In retrospect, I was dressed all wrong the first time I met my future mother-in-law. Of course, I wasn't expecting to meet her then, and had no inkling I would be marrying her son...still, perhaps it was a bad start.
I'm 13 years younger than my husband, and I have a baby face. So when B- walked into her son's house and saw a girl sitting cross-legged on his couch, and wearing no make-up and a baseball cap, she probably envisioned statutory rape charges. I'm sure my freckles didn't help.
The initial meeting was brief and she was friendly; there was no indication that — if we were to spend time together — it would be an unpleasant experience. I liked B-, she was like Mrs. Cleaver. I'd had a tumultuous relationship with my own mother, and was touched at her love for her children, and her ability to stay married for over 40 years. (I know it's sad when that's considered an abnormality in this society.)
Subsequent meetings found me more nervous. The relationship was becoming more serious and I wanted her to like me. Still, I wasn't panic stricken. I knew I was a good woman, I knew I had my boyfriend happy, and I knew that I came to her with a open heart and a love for her son. I figured we would be friends and she would be the mother figure I wanted in my life.
It didn't take long for the comments to start. The implication that I was not a good housekeeper (by then I'd moved in with my boyfriend), the comments on my not cooking enough, just little barbs said with a smile.
Now I can be a tough cookie, but I have a unique ability to discount unkind comments said by people whose good favor I wish to be in. So it took me a while to actually accept that I Was Not Grade-A Daughter-in-Law material in her eyes.
I knew she was mad that I insisted she call before she came over and knock on the door before she came in. It was for her sake too — man&woman in love, er, ya might not just want to walk in. (Although she did call another son the day after his wedding and wonder why he would not answer the phone.) But I figured time would take care of that — her anger not, um, man&woman. Although...