relationship status: it’s complicated

Some people write Facebook posts about how lucky they are to have their great and loving mother-in-law. I have, in case you haven’t noticed, been secretly doing the opposite here. When I used to hide it all behind a weak smile, thinking I wasn’t supposed or allowed to feel such a thing, a dark venomous slick sprawled all over the walls of my heart.

We can all be amazing people with the best intentions and golden hearts. But circumstances, context, fatigue and life challenges can make bitches out of us.

Last night I went to the window and saw her bent over the flower bed. We had just finished eating dinner that she made. I was just throwing invisible arrows at her back. But now, thirty meters away, with a wall and window between us, she seems more like an ordinary, humble, wounded animal.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered towards her. “I know what it looks like. I’m the Blastoise, the tortoise Pokemon with machine guns popping out of its shell. I may be quiet and slow moving, but I’m not a friendly creature when I’m around you. You don’t deserve this, for all the things you do that make my life easier. It’s just that there’s a part of me who is still a sensitive, scared and insecure budding mom. I need to protect and give her room to grow.”

I waited, but that was all. No love, hugs, or promises that the Blastoise will go away. But perhaps, beginning on this day, whenever I feel any gentleness towards my mother-in-law, any tender respect, reluctant gratitude, or retrospective understanding, I will not stump it to preserve my victimhood. Instead, I’ll let it flow. To trickle through the vast space between us, an inch at a time. To swirl and begin to wash away the venom built up in my heart.

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