Wednesday, May 09, 2007

My Future Ex-Brother-In-Law

For the purposes of this post, I'm going to have to give my Soon-To-Be-Ex-Wife's mother a name, simply because I can't write it without one. So, for the purposes of this post only, STBEW's last name will be Fornortoner. If there's anyone out there whose honest-to-God real last name is Fornortoner, you have my apology. And my sympathy.

I never called my mother-in-law anything.

Actually, she was never my mother-in-law, since she died almost a year before the wedding. But, before she died, I never used her name. She was introduced to me as 'my Mom' by my future STBEW, and her father, of course, was 'my Dad.' I wasn't going to call them Mom and Dad, and as a newly-minted adult, I chafed at calling them Mr. and Mrs. Fornotoner, but they didn't give me permission to use their first names. Hell, I didn't even know what they were for several months. So, I spent a lot of time getting myself into situations where I didn't have to call them anything. Which was fairly exhausting. After she died, and after the wedding, I did start to call the widower Fornortoner by his first name, but it was always impersonal pronouns with Mrs. F.

She was a bit of a hard, case, Natalie Fornortoner was. When we told them we were going to get married, all she said to us was: "Well, you've made mistakes before."

At the time I thought she was talking to her daughter. Now I'm not so sure.

Natalie and Fred met up when he was discharged from the Army in the mid1950's, and were married soon after. Even though she had a college degree and a full-time job, she quit the job shortly after getting pregnant, leaving him, with only a high school diploma, as the full-time breadwinner.

They had four children--all daughters, STBEW being the third--in the span of eight years, and her fate was sealed. Her dreams--and we all had dreams, didn't we?--were dashed.

So, she stayed at home and became a housewife, and from all accounts, not a very happy one. Over the years, all her promise turned sour and hard, and resentment became her ever-present, never mentioned secret companion. She was a bitter woman by the time I met her.

There were other secrets in her life too, as we have just recently discovered.

This weekend, the four daughters will be getting together to meet their brother. Half brother, actually--born in Brooklyn (about 350 miles away from Smugtown) in 1954, and put up for adoption at birth. He managed to find out his birth mother's name, and made contact with the oldest daughter earlier this year.

The eldest had apparently known about the adopted brother since sometime in the 1970's, but for some reason didn't think to mention this particular branch of the family tree to her sisters.

So, now the kids and I have been invited to a party to meet a man from a family I will soon be leaving. And honestly, I'd love to meet him.

But here's the thing: STBEW will be there too. And as much as I would like to meet this guy and his family, I don't want to be around STBEW even more.

I almost wrote 'I don't like feeling this anger I feel towards her.' right here. But that's not true. I do like it.

What I don't like--is that I like it. Does that make sense?

What I would like to feel about STBEW, eventually, is neutrality. Which is different than not feeling anything--which is originally what I thought I was going for. Not feeling anything is amoral, and in a way, hurtful. I don't want to hurt her. I also don't want to help her.

But right now, that's not something I can attain. And it's certainly unattainable when I'm in close proximity to her.

So, I must keep my distance. I'll drop off the kids (he's their uncle, after all), shake the man's hand, and then hit the road. At least, that's the plan for now.

Or maybe I'll stay. Because part of me says leaving would be giving STBEW still more power over me. Besides, it would be interesting to see how the Fornotoner genes developed outside of this particular alcoholic family.



Blogger Miss 1999 said...

I can understand how you're feeling. I don't blame you for wanting to meet this man, yet not wanting to be there because of STBEW. It is best to avoid that situation altogether.

As for your feelings towards her, there's nothing wrong with not feeling anything at all towards her. After ALL she's put you and your children through, feeling nothing towards her would be a blessing not only for you, but for her-- because that's far more than she deserves (even if she is the mother of your children)

1:43 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

The thing about forgiveness, Miss, is that it's not really for the forgiven. It's for the forgiver. Letting go of angers and resentments makes it easier to concentrate on the more important stuff in my life. My mind's too crowded as it is to have this big lump of anger lying in it, tripping me up all the time. I've got no room for it in my head or my heart.

So it's got to go.


9:52 AM  
Blogger repsac3 said...

I don't know you from Adam (for all I know you could be Adam--though probably not the Adam most folks don't know other folks from), and I've no real opinion on the STBEW or meeting the FEBIL, but you're right on track as far as anger & forgiveness. It ain't as easy as it sounds (what ever is?), but it's worth letting bullshit go, whenever possible.

10:29 AM  
Blogger terry said...

i had the same problem with the ex-in-laws. i never called them anything when they were my in-laws.

and they didn't much like me, so i don't feel bad about it. not sorry they're not in my life anymore.

one day, you really will feel mostly neutral about STBEW. i promise. that's pretty much what i feel about my ex.

if i sit and really examine all that he did, i can work myself into a minor lather, but i don't really do that (except when blogging the details of that train wreck of a marriage).

now... you have a bigger challenge, as you will always be connected by your children. but in time, the neutrality comes. it's all still too soon and too close to you right now.

8:34 PM  
Blogger cadbury_vw said...

you'll know how to handle it once you get there and suss the situation

as for letting go of anger...

i have no wisdom, or experience, in that regard

5:06 PM  
Blogger FATSO said...

Anger is funny. You think it's gone. For days or weeks and then it comes back with just a word or a gesture from someone. Usually when your guard is down.

2:20 AM  

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