I didn’t meet either of my in-laws until after we were married. I think we had been married probably about 5 months or so when I met my father in law for the first time. One of the first things he ever said to me was “You will never have anything because Ike will give it all away.” I think (I hope) he was trying to give him a back handed compliment by saying he is very generous. Or at least I’d like to think that. And he might be generous to a fault but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m here to rein him in when he needs it and he’s there to make me a more loving and giving person so I guess we even each other out. In other words, we have each other’s backs!
My husband and his father did not have the greatest relationship when he was growing up. His mother left his father and moved back to Japan by herself when he was probably 10 or 11 years old so he and his brother stayed in the US with his dad. His dad remarried a VERY young girl not too long afterwards and hubby never felt comfortable at home after that so he left when he was about 12 or 13 and moved in with the family of a school friend who became his “foster family”.
I never understood why his father just let him go like that but I guess he had his reasons. He told me he thought his son didn’t love him anymore so he just let him go. Yeah, didn’t make a lot of sense to be either but who am I to judge.
The other thing that he said to me when we first met really bothered me but I tried to just shake it off. I have never been what you call skinny but I wasn’t by any means fat either. I wore probably a size 10 which to me is not fat. I considered myself “healthy”. We were sitting in the restaurant and my father in law looked me up and down and kind of harrumphed and said “I never liked ‘thick’ girls.” I was kind of startled and thought maybe I misheard what he said so I said ‘Excuse me?” And he said “I’ve never been attracted to THICK or heavy women.” And then he just kind of smiled like he was proud of himself for putting me down. I really wanted to cry because it really hurt my feelings. Hubby had gone to the bathroom or something and wasn’t there to witness the exchange. I looked at him calmly and said “Well, then, I guess it’s a good thing I’m married to your son instead of you.” He just kind of made another grunt and went back to smoking his cigarette.
I must admit it deeply hurt me. I realize I was just meeting the man but most times I’d think people would try to make a good impression on their daughter in laws the first time they meet them. I had never done anything to him to make him dislike me and I never disrespected him but I don’t think I ever got over him saying that to me. We never really saw him much so it wasn’t really an issue.
The first time I ever met my mother in law, we had flown to Arizona for my brother in laws wedding and we brought hubby’s dad with us as a surprise for his brother. What we didn’t know was that he had blown their mother over from Japan and hadn’t told us so they could surprise us! Their mom and dad had not seen each other since she had left him almost 20 years before that. We got off the plane and they locked eyes and she calmly and sweetly said “Hello Donald.” I turned to him and under my breath said “Well, that when well.” He said “She only said that because she knows I HATE to be called by my first name. She hasn’t changed a bit!” So, that was my first impression of her.
She spent almost a month with us before she flew back to Japan and she was a wonderful help to us as we were moving into a new house but she did not pull any punches and she made sure she let me know EVERY day at least once a day that children in Japan did not act like our children did. On the other hand, she did cook almost every night and she helped us pack and move so I’d say it was a good trade. I have not seen my mother in law since she flew back to Japan. I would like to go see her sometime before it’s too late. I think she did the best she could with the hand she was dealt.