Three Kid Circus : Outlaws and Inlaws

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Outlaws and Inlaws

Have mercy.

Let's just say that my relationship with my inlaws is uncomfortable. We don't know how to communicate, and the small talk always manages to fade quickly.

My father-in-law was a GI stationed in Korea when he met my future mother-in-law. After an long courtship, they married and produced two sons, both born in Korea. Fearing that the boys would be ostracized in their small, rural village for their American parentage, my MIL agreed to settle in America. This meant leaving an affluent (by rural Korean standards... They had servants) family behind, and moving into a mobile home park.

Just before his 5th birthday, my husband arrived in America. His mother was instructed to stop speaking Korean to the boys, so they do not speak or understand, beyond simple commands and run of the mill insults and swear words. My hubs grew up in the trailer park, and on our first date, announced "I'm basically white trash. My dad keeps the Christmas lights on the trailer year round." I thought he was kidding. Uh, nope.

We've had a year-long reprieve from inlaw visits. My MIL has needed false teeth for a year, and did not want to attend social gatherings. Army dentistry being what it is, and also stubborn old lady pride, we have dodged the inlaw entertaining bullet.

Last Sunday morning, we got the call. "Dis-a guhlandma. How ever-body? I got my teeth!" *note* I am not intending to make fun of anyone, including my MIL, except maybe a little bit. She really talks like this, although when she gets angry with me she speaks very clear, concise English with less ethnic stylizing. In fact, she's the Queen of Morose Messages. Every couple of weeks we get the "Dis-a guhlandma. Why nobody call me. I could dead. You wouldn't know."
So, yeah, we should call her more. Point taken. Uh, sorry. Off topic.

Anyway, the new teeth signal the Opening of the Inlaw Social Season. I always get myself worked into a frenzy over this, pretty much for nothing. Both the MIL and I have mellowed from my days as a pregnant newlywed. Sure, I still have to lock my bedroom door at night when she stays with us, because she likes to wander the house. When co-sleeping with my son, I woke with a start to find her trying to lift him out of my arms at 2 am. I don't care how much you love your MIL, you do NOT want her standing over your bed at 2 am.

My FIL likes barbecue, beer and science fiction. Oh, and he has a long beard that he has split into two pigtail type beards. And he loves baseball hats with slogans on them. About farting and things. We have a mutual standoffish relationship. I am polite, and he is not, but he thinks he is, so in my politeness, I pretend he is right.

We'll see if this is the inlaw season that makes me an outlaw.