it coming, not the miscarriage, but the visit, so I had signed up for the half marathon and I did it and P ran with me and somehow those 13.1 miles made us reaffirm our love for each other, our belief in our relationship and our marriage. Now I will try to remember 2009 as the year in which I ran my first half marathon (much to the chagrin of my family members, friends and co-workers because I am not really an athletic type). I will not remember 2009 as the year in which I must have cried more than all my 31 years on this planet combined. But I will hope I will never have such a 2009 again because from this point on, I refuse to make sacrifices for people who don’t appreciate me. I refuse to feel guilty for not having fulfilled duties when I haven’t been fortunate enough to have received the same treatment. I refuse to be a bigger person because I am not a saint. I refuse to live my life in misery for people who do not appreciate anything I do. I will focus on my priorities – my husband, my daughter, my baby in the future, my work, my home, my family, my friends. I will cut out the pain and the hurt. I am a good person and I will not allow someone else to make me doubt it.
I so wanted a Hum Saath Saath hain type family arrangement. Anyone who knows me in personal life know how much I like having people over and staying in touch and all that. So I kept feeling guilty and sad over how this whole situation has panned out. But now I have realised you cannot get along with everyone in the world. And sometimes you just cant live under the same roof for an extended period of time with someone else. So you just do the next best thing. Instead of six months, you try for three months visits; instead of a green card sponsorship right now, you think about a gc sponsorship ten years from now and so on. And hopefully as time passes old wounds will be healed and new relationships will be forged.