A few years ago I met a wonderful man after many years of being divorced. FH and I dated for a bit and at this time I had the “pleasure” of meeting his dear mother who was visiting from overseas. It was a very quick introduction and she seemed like a very sweet elderly lady. I could not understand why FH always made excuses not to talk to her when she phoned and why he tried to keep out of her way when she did visit.
About a year after we met we became engaged. FH called his parents overseas to let them know. Everyone was very excited as FH had also been through quite an ugly divorce and his friends and family were happy that he was moving on.
We got engaged in the November and FMIL decided to come and visit the following January. It was going to be a little after Christmas, but we decided that we would make a special day when they were over to celebrate Christmas as a family, especially for the children’s sake.
I was so excited for FMIL to come and visit, and went to all kinds of trouble (not really trouble as I do enjoy spoiling people and Christmas is one of my favourite holidays) to make sure that they would have an extra special stay with us. She called regularly and I became suspicious as to how sweet she really was when she made a few comments.
First she was not happy that I had made up the spare room for her and FFIL together and especially NOT a double bed – I thought the reason they used single beds on the previous visit was because they had chosen to sleep in the smaller guest room – together mind you. Fair enough, they are elderly and may need space. Then she demanded we buy brand new beds for them. When I told her that we still had the new ones FH had bought for their last visit about 2 years previously she balked at that and complained that she had no idea who may have slept on them in the interim (????). Not only did we have to buy new beds, she insisted on brand new bedding as well and wanted me to keep the slips. FMIL has plenty of money but I did not expect her to pay for any of this, but her insistence that I keep the slips made me think that she was going to offer when she got over to us , it wasn’t that but rather to check that I had in fact done as she asked.
Well now to the real tacky part. Christmas tree is kept up especially for their arrival, specially wrapped gifts under the tree all ready for FMIL, FFIL, and some extras for the kids to open on our extra special Christmas celebration. FMIL arrives at our home and is naturally exhausted so we all spend a quiet evening and early to bed for our big day the next day. Next morning I am up starting to get the trimming ready for our family celebration and FMIL asks me to go and fetch the gifts she placed for me under the tree. I am confused as we are all going to open them later??? She insists, so off I go and I fetch them and she eagerly watches as I open them. Inside is body lotion and a perfume, but I have no idea of the make as we don’t have it where I live. She asks me if I know it and I say that I don’t. She then begins to tell how expensive it is and how popular it is where she lives. She goes on and tells me that just the body lotion alone had cost a small, and that I would never be able to even afford the perfume for myself. Well I am quite taken back and feel rather embarrassed. I tell her that although I really appreciate the lovely gift and am very happy to have it, she really did not need to spend that kind of money on me. She then turns to me and smiles and says, “Oh no, I never spent a cent. A friend of mine died the other day and I went to help clear out her cupboards and found this and I thought you would like it.”
Well knock me down with a feather. Thankfully FH walked in moments later as I was still sitting there with my jaw hanging open.
I have since come to accept that MIL is quite a different person and fully understand DH wanting to spend as little time as possible with her – it just combats many arguments. I try and keep an open mind and a sense of humour when dealing with her. 0726-10
Weeell. That certainly takes “regifting” to a whole, new level previously thought too gauche for anyone to actually try.