In lieu of an email to my MIL*.

I was chatting with a friend on Facebook, and she asked when the family and I were coming back to the States. It’s a FAQ, and I would’ve stuck to my usual “When I’m done with school” response, but since I met her as a friend of Rob’s family, I decided to elaborate.

“I’ll be back with the munchkin in about 3 1/2 years, but Rob will be there in February.”

“Yeah, I heard he’s coming back. Why?”

To which I gave my standard “Cuz he needs to start bringing home some bacon! LOL” response.

There were LOL’s all around, and then she dropped a small bomb: “Oh good. We were all worried things weren’t going well for you guys.”

This is where I take a detour into All About Me Land. See, I’d assumed that someone in Rob’s fam read this blog and took it upon themselves to update everyone on the fact that we’re A-Okay. And that was wrong – me assuming shit, I mean. Okay, so I link to posts pretty frequently on Facebook, and members of his family read the links and comment on them. That doesn’t mean they get that we’re like every other family starting out, finding our way, and figuring it out… I guess… Right? Right?

I don’t know how to feel about it all, to be honest. I’m not sure what I wish was the case, or what exactly gives people the impression that our non-marriage is crumbling. I just know that I don’t like his family thinking that we’re pulling each other’s hair out and screaming like banshees up in this house. Or… worse?

I reassured the family friend that things are going well, but there was still a heavy pang in my stomach. Mostly because, well, like practically every. Filipino. family, Rob’s fam rolls deep and talks a lot. And I just don’t want our little trio being talked about as “being in trouble.” Not when they’re on the other side of the world, Rob’s notorious at being a bad communicator, and they don’t know a thing about how we live. There’s no way for me to show them that we’re happy and functional and loving. And the fact that I feel the need to show that we’re happy and functional and loving to his family? I’m not sure what that means. They’ve always been kind and generous and accepting of me, and they were over the moon when Riley came onto the scene. It’s just… something. about. them… or. me?

I don’t know.

It’s just something.

A feeling of distrust. Or apprehension. Or fear, maybe? It’s something, and I’m not sure what it is, and that makes the negativity grow to gigantic proportions.


Mostly, when I email Rob’s mom, it’s to complain about Rob. Regardless of the emotional seepage staining my emails, her replies are never long. Mostly, she’ll say something like, “I’ll talk to him. You guys be good to each other.”

Some would say it’s stupid and pointless that I email her at all, and “Well of course they think you guys are fighting like cats and dogs! It’s all you ever tell his mom about!”

Only, it’s not. I’ve written her exactly two emails that were all sunshine happy, and whenever we talk on Skype, I mention that things are going really well. And complaining to Rob’s mom has been the little nudge necessary to bring me, Rob, and his mom closer together.

Mostly, I guess, I bitch to her about her son because she’s the only other woman in the world who gets what it means to love Rob so much that it hurts. She’s the only one who gets how his facts are really half-truths and how his truths sound like lies even when they’re actual truths.

She knows how lazy he is, and also how he has the drive, charisma, and ability to do/get/be anything he wants. She’s the only one who knows those sides of him even remotely like I know those sides of him, and if it wasn’t for the not-so-great things Rob tells me about her from time to time, I think our relationship would be uncomplicated and completely stellar. (As of now, it’s very complicated and completely stellar.)

I want to tell her that I’m so in love with her son and grandson, and so honored to be part of their family, and so happy with how things have turned out. I want her to know that her son is doing all he can to be a good father and partner, and that I’m doing the best job I can as a mom and partner, and that we’re making this work.

And, really, when I sit back and think about it all, maybe that’s what I’ve been worrying about this whole time. Not Rob’s family’s opinion, but his mom’s. Maybe becoming a mom has allowed me to glimpse the difficulties of raising a son, and I’m seeing things through her eyes and hoping to assuage the fears and worries that she must have.

It’s tough being a woman who’s bringing up a boy. I know. But I want her to know: She’s a good mom.  She raised her son well. Things will be all right.

*Okay, so Rob and I aren’t married. Whatever. I call his mom “Mom”; plus, he and I have been dating for five years, playing house for three of those five years, and have a baby. Nuff said.

2 responses to “In lieu of an email to my MIL*.

  1. yep us filipinos will talk. and i don’t find it impossible that they would think that regardless of how many times you talk good vs complain about your relationship with rob.

    I’m single. My family rarely talks about me because there’s nothing to talk about. So, right now, I’m blessedly on The View panel end of the gossip. I hear about it from the family during dinner, I have to ask questions to get the whole (or whatever they know of it) story, and we discuss.

    It doesn’t take much. We definitely don’t take into account how many good news vs bad news we’ve had from any couple with problems. We totally focus around the problem and how retarded we think it is and we’ll decide whether we think it’s trouble. It always ends in a lot of laughter and smh’s at the expense of our family members.

    Although, I’d like to add that in the end, we love everyone we gossip about. Otherwise, we wouldn’t give a shit enough to bring it up during dinner. LOL.

    ❤ Filipinos even as they scare me.

  2. LOL Thank you, girl. Seriously. Your comment put so much into perspective because you’re right: Gossiping is just something Pinoy fams do, and even though Rob and I are the subject of the conversation, it doesn’t mean that we’re the ones with a problem. It’s the gossip that’s the problem. And I really, really have to get over that.

    I think the reason I hate it is because these people are supposed to be family, aka they’re supposed to know us on some level and be wishing us well, ya know? Not, like, filling in the blanks with negativity for entertainment purposes. *pause* Then again, that’s what I’m doing right now. If I really think about it, all the girl said was that they thought things were “going badly” for us. Maybe I’m just thinking too much into this, and expecting the worst? *shrugs, ponders* Yeah, I probably am. My bad.

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