Several years ago when I was still married, I had in-laws that were not very kind or inclusive. While they did many things that could include them into the halls of Etiquette Hell, there was one Christmas instance that stood out.
My son had just turned 6 months old and it was his first Christmas. My husband and I brought him over to my Mother-in-Law and Father-In-Law’s house Christmas day for dinner and family. My mother-in-law did not care for me and had made a point since my husband and I had married of never inviting me to family functions, only telling my husband that he “could bring that girl” if he wanted. It was Christmas, and we had a new baby, so my husband and I were hopeful that this would start to change.
The extended family was coming over that evening, and his brothers had also been by the night before. We had not been able to come to both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so had chosen to come for Christmas Day to see the extended family we rarely saw. We made sure to plan to come early so that we could visit with his parents and brothers, but mother-in-law had decided that everyone else would open gifts the night before. We arrived an hour and a half before the cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. (as planned, we were right on time) and put our gifts under the tree. After we had been there for about 45 minutes, I told my mother-in-law that I would need to nurse my son and excused myself, telling her that it would only take about 20 minutes.
The moment I was down the hallway, she drug all of the gifts out from the tree for my husband and baby and told my husband that it was time to open gifts. He was under the impression (somehow) that *I* thought he should get that out of the way while I was nursing our son. He thought that it was strange she was rushing him to finish, but just went along with it. When I came out of the back hallway and saw all of the open gifts 25 minutes later, my face must have registered shock. My mother-in-law threw me a smug look and walked out of the room while my husband’s face showed that he realized I had once again been cut out of a family moment. He came over and whispered how sorry he was as I focused on the baby and tried not to let myself get upset by yet another omission.
Later that evening as the buffet style dinner was being served, I realized that everything -and I mean EVERYTHING, even the side dishes- all contained noticeable quantities of a serious allergen of mine. Something she was well aware of as I had twice before been given this food item at her house (and that she had been told about numerous other times). It’s a serious allergy that requires me to carry an Epi-pen for potential anaphylaxis. It’s also not an item you would expect to find in everything including the macaroni and cheese. I went into the kitchen to see if there was anything else I could get. It’s a large galley style kitchen and she didn’t see a cousin come in from the other side as I explained that I just wanted to see if I could grab a peanut butter sandwich or something. She then handed me a quarter of a head of lettuce and a tomato and glared at me, before sniping that if “just had” to eat then I could make myself a salad with those two things. The cousin’s face was one of complete horror.
So that’s my Ehell Christmas story. Cut out of opening gifts, attempted poisoning, and an offering of leftover lettuce and a tomato for dinner when caught. 1006-15