I returned home from the party at Casino Morongo on Saturday around noon covered in puke and Sprite to find that my mother-in-law was not speaking to me.
At first I thought it was my smell. But, it turns out it wasn't the fact that I was covered in spit and Sprite that made her turn her head in silent reproach.
I soon found out (once I awakened from my hangover induced slumber Saturday evening) that my mother-in-law took offense to the fact that I used the F word while I was waiting for my husband to get ready for the gala the night before. She told my husband that she couldn't sleep all night because she was upset with the way I spoke to him. She added that she would move out within the year.
OK, I need to just say it (my mother-in-law will never read this blog because she doesn't use the Internet)...what the fuck?
Let me take a slight detour right now and tell you all that has happened in the last three months.
My father-in-law Alberto died suddenly in his sleep one day about three months ago and my mother-in-law moved in with us. Now, it wasn't something that we planned on or even anticipated, it was awful and horrible and we never hesitated to invite her to stay.
It was also a practical necessity because my seventy-six year old mother-in-law doesn't drive on the freeway and doesn't speak English too well. And, even though I hate to admit it, I knew my husband was a momma's boy when I married him. I think it was even in our vows.
So, in the space of one morning, everything in my life changed and I changed with it.
That's the good thing about us Libras, we adapt.
I didn't complain when I gave up my guest room, the one I personally painted Laura Ashley red and decorated with white lace curtains, white furniture and Gone With the Wind photos (it came out exactly the way I pictured it). Instead, I said thank you to a higher power that we had a downstairs bedroom for her.
I also didn't complain when I had to share my 72 inch television or when I had to start watching "Dancing with the Stars" on Mondays instead of "How I Met Your Mother" and the rest of the CBS lineup (thank you tivo).
Nor did I complain when she dyed her hair in the bathroom, leaving a black stain on the wall. I just sucked it up like a good daughter-in-law.
There were definite benefits to having her around. She washed my clothes if I left them in a basket in the laundry room. My husband started to cook dinner every night. We started eating together as a family. No more picking up Del Taco or pizza on the way home and eating in front of the TV.
Besides, and don't repeat this too loud, I love my mother-in-law.
I love her even though she always buys me monster sweaters as presents. I may be many things, but a size 3x is not one of them. "Just try it on," she demanded last Christmas, "I am sure it will fit."
I love her even though she never wakes up before 10 a.m. I love her even though she tattles me out to Adrian if I sneak chips and dip at night. I love her even though every time she sees an old (i.e. skinny) photo of me she will always ask me, "What happened to you Juanita? In short, we are family.
So there we were, my husband, myself, my mother-in-law and our two Shih-Tzus living together in a relatively harmonious existence. Relative because I almost forgot to mention that with my mother-in-law came her Chow/German Shepard mix named Neuron that my two Shih-Tzus hated at first sight. Neron promptly ate our hose and barbeque cover and ruined our backyard.
Now back to my mother-in-law freaking out about me dropping the F Bomb on my husband. Her reaction made no sense. I use the F word all the time and besides, my mother-in-law knows that my potty mouth is inherited from my mother. I can't be blamed for it because it is simply a matter of genetics.
So I freaked out back. I told my husband this was a bunch of bullshit. That I shouldn't be censored in my own house. Who was she to complain about a fight? She could move out and good riddance and the more I raged, the more pained the expression on my husband's face.
After venting to Adrian for an hour, I called my mom. My mom had come over to keep my mother-in-law company the night of the gala. My mom was also surprised by her reaction "I told her you were just arguing because Adrian was dragging his feet trying not to go. And I told her that you didn't tell him to Fuck off' although you did say 'Fuck Adrian, hurry up already!'"
So now I was getting to the root of it. My mother-in-law thought I told Adrian to "Fuck off."
And therein lies the root of many of our problems. It comes down to a simple language barrier. When I said , "Fuck Adrian hurry up already" she heard and translated it as "Fuck Off!" Kind of a big difference don't ya think?
So what did I do with the wrath of my mother-in-law in the end?
I looked at her from a different angle. She was a seventy-six year old woman who had lost her husband only a few months before. She was worried that we weren't getting along. She thought she was in the way. She was scared. She was stressed about all the bills. She was still grieving.
I started thinking back to my first year of law school when she and Alberto let me live with them. I thought of how she and Alberto used to take us with them to Vegas and pay for our rooms and a fancy party on New Year's Eve. And, I remembered how small and frail she looked in her black dress and pearls the day of Alberto's funeral.
And then I did something which I rarely do, I let it go. I gave her a hug and said I was sorry.
Plus, I need to practice letting shit go because my mom is coming to live with us in January.