I think I’ve decided to start with the stories about M’s family, purely because the drama with them started earlier in the week. On something like Monday or Tuesday, he was checking his e-mail when he discovered a note from his aunt, the one with the house in town who was hosting his family’s Thanksgiving dinner. She very rudely informed him that we were neglecting his family, were being selfish, and would be required to attend the family events at certain required times.
Never once have we noticed any strained relationships with her, although her daughters and M don’t get along (they pick on him relentlessly yet get defensive and upset easily if he picks back at all). We couldn’t believe where this attitude was coming from. How could she be upset that we don’t spend all of Thanksgiving over there when we’re spending all of Christmas with his parents? How many grown children get to see their parents for both big holidays every year? Her expectations are a bit much and clearly selfish with her not considering my family or parents.
She also took it upon herself to hijack the mini-party I’d mentioned throwing for PJ. M’s mom was the one behind it all as I’d stopped caring whether it even happened. I figured that if they really wanted to celebrate his birthday, they’d push the matter. They did, so it was going to happen. But then the aunt decided that it wasn’t fair to celebrate just his birthday and changed the party to an “everybody had a birthday this year” party. I was seriously offended that she decided on her own that we shouldn’t have a party for PJ, without ever mentioning her problems with the party to me. I’d specifically said that I didn’t want to have any gifts for PJ since he has too many toys already, but her new party required us to go spend $30-40 on gifts for everyone. Needless to say, we didn’t go. Neither did M’s parents or brother and sister-in-law.
The funny part about the stress with the aunt is that when M told them about the e-mail, they were just as offended as M and I were. We made every effort to see them, M’s grandparents, and brother and SIL, but without ever making it over to the aunt’s house. We actually spent more time with them this visit than most. It seems that the purpose of her e-mail ended up happening, if not in the way she’d intended. It was much less stressful than normal, too, without the rest of the family around. And we were on the same side against somebody; that always bonds people.
But that’s not the end to the drama. Surprisingly, M’s parents weren’t really a part of the other issue either. M’s SIL is about 21 weeks pregnant and suddenly got violently ill on Thanksgiving. She stayed in the hospital overnight, apparently to get rehydrated, and was released the next morning. When I heard more details about it from M’s mom, it seems that the drama queen who can’t stand when she isn’t the center of attention (funny because M’s mom is usually the same way) probably exaggerated how she was feeling. She was so weak after being sick a couple of times that she had to be carried to the car and into the hospital. She couldn’t even sit up in a wheelchair in the hospital and had to use a bedpan while she was there. M and I both agree that she probably puked once but told everybody it was repeatedly just to get attention and that she made everything sound much worse than it was. I bet all the nurses at the hospital were rolling their eyes at her overly delicate condition. They may have even admitted her just to make her (and M’s mom) happy.
Do I sound bitter? I know it probably sounds that way, but I’ve been around the SIL enough now to know that while she comes across sweet, she will go to great lengths to make sure she is getting the attention she thinks she deserves. Even if she really was that sick this week, she’s cried wolf enough times that it casts a real shadow of a doubt on her story. Yeah, and M’s brother totally married their mother. The two must have fed off each other for this drama to make it sound as bad as it really did. Sigh. Why can’t we have one single holiday without all this drama? And why the heck did we agree to spend Christmas with them this year?