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The Saga of my MiL and Christmas

Beware, lengthy rant to follow.

So, my Mother-in-Law is not usually rational. Lets get that out of the way up front. Last year, she called us on Christmas Eve to tell us our Christmas gift was not up to standard. (We sent a food basket. It apparently had too much meats and cheeses and not enough chocolate). This year, my husband sent a different food basket, that got there on the 23rd of December.

On the 23rd of December my MiL sends Husband a text message thanking us for the gift. She also added, "Hope you're not mad, I didn't send you anything this year."


Now, here's the thing. We did NOT discuss not exchanging gifts this year. She did not apologize that they would be late because she forgot to send something. She just left it as, "I didn't send anything." We have always exchanged gifts. This is now my fifth Christmas with my husband, and we've exchanged gifts every year prior. She does not have any pressing financial problems that we are aware of. She did send her grandchild a gift, but that was apparently it. She claimed she "forgot" to send gifts for my husband and me. I will also note that we are expecting twins in February, and she had yet to offer to get anything off the baby registry. So most of our relatives are sending baby gifts for presents, which we are fine and happy with! My MiL did not even consider going that route, it seems.

So my husband called her yesterday, asking if we'd made her mad somehow. He was understandably a bit hurt by the complete and total lack of Christmas presents, which took him by surprise. Again, I will emphasize that we were not expecting anything particularly elaborate or fancy, but at least a token of acknowledgement. He said he would have understood if we'd discussed it beforehand, but she didn't, and didn't even send us a card or baby shower gift. He also noted that she hasn't seemed interested in trying to make plans to come out and see the twins when they were born, or discussed with us the possibility of us traveling out there. As these are her second and third grandchildren, he'd thought she'd be a bit more interested. Husband asked what was going on, and if she was mad or offended by something we'd done that we weren't aware of.

My MiL blew up. She started sobbing and yelling on the phone that my husband doesn't call enough, and that he was accusing her of being a bad mother. Her reasoning for not sending a baby shower gift was that the twins were not born yet My husband at that point gave up, as there was no hope of having a rational conversation.

So today my BiL, who lives with MiL, called my husband, asking what the hell was going on. Apparently MiL had been ranting all day today about how my husband was ungrateful and a terrible son. BiL listened to my husband's story and noted that it was pretty understandable that my husband had been a bit hurt by the situation. BiL and Step-Father in Law had also been taken aback that MiL had just "forgotten" to send a gift to her older son. After BiL talks to my husband he asks to talk to his niece, Stepkid. MiL gets on the phone to talk to Stepkid but refuses to talk to my husband when Stepkid puts him back on the line.


So anyway, right as we're going into church tonight, MiL calls. She is (1) upset that we won't put off the church service to talk to her right then and there and (2) sends text message throughout the service stating the various things she was now getting us as Christmas presents. She now claims she is getting us a crib, mattress, bedding, crib bumpers, and a changing table, and wanted us to know that so we didn't get duplicates. This means she probably did not use the baby registry (which she had the link to), since we registered for some of those things, but not others - notably the changing table, of which we already have one. So God knows what model of crib and other items we will end up with.

And the thing is - we didn't want all that stuff from her. We wanted maybe a ten-dollar onesie that said "Grandma loves me" or something. A small acknowledgment that she loves us, is thinking of us at Christmas, and is excited about more grandchildren coming. But now this has all turned into an endless pissing contest of how much money she can spend to make US feel guilty over being a little hurt that she didn't send it a Christmas present.


So anyway, had to get that off my chest. Were we being spoiled adult brats here? Or was it a situation where we were right to be genuinely a little hurt? Is my MiL overreacting or did we? And what the hell do we do now to fix the God damn situation? Considering that this is a woman who holds grudges against her siblings that date back forty years, I'm not incredibly hopeful that there's much we can do at this point except sigh and wonder what fresh hell next Christmas will bring.

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