I realized that I haven’t really talked much about my in-laws ever since the first week of their arrival. I think my mind is more preoccupied with our fertility things. So how have things been going?
It has been almost seven weeks since my in-laws arrived. Poor people. Where we live is simply too cold for them. Every morning I go downstairs to greet my MIL in the kitchen, she says to me, “It’s too cold here, no?” They are used to 80 to 90 degree weather. Our area is known for being foggy and cold in June, July, and August. We had warned them ahead of time when they expressed interest in visiting us in June. We told them that a more desirable time weather-wise would be September, October, November. My mother-in-law confessed that she thought that we were trying to discourage them from coming to visit by fabricating the coldness of the summer here. She said now that she has known me better and knows my character, she knows that I am telling the truth. Of course we are telling the truth. Why would we lie, right? We sometimes turn the heat on for them during the day, which is something that we had never done even with summer weather in the 50s here. But for the sake of our in-laws’ well-being, as ridiculous as it sounds to turn on the heat in July, they are much happier when the house is in the 70s.
The first couple of weeks of South Indian diet did a number on my digestive system. I mean, the food continues to be excellently delicious, but the abundance of Indian spices and carbs has been difficult to process. I can usually handle Indian food when I eat it, but consuming it as a main diet is a totally different story. The first week of it left me hungry at 3pm at work mainly because of the reduced amount of protein and the increased amount of carbs. Eventually the solution was extra protein from the frozen meatball that my coworker helped me buy because I couldn’t “smuggle” meat product into our house without being noticed. Protein shakes also turned out to be a life saver. Now that I have been eating this diet for weeks, my body is accustomed to the diet so I am no longer hungry with shaky hands wanting to find all the food I can consume at 3 in the afternoon. Friday is my meat-eating day. My MIL knows not to prepare lunch for me to take to work. On that day, I order whatever meat dish I fancy: Chinese takeout, Vietnamese lunch with friends, or sausage omelette. However, I still have to frequent the bathroom for number two (sorry TMI) due to the spices. My waistline and the number on the scale have both gone up thanks to the extra carbs in my MIL’s cooking. I know that once our diet goes back to protein and veggies, we will not be as bloated and our digestion should go back to normal, but it is a bit disconcerting to feel your usual clothes getting tighter.
Don’t get me wrong. I L.O.V.E. my mother-in-law’s cooking. Not only me, but my coworkers also fell in love with her food. Everyday I let a few coworkers take a bite of my lunch and enjoy them oohing and ahhing over how perfect the seasoning is and how tasty these dishes are. My MIL also enjoys hearing me tell her my coworkers’ reactions. She is such a talented cook and knows exactly how to prepare things to perfection. My brother’s family came for dinner a couple of times and was so grateful for the wonderful feasts. My MIL cooked my favorite dish of hers; something that my brother had never tasted before. He loved it so much that he had four servings of it and also got to take all the leftovers home. He almost had tears of joy in his eyes. My MIL loves loves loves my brother because he appreciates her food. It was a wonderful sight for me to see my in-laws getting along so well with my family considering how much they used to adamantly oppose our marriage. It was something that I never thought would happen. Got to have faith in what time and patience can do to mend relationships.
I am spoiled, and I am well aware of it. This season with my MIL taking care of all the cooking means that I can devote my time in working through all the things that are related to our treatment and such. Coming home from work, I get to do whatever I want to and dinner will be served. I am truly grateful for that.
Weekly we have our routines down. We drive my in-laws 40 minutes to a big Indian grocery store to purchase food for the week. It is quite a long drive and a tiring ride. After that we would go to a shopping place of their choice. They have a particular love for Ik.ea, dollar stores, and Ta.rget. So we frequent those places. Sometimes it is just so tiring to go shopping with them that everyone comes home tired and needs a nap. During that time, I wipe the kitchen floor. Ever since my MIL took over my kitchen, I have been sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor whenever I have the time. Her way of cooking leaves a lot of little crumbs and food scraps on the floor, as well as the condensation of the steam dripping from pot lids. The highly traveled area of the kitchen floor has lost its luster and I will have to wait until my in-laws’ departure to figure out a way to gain it back.
How are Bob and his parents doing? I would say, better. Bob and his mother still fight some, but they also have good times together. I can tell that they are very similar people and that makes them clash because they react to things similarly. Every evening after dinner he goes to his parents’ room and chats with them about the day. It’s heartwarming to hear them chat and laugh together. One surprising thing is that Bob has been telling his parents, especially his mom, slowly about our fertility problems. My in-laws don’t talk to me about this, but they have been expressing grief in our lack of children. Bob’s mother often says to him that we should have a four year old and a two year old by now. She expressed regrets that we didn’t meet in our 20s when making a baby would have been easier. After our urologist visit, Bob actually opened up to his mother about his male factor issues. She was unhappy that he didn’t go to the doctor a few years earlier, but he explained to her that all of our tests for him turned out to be good so no one knew this new problem. He didn’t tell her exactly what we have done treatment-wise but did tell her that we have done a lot. He explained to her that most of the children in the photos on our fridge were successfully conceived and born thanks to science (most of them are IVF babies). This is paving a path for us in the future when we explain to them about having a baby via surrogacy. So this is a breakthrough as I never thought it was possible for us to speak to them about our fertility struggles.
As much as I like my mother-in-law, she sometimes says the craziest things. After Bob shared with her vaguely about us going through treatment, she said that regardless of how much money we have to spend on treatment, we still have to send them the money they ask for annually. I know that she and Bob’s dad are very different from my parents because money is tighter for them. But still….. We don’t plan on reducing the amount of money that we give them but for her to immediately protect her self-interest instead of showing concerns for us is a bit disheartening for me. Another thing that my MIL said to Bob was that we should go adopt because that’s how people get pregnant afterwards. I know that this is something a lot of people say but it still bugs me. Finally, this last thing that she says really gets to me. She said that she would come visit our child(ren) in the future, but only if the child is “ours”. For “ours”, she meant that she would not make a special trip to come visit our children if they were adopted. She and my father-in-law would only come if part of the child(ren)’s genetic makeup comes from Bob. I know that they’d come around if we ever adopt a child, but this closed-mindedness really makes me sad and mad that any children not made the conventional way are going to be discriminated against even before they are made or born. It’s hard to change a person and their opinion on things. So, as much as Bob wants to be transparent with them, I still think that some things are better off not shared, such as our need for an egg donor.
This coming week I have a whole week off due to an office renovation. My MIL will teach me how to make a few of my favorite dishes. I pray that we’ll create some good memories before my in-laws’ departure on Saturday. It will be so weird to get the whole house back to ourselves after having my mom, dad, and my in-laws here for the past few months. But I’m also ready to just be whatever I want to be and do whatever I want to do in my own house. One surprising thing is that I think I’ll miss my in-laws. This is something that I never thought I’d say. This is an answer to ours prayers. Seeing how well I get along with my in-laws proves that nothing is impossible with God.