“you are really getting fat. you’ve never been this big before, and neither has your sister. you are women, you should be more conscientious of your bodies.”

the woman utters these words, her third chin wobbling in tune with her bottle black hair that would have made any toupee aspirer salivate with envy. her eyes are full of expectation, as she can see in my face the effect of her words. i am not used to such full frontal attack. i

in my fantasy world, if i am nice and well behaved, the birds will always sing, my true love will always come bearing roses, and my sister in-laws will be the nice and missunderstood angels that show love beneath the gruffy exterior. i even have fantasies of a big family table where everybody talks at once, drinks, eats and it is merry. all the books and movies say so.

lately, i am having difficulties catching even a glimpse of this alluded love or affection. if it exists, i will need to conjure all my imagination and creativity, to convince my sister, that when dishes are washed again after she has done them, it is just a quirk of the “mother’s” character, the body comments are totally innocent remarks of a woman without self-control, and the weekly closet raids are just another way to make sure that she has adequate clothes for the winter ahead.

unfortunately, any well behaved, family oriented, hardworking, dedicated and romantic man, has had a woman who kicked his butt in shape. very often, this woman is the same one who has trouble telling her partner from her son, who fears losing power and youth and control at the hands of a much younger and fiery version of her self, who makes her very jealous, but whom she has to call “daughter” for the sake of her son. this is THE MOTHER-IN-LAW.

THE MOTHER-IN-LAW, is a powerful and domineering, at her most dangerous when she feels her spirit has been wounded and her love has been replaced.  her decline will make her transform from the most docile, well-educated, and self-respected woman, into a screeching banshee, scheeming hag and wounded lioness, a one stop-shop crazy market if you will. she has long ago passed menopause, so her inhibitions are gone. most of the time she has already lost her own husband, and, with the addition of the bride, she feels she is loosing her precious son too. confused in her own desire to still be useful to her family and cook, and unable to see her spoiled brat actually pick up after himself, she throws herself at the younger woman with wolverine ferocity.

i remember my own grandmother, the strong, omniscent giving woman who helped a whole neighbourhood, clash talons with her own daughters-in-law like a hag possessed. her own in-laws had made her life a black chasm, so she saw no reason for her young in-law not to bear a little lip with all the precious information she was imparting. i remember, and i think how hopeless the situation was then, with everybody all living together in small houses with one bathroom, and rationed meat, groceries and milk. shouldn’t family fights and stress be done with now?

apparently not. whether the cause is a needle put the wrong way up, or moving into separate houses, the old conflict is still there, a battle to the last drop of house cleaning liquid, between strong willed women, while the poor man is trying to duck and avoid blows coming to him from all directions, wishing he was Jackie Chan or Neo (in Matrix) and cursing his little friend for wanting to be warm all the time, and his consciense for making him do the right thing and making the source of warmth legitimate and getting his butt kicked in process.

yes, this is the wonderful life of doing the right thing, and bringing mother and spouse under the same roof. i look again at my sister’s mother-in-law, a smart woman who nevertheless always manages to say the wrong thing, and dread the moment my own mother will turn in an in-law and meet with my brother’s bride.

also, i need to buy an indulgence, and start collecting some poison, just in case i ever get married. you never know.


13 thoughts on “MOTHER-IN-LAW

  1. I feel almost guilty saying this but my MIL sends me poetry books, buys me jewelery and compliments my cooking. Yes she is albanian and yes they do exist 🙂

  2. beni, i do have strange fantasies time after time. besides, forewarned, forearmed.
    but i agree with you and selfie that it is a sad situation right now. that does not mean that one year from now, i won’t be fighting with my sister because i have said harsh words of her mother-in-law. my experience shows that such relationships all go through fire, and sometimes even make it.

  3. Blete, it’s all true for most of them, sometimes is different, but those wise people are verey scarce 😦
    Living under the same roof makes it unbearable. Best solution: everyone lives separate, how about that, and everybody loves each-other 🙂

  4. Ahhh…

    Kanë dalë plakat ne leme,
    qaj neno,qaj moj nene.
    Me citjane neper kembe,
    qaj neno, qaj moj nene.(2x)

    Njera-tjetren duke thene,
    qaj neno, qaj moj nene
    Keto nuse nuk ka bejne,
    qaj neno, qaj moj nene.(2x)

    T´u themi djemve ti lene,
    qaj neno, qaj moj nene..
    Po ti lene, ku do gjejne
    qaj neno, qaj moj nene.(2x)

    Nice day, B!

  5. When i read about these kind of stories i say to myself I’m glad that i am not married and i don’t have a mother in-law that would make me hate her for all the wrong things she will say and try to hurt me or my husband, bc things are not done the way she wants etc etc. I agree with the other ppl, best solution is to live in separate homes and everyone’s life is not that miserable, but, knowing the alb mentality this is hard to be broken.

  6. Blete tani jo, por kemi jetuar 2 vjete nen te njeten cati dhe me ka dorezuar simbolikisht celesat e shtepise edhe pse une isha nje cupeline. Shiko, ne me duket e tjetersojme aq shume vjehrren sa i veme ne mikroskop cdo veprim, fjale, qellim nderkohe qe huqet e bijeve te tyre qe jane po aq te merzitshme na duken charmante ose edhe te durueshme.

  7. S’kam, je rast i vecante atehere. Se mos te themi >90% e vjerrave jo qe s’i leshojne celesat por i mbajne ato vetem ne nje kopje dhe i lidhin me ushkurr pas brekeve te tyre…Por meqe jemi ne vitin 2007 te rinjte nuk po behen shume merak se c’fare mentaliteti paskan pasur familjet shqiptare( qe ishin nga fukarralleku).
    Keshtuqe belle-fleur, mos u tremb nga martesa me shqiptar se besoj do dish ti vesh pikat mbi iiii 🙂

  8. you must not think that only Alb MIL do these things or that only Alb DIL go through them. i think that because people try to appear nicer and closer than they are, they come out of themselves for a bit and clash, until they can find the right footing. living together makes things worse most of the time, but there are also good things not to be ignored.
    as per husbands…don’t you think that deserves its own entry?

  9. ex-es are very hard to take. you either do not let them get to you or you find them a boyfriend. come to think of it, it might work for MIL’s as well.

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