October 28, 2008

Apparently, I'm just not capable.

Of planning and hosting a one-year-old's birthday party, that is. Originally, what Rob and I planned was cake and ice cream at 2 p.m., our place. Grandparents and immediate cousins invited, that's it, that's all. Nothing fancy, nothing big, and nothing costly. We haven't been exactly flush with money lately but we want to throw our son his first birthday party. We can swing cake, ice cream and some soda.

So I email the west-coast grandparents to let them know the details. Here's a copy-n-paste from her - my stepmother-in-law's - response:

"...Yeppums, we will be there!! Is there a little Cesar's nearby to your place w/the $5 pizza's?? If so we can buy a couple (3 or 4) there for Saturday afternoon as a contribution to the feed I think, or we can pick some up in [their town] & warm them up in [our town]. And maybe [brother-in-law] can bring something too like a few liter bottles of soda, diet & regular (probably less than $10), then [my mom's] help would maybe be less needed that way since she's already paid for an airline ticket to come visit. Maybe she could buy some chips or something, or salad to go along with the Pizza?? Something cheap & easy...prebagged salad of course!..."

Let me preface my rant with this: I appreciate generosity. I do. And I appreciate the gesture.

But what you all don't know is that she always does this. She can't let someone else control a party she's attending. For every one of Beth's birthday parties, she couldn't let me run the show. For her first birthday, we were going to cake and ice cream, with some chips and dip and soda, in the mid-afternoon. Simple. The kid was one, there were no other kids at the party. What does she do? She nabs up two pans of wannabe Chinese food leftovers from one of their church thingies and whips up a green salad.

For Beth's second birthday, we were going to do the same thing. They insisted on bringing extra chips and soda. For her third birthday, we went all out. Chicken, pizza, chips, dips, cake, ice cream, beer, soda, etc. Good times! What does she do? Brews a pot of coffee and throws her homemade salsa out on the counter. She just can't relinquish total control! She has to have her hand in everything. Fucking irritating!!!

So this year, I announce cake and ice cream because again, the kid's only one and the only other child in attendence will be our three-year-old who only cares about the cake. And what you see in the italicized paragraph is her reaction. I don't know of a tactful way to say, "Stop trying to control and design my kids' birthday parties! Their our kids! Just come, enjoy the company, and eat some cake. Then go home. This isn't your party to throw!"


I just don't understand her need to do this. After watching her control family gathering after birthday party after family gathering after holiday...you'd think I'd be used to it. Why can't she respect what we've decided and just leave it at that? Does anyone have any insight to this phenomenon or how to approach her about it?


princesspeaches said...

I would try asking her to bring something first next time. Like saying "We're having {insert event} and are planning the food. Anything quick and easy you'd like to bring?"...that way, her ideas are already out of the way and you can go about your merry way with her already involved. Plus that way your plans don't change after you've already decided! I hate that too!

Valeta said...

Isn't that just what in-laws do?

The same kind of thing happened at Lily's first birthday. Two of my SIL's were throwing it and my FIL invited people without even letting anyone know. All of a sudden the evil Step Mother everyone hates(and he has to deal with because he has a child with her) is at my daughter's birthday ignoring me (She didn't introduce herself or say anything to me) and trying to pick up my baby.

I hope Bubba had a happy birthday anyway. With lots of cake. Mmmm.

Slick said...

LOl...you women are a strange breed!

Can I be her son??? Tell her I'm gonna have a video game party and see if she'll stop by and purchase an XBox 360 for me....

Just sayin'

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