I'm so lost with this situation!
Let me give a little background...
I have been married for 6.5 years I have a 19 year old son from my previous marriage and husband and I have a daughter together who is 5.
On my IL's side, my 2 children are the only two children and I'm 99% sure there will not be any more from us or from SIL (she's 40, not married, no kids).
This issue has gone on for a long time. Initially when we got married, MIL seemed very excited about my son being part of the family and a grandson for her. But that quickly flew out the window once she found out I was pregnant with my daughter.
The first year my daughter was born and under a year old: Christmas, my MIL fills a stocking full of gifts for my daughter, gives her lots of other gifts, and barely anything for my son. On Valentines we received cards in the mail, one specifically for my daughter and then another one intended for the rest of us. On Easter, we went to the IL's house and as my son was holding my daughter my MIL gave my daughter a huge basket of goodies.... and nothing for my son.
At that point, I was upset (there were lots of other small things but I won't bore you will all the details) and MIL knew I was mad about the inequality in treatment. My husband had a talk with her but not sure what was said but I don't think she quite got the problem. So I ended up calling her and telling her that she treats them the same or we won't bother coming around.
Over the years, things sort of improved but only slightly but I still felt they were going downhill (if that makes sense) For example: MIL used to sign cards to my son as Grandma and Grandpa.... and then started signing their names. On his graduation card, she signed it Jan and Mark Smith. Yes, both first and last names.
So just a couple months ago, my son moved away to college and I can clearly see that my MIL has taken it as a sign to just go overboard on my daughter and my son isn't even a blip on her radar. I get that he is older and things don't always remain the same but I think it always just depends on the family. There is no clearcut way for how things are done.
A few days ago my MIL gave my daughter a basket full of goodies for Halloween. Then yesterday I received a card in the mail, the envelope was addressed to my daughter and family. But the card inside said for a special little "ghoul" on Halloween. MIL signed it Happy Halloween to Lilly and family.
Ok, so it's only a card right? but this isn't the first time stuff like this happened and it looks like it's reverting back. I sit here and think that my MIL loves to send cards. How hard would it have been to send my son a card who is away at college and struggling being away from home? Before anyone says it... Yes... I realize it's not Halloween yet but my MIL doesn't know my son's address. Only me and my son know it... and she has never bothered to ask for it. So I'm pretty sure she has no intention of specifically sending him one.
I realize this is tricky - he's older and people will say things change when children get older but I keep thinking, when my daughter is 19, I can guarantee they won't stop doing those little things for her!
My son has never said anything but that doesn't mean he doesn't have an opinion or hasn't felt slighted over it. He's probably just being nice and keeping it to himself if he does because he doesn't know what to say. But it makes me very mad and really hurts my feelings.
So now what? Since that first blow up about 4 years ago, I usually have kept things to myself. I didn't want anyone to think it was being nit-picky and attacking my MIL over every little thing. And maybe I don't remember every little slight, but I haven't forgotten how it's made me feel. And it's now built up again and I'm at a loss of how to handle the situation.
I would like to talk to my husband about how it's made me feel - which I realize is hard because it is his mother but this is a big issue for me! It always makes me worry it will be a sore spot and point of tension between us and I have tried to spare him my general dislike for my MIL but it's bubbling again at the surface and I need to confide in him over it.
I know I have been told in the past to just realize that she will never see them the same and never treat them the same and to let it go. Part of me wants to do that, but if I do.... I want to tell MIL that I see they don't care and because of it, I will have to keep my distance because I have no desire to spend time with them above and beyond what I really have to. I don't want to deny my daughter any relationship with her grandparents but It just makes me mad she can skip along and treat my son like he doesn't matter and just get full access to my daughter and there are no consequences to her treating my son like he doesn't matter.
Part of me wants to call my FIL and express how upset and hurt I am and ask him if he has ever realized she does all that and why hasn't he said anything. But I don't know if that really is helpful. I just feel like if I have to say something AGAIN over it... that what's the point!? I can't force them to care about my son and if they treat him that way, I want them to realize there are going to be consequences because I will distance myself from them as much as possible.
I realize, these are my expecations but I have told my MIL how I felt a few years ago. Do I adjust my thoughts and feelings to her actions and get rid of my expecations? If I need to, I can try that but I feel like they should know.
I really need some help!! and sorry this is so darn long!