I was always well liked by most of my husband’s family. I get on extremely well with his mother, adore one of his brothers (I’ve not met one, and the other loathes me with a burning passion), and most of his extended relations either like me or have little to no opinion on me. I call this a success story for a now-ex-wife and her in laws.
We had lunch today with the EH (ex husband), his mum, his grandma, and his grandma’s friend. There was a sadness in the air. An uncommented on air of loss.
In reality the situation was fine, the EH and I carried on as normal, mocking one another in our brother/sister like style, playing with Miss Rose, and chattering away. I told his mother about The Boy (he teased me for the similarity between the two of them), and he told her about his new lady (I teased him for his future child-bride). She nodded, listened, smiled appropriately, but her eyes held pain.
When the EH left it broke my mother in law’s heart. Don’t get me wrong, it broke mine too, but her pain was palpable. She phoned me regularly, visited lots, and promised that no matter what she would always love me, I would always be part of the family, and she couldn’t understand how he could not want to be with me. I was in no way made to feel that him leaving meant I was cast out of the clan. I was one of them and always would be.
Gradually over time the phone calls lessened, the visits became more sporadic, and Miss Rose came to be less and less familiar with them. This wasn’t ever a deliberate step on either part, but life takes over sometimes, and ex-daughter-in-law slips down on the priority list when their are current-daughter-in-laws around. I haven’t seen his brother since the Summer, his father since the autumn, and today was the first time I’ve seen his mother since Miss Rose’s birthday.
When I talked about The Boy I assured her that she would meet him. It’s a peculiar concept to be introducing my ex-mother-in-law to my new boyfriend, but it will have to happen for no other reason than they are both in Miss Rose’s life. The EH’s mother wants to maintain our relationship and her relationship with Miss Rose and therefore as The Boy is a significant part of her life, they will have to meet. At important life events for Miss Rose the EH and his family, and The Boy and his family will all be there. It’s one of those oddities of life when you’re in a Patchwork Family.
I will always be grateful to have had such a positive relationship with most of the EH’s family, and will never want to lose that. But I know naturally over time they will fade into the background of our world. I never resented this step back because I understand it. The EH sees her very occasionally so it makes sense for his family to follow suit. His new child-bride will perhaps become the new daughter-in-law and just as The Boy and his family have replaced the EH and his, the child-bride and her offspring will replace Miss Rose and myself.
If it weren’t for Miss Rose I doubt I would ever see the EH or his family again, but for the love of a child, a beautiful little girl who deserves love from everywhere and everyone, my old family will become acquainted with my new family. My old life will blur around the edges of my new life. That’s okay. That’s nature. But the sadness in her eyes, that stings. That makes me feel more sorrow than I ever did for the breakdown of my marriage. A good woman has lost her daughter in law and her grandchild, the family meals and parties, the random coffee meetings and shopping trips, that will all be done with a new person of her son’s choosing and that is a new connection she must make.
But family is family and love is love, so whether it’s close and seen a lot or far and seen occasionally, it’s still real and it still matters. And I will always be grateful for the time I was in the middle of theirs.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!