Now, before you all give that sharp intake of breath coupled with, “how could she?”, this is not a public post dissing my mother-in-law!
Suffice to say that we have a healthy relationship of liking and respecting each other, but having our unique differences in opinion! My mom-in-law is a very traditional, religious, and Indian culture-centric person and though I value her for that, I am far on the other end of that scale. She understands this and generally prefers not to interfere in our dealings with the kids, with our household, but every now and then, she does feel the urge of a senior person to step in with advice. And, that’s all well and good and I always reserve the right of whether to gratefully accept the advice or listen and move ahead with my own plans!
There is some stuff that I think everyone can relate to! Since my in-laws are here since last week for a visit, I thought I’d tell you a few anecdotes of our time together!
My mother-in-law, like many people of that generation who grew up under tough economic circumstances, lovingly accumulated stuff with the idea that they would need it later. Throwing things out or donating was not under consideration simply because who knew when something might be useful. Last time when we visited India, she brought out a bunch of curios that she had around the house and asked me to take it with me for decorating my own house.
The thing is, our tastes don’t match…..at all! But, rather than bluntly refuse, I politely declined saying that I already had decor items and besides, there wasn’t space in the luggage for the seemingly zillion tchotchkes she had offered. I considered the matter closed until I found to my dismay last week that she had carefully hoarded every one these knick-knacks together in her luggage and brought it all over! I plastered a fake grin on my face, amassed all of the pieces together and have them carefully kept in my closet. I’m thinking of displaying one or two while she’s there and then storing them in the attic once they leave!
There is one thing that upsets her whenever we meet and which she reiterated when she arrived and that is that her grandchildren are unable to communicate properly with her because they haven’t been taught her language, Telugu. She lays the blame in the right quarter; on The Husband; and she scolded him this time too for not exerting himself in teaching them. I myself am not overly anxious about their learning a particular Indian language, though it would be nice if they did learn Hindi, but I do feel for her. She’s a very affectionate and chatty person and to be deprived of proper communication with her eldest son’s children must be frustrating. She did assure me that she would try and teach them during the time they spend with us, so we’ll see how that goes!
I haven’t told you yet how long they will be staying with us; I believe that requires a little background by way of explanation; so, that’ll be another post!