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An open letter to my mother in law

2003-12-14 & 4:57 p.m.

All of my writing energies were spent today writing this letter:

Dear Malgorzata,

I am writing a letter because I do not feel that a confrontation would benefit either of us. We are both entirely too strong willed about our feelings. I wish to express that my motives were never intended to be malicious despite the fact that they were perceived as such. I believe we come from two different situations and our backgrounds make it difficult to relate to each other. My actions were merely my typical reactions to certain situations and were never intended to be disrespectful.

Our backgrounds, me being raised and living in America and you having more European values are merely a culture clash. I was not raised to eat food or drink tea at someoneís house merely out of respect. I was raised that I did not have to eat or drink anything I do not like. You are not the only one who has been offended by me not eating something at their house. I am very picky. I am sorry if this offends people but I am not going to eat something I do not like point blank. I do not feel this is disrespectful.

As far as calling you or sending cards, notes, et cetera, I do not feel I was being disrespectful in this regard either. I feel it is unreasonable for you to expect such things out of me when you own son does not exhibit such behaviors either. He does not call my mom. He never talks to her on the phone. He doesnít send her thank you cards. Does my mom find this offensive? No. She does not find this offensive because in my family we do not expect such petty shows of affection or appreciation out of one another. We trust in the mutual respect that exists in our family and know that gifts are always appreciated and never expected and to send cards is unnecessary. So I am sorry if this has caused you offense as well. Be assured that any gifts you have given me have been appreciated and I am thankful for them.

Peter mentioned to me that you felt on my birthday when you called and offered to take me to lunch that you found it offensive that I did not call you back to set this up. I was expecting a response from you. I am 23 years old living in a state where I only have 2 friends. I do not have this huge heavy social life. Whereas you are a single mother taking care of an elderly mother, working full time with lots of friends, I expected you to tell me when you had open time. I believe this entire situation could have been avoided had either of us showed the initiative to call one another. Neither of us did. I believe we are both at fault for this situation becoming a tense one.

On many occasions, I find you get angry with people because they do not respond the way you expect them to. I feel this is an unrealistic view of situations and you are only setting yourself up for constant disappointment, such as the case with the wedding. My parents did not intentionally leave you out of the wedding. They believed that because you did not contact them you had no interest in planning the wedding with them. They also paid for the majority of the wedding and, traditionally the brides family plans and pays for the majority of the wedding. In turn, your response to the disrespectful behavior you felt was inflicted on you has damaged your relationship with my parents as well and caused a huge tension on what was supposed to be the happiest day of your sonís and my life together. By walking out of our wedding and not showing up at my parentsí house for dinner, it demonstrated to me that you were unsupportive of our relationship.

I only have the happiness of Peter at heart and I believe your motives are the same. Our relationship is very important to both of us. I am an important part of Peterís life and you are as well. However, our negative relationship is causing a great deal of tension in my relationship with your son. I do not believe it was the intent of either of us for our relationship to escalate to the point it is at right now.

I wish to come to at least a mutual understanding. I believe that we can reach a common ground somewhere. Whether it is agree to disagree or more, that is up to both of us to work on. I believe it would be in the best interests of both of us to start with a clean slate. To forgive and forget past mistakes both of us have made and to start new for the happiness of Peter. I am willing to do such however I feel that we should discuss things so that no incorrect assumptions nor unrealistic expectations are made by either of us. I do not feel that this relationship is beyond repair but I do feel it will take work from both of us.

The intent of this letter was never to offend you or make matters worse. It was to merely explain where I am coming from in an attempt for both of us to better understand each other. I hope for the sake of Peterís happiness we can reach a common ground.

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