In correct chronology, this story begins with me swearing at Mr Fishtron, but to make sense of it, I'm going to jump ahead to this most recent Easter. On the Thursday before Easter, I receive this text from Mr Fishtron's mum:
"I'm very worried that you are hoping for work time. Please don't bring work this holiday. It is only a few days. We would like to visit with you, share tasks, celebrate Easter together. Please let me know you get this."
My reaction was defensive. We were planning the trip and had started packing. I ended up politely but bluntly saying, sorry, my work goes where I go. I ended up staying home with the dog and got some much-needed chores done while Mr F took the kids there for a visit and it worked out very well.
In my heart I was angry. When she said, "we'd like to share tasks and celebrate together," I heard an accusation: "you don't share tasks with us and you don't celebrate." Which I thought was just plain untrue! Plus, I had excuses: I'm a one-woman show without stable childcare. It's easy for others to take a vacation when they are salaried with paid vacation! These were untruths, but my mind was making up stories to support my feelings of outrage.
Summer arrived and suddenly my childcare situation and schedule became even more unstable, and it was becoming clear that there was only one weekend where the children could visit their grandparents. The hitch? I had to make the drive myself (nervous!) and work out with my MIL how I could work while I'm there. This is going to be a conflict I have to resolve myself.
I was fretting about this when Mr Fishtron dropped me a hint: I swore at him in a recent visit to their place, likely over being interrupted at work. Shamefully, I don't even remember the details.
After taking a moment to digest all the shameful feelings, I apologised to Mr F and the rest was simple (though not easy). I told my pride to STFU. I wrote an email to my MIL and explained: I'm aware of what happened, I'm ashamed and apologetic, I'm hopeful that the kids can visit with grandparents, I'm grateful for their relationships, and let's get clear about expectations and find a way for me to work while visiting (because I can't budge on that).
We eventually ended up on a 45-minute call and worked it out. I made the drive out—a nerve-wracking but uneventful first time driving long-distance on the highway—and had a lovely visit.
I'm not proud of my mistakes but here I am anyway.