She grins!

I Swear My MIL Is Doing This Just To F*ck With Me

You may think I’m a conspiracy theorist, but hear me out.

by Anonymous
Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Getty Images, Shutterstock

I watch out the window as my mother-in-law pulls into my driveway. She slowly exits her car and makes her way over to that passenger side, grabbing something fairly large with both hands. And as I make my way to the door to greet her she presents me with a gift: a flourishing, vibrant, beautifully potted plant.

It’s one of many horticultural offerings she has given me recently. It seems to have become her new gift of choice for all of my celebratory occasions — always wrapped in beautiful cellophane, topped with an exquisite bow. And while this particular plant would likely make the perfect addition to my collection, there is just one problem: There is no collection. Because with too many kids and other life responsibilities, I have managed to kill one hundred percent of the plants I have been given. And honestly, I swear that’s why she does it.

Now before you side with my husband and call me a conspiracy theorist, I need you to hear me out. Because I assure you I have a sixth sense about things and my mother-in-laws’ intentions are most definitely one of them.

The first thing to note is yes, she absolutely knows that I have killed the previous plants. She knows this because she takes detailed inventory of everything she sees and doesn’t see every time she comes over. She comments on little things like the chipped paint on my window sill or the slightly flatter tires of my car. She remembers how many times she has seen me using the fancy china dishes she got us for the wedding and notices when we replace a small piece of our outdoor furniture with something new. There is simply no way she is walking through my home and yard and not noticing that none of her plants are around.

And I am CONVINCED she gets a real thrill out of seeing me fail. I’m not talking about high stakes things like in my marriage or raising her grandchildren (I mean, she’s not evil) but a little burnt Thanksgiving Turkey or misspelling on a thank you note — God, I just know she lives for it. Because she grins! She giggles and smirks, and I don’t think she’s laughing with me, either. And that’s the same face she makes when she hands me a fucking plant.

I don’t know why she is this way. I stopped trying to figure that out years ago, as suggested by my therapist. My therapist thinks it has a lot more to do with my mother-in-law and less to do with me. Fair enough! But it does really get under my skin.

So, how am I handling this situation, you ask? Well, at this point I no longer make any attempt to keep the plant alive. Heartless, I know. The beautiful blossoms just end up dying a slow death on my back deck. But I have a point to prove, here.

Yes, I should probably consider finding them a plant-friendly home so they don’t need to become the sacrificial lambs of our silent feud. But I kind of want to move toward a spicier solution like buying a few plants of my own and tending to them meticulously, proudly displaying them all over my house as a boast to my successfully green thumb. That would really mess with her.

But I will likely just keep doing exactly the same thing I have been doing, and we will continue on this silly merry-go-round of passive aggressive behavior until the end of time. I will just make sure to break the chain when my kids are married and it’s my turn. Artificial succulents and cold cash for all!