We survived the sister-in-law.
This is the woman who insisted my wife had to come out and be her midwife, but my wife wasn't licensed to practice in Maryland, so there was a massive blowup about how my wife didn't love her sister and my about how my wife didn't want to be barred from practicing medicine forever if something went wrong, and there was massive family drama, and I ended up trapped in a basement three feet below my screaming sister-in-law giving birth, and then the "midwife" decided she had to be somewhere so up and fucking left, leaving my wife (who had no license to practice in Maryland) in charge of the baby and then we found out six months later, when the "midwife" was arrested and went to jail for practicing without a license that she'd never had a fucking license anyway so had something gone wrong, my wife would have been banned from practicing her trade forever.
That baby's eleven now.
I put together a spreadsheet for the whole family to try and figure out where we could all vacation together to maximize our vacation bux. It pointed to the Upper Peninsula. The sister-in-law did the vacation without us and invited the grandparents. Then the last time they were in town they all hit the aquarium without us, despite it being my daughter's favorite place in the whole world and despite us having the only membership in the family. Three weeks ago my father-in-law let it slip that he and his wife were going out to see them in a week, despite them coming out two weeks later. We were given no invitation, nor explanation, since we now knew could we water the plants. They live less than a mile away. We see them multiple times a week.
There was a three day window for the sister-in-law's visit. It was dictated to us that we got half of Wednesday because they were seeing the ferris wheel and the space needle. When it was pointed out that my daughter has wanted to check out the ferris wheel and space needle for most of her life, it was explained that there was no room in the car, maybe we could all ride a ferry or something on Wednesday. When I suggested we could make our own way there was radio silence. Eventually my mother-in-law called up and apologetically offered us tickets to the ferris wheel and space needle.
That was a day. The less said about it the better. What was made clear was that my sister-in-law and her kids, as well as grandma and grandpa, were going to ride a ferry on Tuesday and we weren't coming. Not only not invited, discouraged from even asking because they wanted "alone time with grandma and grandpa (who had spent a week out there not ten days previous). When my eight year old daughter questioned "but weren't we going to ride a ferry this week?" my wife had to fucking gaslight her own daughter for the sake of politeness. "No, honey, I meant we'd ride a ferry sometime soon, not this week." My wife spent the evening crying. Kid wasn't there because my sister-in-law had invited my daughter to sleep over so that the kids could hang out. Apparently they gave her a towel to sleep under. That we were a five minute drive away didn't factor. And I guess she got up once to pee because when my daughter asked if she could do it again my sister-in-law called my wife and said that she didn't think she wanted my daughter sleeping over ever again because she "kept everyone up all night."
This is a family that leaned into "attachment parenting" which apparently to them meant "never say no to your kids." It also means "snap at your kids all the time and let them know how disappointed you are in their choices at every available opportunity." Apparently my eight year old daughter asked her cousin "do you always fight like this every morning?" and was told "yeah this is a normal breakfast." Suggestions were polled as to "what to do on Wednesday" and my daughter was resoundingly ignored. We were not consulted. An idea was arrived at and my daughter, always game, got enthusiastic about it. Then an hour before it was supposed to happen my sister-in-law decided we weren't doing it because one of her kids didn't want to.
My daughter locked herself in the closet and started crying.
I've put up with their bullshit for fuckin' 20 years at this point. But it's gotten to the point where my kid is absolutely reading the room on this and recognizing that grandma and grampa let this family do whatever they want, to each other and to others, and grin and bear it for the sake of minimizing discord. And she can't quite verbalize the concept of "injustice?" But the fact that adults will yell at her and hold her responsible while their own kids are just scorned is a complex set of emotions she's not sure how to process.
My sister-in-law grilled my wife about her business on Monday to try and figure out an angle as to how to be scornful of a woman with seven employees who does over a million dollars in revenue while she's been kicked off her neighborhood's co-op buy list. Eventually she settled on the fact that we will only do the medicine we can bill for which demonstrated that we were part of the problem because one of her bitchy friends was fired by her doctor for demanding that a checklist of seven things be handled in a 20-minute office visit. In that discussion was the price of Rhogam and the fact that the State doesn't reimburse us as much as our distributors charge us, but we're required by law to administer it.
My sister-in-law said I didn't know what I was talking about because she had to pay way more than that to get it shipped overnight. My wife got an edge to her voice and said "usually midwives in states that don't let them deliver Rhogam have a relationship with a doctor and they just send you in to see them." My sister in law prevaricated and asked her husband how much they ended up spending on Rhogam.
"I dunno, it was eleven years ago."
Which means the sister-in-law knew the midwife was unlicensed at the time.
We've sort of been surviving on the assumption that the midwife lied to my sister-in-law, therefore perhaps my sister-in-law didn't mean to jeopardize her own sister's career and quarter million dollars of education. Perhaps she just didn't check references. But no, the two of them flagrantly entered into a discussion that made clear they knew all along. The lie was from my sister-in-law to my wife.
And still. We suffered through two more days for the sake of politeness.
My wife has been in tears about 40% of the time since Sunday night. My daughter has been in tears a not-insubstantial amount of time, considering what a happy little kid she is. I told my wife on Tuesday that we were done with this shit; however she chose to deal with her sister was one thing. However her parents chose to deal with her sister was another. But the minute their bullshit started washing over my daughter I was fucking done. That there was going to be a reckoning. And that from this point forth, I was done being polite and going along with their need to forgive the unforgivable. I was not going to let my daughter grow up thinking that you accept injustice for the sake of politeness, and that no one gets to treat you like a second-class citizen. I was not going to accept that one sister's family was always going to be forgiven at the cost of the other if one of those families included my kid and that while I know politeness is the only thing that keeps certain bullshit together, politeness was fucking done. I was willing to land the plane in one piece and get them the fuck out the door with my daughter getting happy hugs from her cousins this time, but that next time, there would be ground rules, that grandma and grampa would would back us the fuck up instead of intimating that we needed to be steamrolled for the good of harmony, and that if they wanted any fucking participation from us ever again, They Need To Come Correct On This Bullshit.
So that's something to look forward to.
X - This is another times. Father chained me tight. This time I hit the stick out of his hands and made noise. He went away and his face was white. He ran out of my bed place and locked the door. I am not so glad. All day it is cold in here. The chain comes slow out of the wall. And I have a bad anger with mother and father. I will show them. I will do what I did that once. I will screech and laugh loud. I will run on the walls. Last I will hang head down by all my legs and laugh and drip green all over until they are sorry they didn’t be nice to me. If they try to beat me again I’ll hurt them. I will.