Background: We're walking the fine line with toxic MIL, who lives about a half-hour away. DH is an only child, she's alienated almost everyone else in her life, and frankly we'd feel terrible if she lost us. We've taken care of the mental health aspects of our relationship with her, know we can't change her but have found ways to keep our lives healthy, and are doing all we can to support and protect our adult children. At this point, we only see her when our sons aren't around, and that's become Thanksgiving and maybe one or two other times a year for a couple / few hours. End background.
MIL speaks at length, in monologues. Sometimes from written material, passing out copies to each of us in attendance, but sometimes just in what's usually a casual setting. DH and I can handle it when it's just her and us, because we know she doesn't have someone else to hear her out, but it gets really tough at a gathering with anyone else. And that's where eHell comes in, I hope! Last Thanksgiving, MIL held the floor for the entire meal -- her entire time at our home, actually. It was just DH and myself, my mother, and MIL. None of the rest of us had a chance to say a word. I'm looking for suggestions for civilized interjections I can try next time. Would it be rude to say something like, "Mom, I want to hear more in a few minutes. Let me tell you the latest about such-and-such, though?" Other coping methods that have occurred to us include inviting my mother an hour or two earlier so we get a chance to chat.
This feels terribly disorganized, so please ask for any clarification. I don't even know if there's a way to salvage the situation (and we have tried compassionate honesty; she feels it's our responsibility to accommodate her. Making things go smoothly is entirely up to us). Thank you for any advice and opinions!