So the in-laws departed for their home, several states away, this morning (2 days earlier than they had planned). My darling husband volunteered to go to their hotel to say farewell, which I expected. However, as he crawled into bed last night, he all but begged me to bring the girls and accompany him. The moment I heard that I knew that he was anticipating abuse from his mother and that his only defense was to have us with him. I explained this to the girls, and we all went together this morning. The girls held it together and the standard protocol of “no one is left alone with either of his parents” was strictly followed. The in-laws have a penchant for long goodbyes, so we tolerated as much as we could. I finally pled an end to the visit, claiming pain from the knee injury I’m enduring currently (which wasn’t far from true).
I think the hardest part was watching the fallout.
- My husband talked to me about how none of the situation was his fault (true), yet he always feels crappy when his mom acts this way. That hurts to hear him admit because it’s the first time in our life together–nearly two decades– that he’s said those words. I reminded him that none of it was his fault. He spent much of the day napping or playing computer games, and that was a good remedy.
- My older girl spent a very long time outside kicking her soccer ball around, which is her stress relief. When inside, she spent very little time talking with anyone, just self-isolating to soothe her nerves. I did get a couple of genuine smiles, though.
- My younger one also napped and self-isolated a bit. She snuggled with me for a bit at a couple different points during the day.
- I buried myself in work, online holiday shopping, and anything else I could do that didn’t involve much movement since I’m off my feet for now. Anything to keep me busy, but calm and focused for everyone else’s needs.
For us, as close as we four are, the silence spoke volumes about our individual distress. But it’s over. Tomorrow is church and then a much-needed antidote of our favorite friends coming over for board games and general relaxation–and turkey pot pie from the Thanksgiving leftovers. Knowing they will be here gave us all something fun to anticipate, and that’s possibly the best medicine right now.