The first time I met my mother-in-law, I felt she didn’t like me. While her husband was making conversation with me, trying to make me feel welcome, she only sat there like a stone. She only said, “welcome home my dear”. I think I can understand her at that point. I didn’t know my husband and I would end up together. We weren’t that serious yet but he said we needed to involve the people who really mattered to us: our parents. So when we were six months into the relationship, he took me home to meet his.
I was concerned but I didn’t want to bother too much. After all, sometimes they give you all the signs and keys that it’s you they want but one day you’ll be left alone with nothing but memories you want to get rid of and tears that never stop flowing. A year into our relationship, we went over to his parent’s again. I was met with the same treatment. Unbothered, little communication and little interest. My mind began looking for signs that she didn’t like me. I mean, I had been there twice, I called from time to time, I called on important days and yet still, she couldn’t bring herself to show me a little warmth?
Then one day, her son went on his knee and asked me to be his. I was low-key hoping we’d end up together by this point but to say the least, I was blown away. Then he called me later saying his parents wanted us to come home to dinner. The woman who met me at the door and the one who had been opening the door for me were two different people. My mother-in-law was all over me, hugging me and telling me congratulations. The happiness I was feeling overpowered my confusion.
She didn’t even wait for us to finish eating. She whisked me away to have some time with me. We went to sit on the veranda and she talked about how she was excited that her son was settling down. She went on about how the preparations would be and how everything would be done. It had only been 72hours since he had proposed! I was surprised but I kept quiet.
Indeed, she took over almost everything. She wouldn’t even allow my mother to make suggestions. She wanted the décor a certain way, she wanted a certain kind of atmosphere and even arranged for everything concerning the church venue and the reception. I complained to my husband but he pleaded with me to indulge her. She would call for meetings even in the night when I was tired. Then she sent me some pictures and when I looked carefully, I could finally understand what was happening.
She was reliving her wedding day through mine. I told my mother what I found and she was so angry. She had not even imposed one thing from her wedding on me although she had begged me to try on her gown. She understood she could suggest things to me but not force it down my throat.
She had wanted to confront her but I told her it wasn’t worth it at this point. I asked my mum to let it go on my condition that I got a gown which was a modern version day of hers. She said okay. When my in-law to be went for the dress fitting with us, I wasn’t surprised. What annoyed me was how she wanted me to try on styles she wanted, styles which were not near what I wanted. Then she innocently suggested I try on her gown and get it alterated for the day. My mother couldn’t hold it in again.
She spoke out about all that had happened and how it wasn’t right. “At least, let her have this.” My in-law went mute. She was quite until we got home and my husband called me to tell me how his mother had asked for one thing and my mother had lashed out at her. I was furious. He saw the anger clouding my face and immediately let it go.
On the wedding day, although everything went on smoothly, I wasn’t in the best of spirits. My mother had to constantly cheer me up. The only thing we had control over was the traditional wedding, the food and my dresses. I was a bit sad but I moved on. At the reception, you could tell most of the décor and things there weren’t my taste or my husband’s. My husband wasn’t too happy about it either but we had to go on with the ceremony either ways.
I am about to give birth but this time, I am calmly but firmly telling my in-law what I want. I will not allow her to relive her birthing experience or the naming ceremony for her children through mine