Tuesday, November 2, 2010

His and Hers

My husband and I don't actually have a lot in common, but the things we do are pretty big. For instance, my mother-in-law also has stage IV cancer. She was given a year to live a few years back. So he's has been dealing with this for a while. And I haven't understood him at all. I tried to restrain myself from nagging. (Don't you want to go spend time with your mom? Maybe you should send flowers? Do you want to send a card?) Because my husband's response has been that since she's not feeling well, she'd like a little peace and quiet, and he's going to give it to her.

My mom's been in the hospital all week, and I've gone as often as I could to be with her, to just sit there and watch her breathe, to get her a cup of peppermint tea, to do nothing at all. I've been keeping my mom's friends posted on her progress. And he doesn't get it. He thinks I'm being borderline cruel. Discussing her stuff. Staring at her while she's less than composed.

I'm sure there are times my MIL wishes he would step up the sympathy and attention and mine wishes I'd back off a bit. For the most part though, my mother-in-law appreciates his brand of support and my mom appreciates mine.

Makes me wonder: nature or nurture? I'd totally say it's a family culture thing, but my kids have been thoroughly trained in over-the-top sympathy responses and still I've got two who are give-em-their-space types. Maybe it's a gender thing. Maybe it doesn't matter. Too tired to tease out the tangles in this one.

8 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I just don't think any situation is the same.

I was talking to some friends a while ago about having a baby. One of them said she didn't want a lot of company right away and it was overwhelming, while the other said that she liked visitors and to have her friends come soon.

I think you do the best you can.

Alison Wonderland said...

Different situations, different personalities. And not just you and your husband's different personalities, the different personalities of your mothers too. Basically, I think we all just do the best we can.

My best to both your mothers.

Jami said...

Yeah, I've got to agree with you both. I think different moms, different kids. I'm just glad that at some point I figured out that it wasn't just that he didn't give a crap.

Wendy said...

I find it reassuring that after 18(?) years together, you're still figuring him out....gives me hope. lol

Thinking of you and wishing I had a magic wand. I'd definitely share it with you.

Jami said...

Magic wands are in short supply these days.

Meredith said...

So sorry to hear about your Mother and MIL. I can only imagine what you must be going through. I will keep you and your mothers in my prayers. Take care!

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

We're a "Butch Up And Stop Crying" kind of people.....

That is why I will never be called to anything like the Relief Society Presidency. I'm compassionate but not in the way that is expected of churchy women.

Hope both moms recuperate/go into remission soon!

Heidi said...

I have gotten so used to you not posting that I have been forgetting to check. I would guess it's just a family culture, thing.