About the SIL

I am back – the trip was good for the most part – it was great to see my brother. However, the party yesterday was a pretty much a bummer (but the food was really good!). The moms were uptight about having a dog around their kids, so I had to keep my puppy on a leash at my side THE WHOLE TIME. I was pretty isolated, sitting on the periphery of the party. Most of the parents with kids left by about 4pm so then I let my puppy go off leash and could join in a little. There were some cute babies & toddlers there but the focus of conversation was babies, labor, potty training, etc. I was REALLY grumpy and I guess sitting outside the circle with the dog was my choice too, I just couldn’t handle all the baby talk.

I said that my SIL can be a passive-aggressive BEE-ATCH, and that is the godforsaken truth. However, she has made some sacrifices when she chose to be with my brother. Some of the choices that she has made — I don’t understand. And I don’t always understand their relationship — I love my brother to death. He is hilarious and smart — he is a doctor — and he is quickly becoming a very well-respected specialist in his field. I only wish they didn’t live across the country because I only get to see him once or twice a year (this year will be three times – a world record!). We are only 18 months apart in age, and we have always been close (except for a short “war” when I was in highschool and I thought he was too nerdy to be seen with me).

The SIL and my brother met the summer before he started med school. He was a baby — 23 years old. She was a 30 year old WOMAN. I thought it was so weird that this older woman was so taken by my little brother. He thought of it as a summer fling, she obviously didn’t. I went to visit him one day (he was living in the city teaching MCAT classes) and SIL showed up unannounced (they had been dating for two months or so)…he had just received his acceptance notices to medical schools and was trying to decide where to go. She showed up with brochures from the various chambers of commerce. And she was saying things like, “When WE move…” and “I think WE should move here…” my poor brother’s eyes were popping out of his head. They obviously hadn’t discussed this at all.

She ended up leaving a little while later and he didn’t know what to do. He literally thought he was just having fun with this older woman, a last hoorah before med school took over his life. She obviously had other plans. So we talked about it and I said, “You HAVE to tell her how you feel!” He said that he didn’t want her to move with him but didn’t know how to break the news. I suggested that he tell her he wanted to go up for one semester without her, to settle in and get into the med school routine, and then they could talk about it if it still made sense. I thought that after 5 or 6 months of long-distance, the relationship would fizzle out anyway. Anyway, he never ended up saying anything and she went with him to med school. That was 13 years ago! So, something must work in their relationship although I don’t get it. She is overbearing and abrasive and passive aggressive and even after all this time, I feel that my brother deserves better.

They actually aren’t really married. When my brother was quite young (still in highschool) he announced he was never getting married and never having children. (I actually think this is part of the pressure that I feel to have a baby … I am the end of the line, and in addition to yearning to have a little baby to complete my family, I also want my parents to know the joy of being a grandparent). Anyway, my brother stuck to his guns. He and SIL had a commitment ceremony in 2000, it was pretty much just like a wedding, but there was no officiant to seal the deal. It was actually quite funny — my brother agreed to “throw a party” celebrating their union (or something like that), but then SIL took over the planning…rented out a place, got hotel rooms for everyone, there was a rehearsal dinner and then the ceremony the next day…she wore a white dress, they said vows, they exchanged rings, they cut a cake. We call it the big un-wedding of 2000. I bet some of the guests don’t even know they didn’t really get married. My poor brother was completely dragged into it. The pictures are classic, he has this look of irritation on his face, like he can’t believe what is going on. So that was the way she got around the wedding thing. I actually felt quite bad for her. It was obviously really important to her that she get married. It is just very bizarre. It is the big family joke.

On the kids thing: SIL knew that he didn’t want kids from day one, but she chose to stay with him. She is now 43 years old. She has finally stopped talking about kids,but for a while there, it was all she talked about….she would say that she had a dream she was pregnant, or had a baby, or was in labor. She even started gathering adoption information until my brother told her that adopting a baby is the same thing as having a kid and if she was that set on having kids, she should leave him and find someone else that wants them. My mom and I totally thought she was going to get pregnant “by accident” but she didn’t. She stayed. I cannot imagine feeling how I do about wanting a baby and just pushing it aside to stay in my relationship. It was something I discussed with my husband when we were dating — we both wanted kids. And if he hadn’t wanted another kid, I probably wouldn’t have married him. I can’t turn the feeling off like that. I wonder if she really was able to turn it off, or if it is something she is just dealing with. How hard for her. But it was a choice that she made, a choice I really don’t understand. I just think of me and my husband — it just wouldn’t work out if he didn’t want a baby. I wouldn’t be able to just sit back, the way I feel about it, and say, “That’s okay, we won’t have one then”.

I sometimes wonder if her attitude and demeanor has something to do with this huge sacrifice that she made.

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4 Responses to “About the SIL”

  1. Amy R Says:

    Aw, sorry that you were feeling left out a bit at the party 😦 I hope though you were able to spend some good time with your brother. On another note, I bet you’re excited about your phone consultation with Dr. Z! I hope it goes well 🙂 He may not call ‘right on time’ but he will call (I think he was about 15 min late calling us).

  2. Pamela Jeanne Says:

    Fascinating story. Lots to comment on especially given the complex nature of the relationships here. What really resonated for me, of course, was the sitting on the periphery of the party while baby talk-polooza ensued. I envied your puppy excuse as an explanation/distraction for sitting apart. Since I’m terribly allergic to cats and dogs, I also don’t have the comfort of a pet. sigh.

  3. babystep Says:

    Pamela Jeanne – have you thought about a Portuguese Water Dog or Labradoodle? They are supposedly hypo-allergenic. I don’t know what I would do without my puppy! I know that I have TW but the puppy love is just so comforting sometimes.

  4. Yodasmistress Says:

    Interesting story…

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