We visit my in-laws EVERY holiday and they live about 10 hours away. With that said. I was wondering what you think. When we visit my mother in law who is in generally good health except for some arthritis and some not too serious knee problems, there is NEVER any food for us and especially for me as I am a vegetarian. She does attempt to make some boiled veggies about a cup full for 5 or 6 people and the same amount of mashed potatoes... and then proceeds to order pizza and then cuts each slice in half or simply makes a soup bowl full of salad and that's dinner. This, after a 10 hour drive. As for the holdiday meal. Her idea of having the family over is serving up some pre-ordered Kentucky Fried or some Chinese food as she does not care for cooking, nor has any desire to learn. When we confront her with the idea of ordering from a restaurant, she suggests that it may be too pricey (she is not poor, not wealthy, but not poor by any means, money in the bank, in her checking and often wins her fair share of $1,000 prizes at Bingo, probably every few weeks)....so, it's not like she can't splurge a few times a year. When we remind her that her grandchildren are not partial and will not eat Kentucky Fried or Chinese, her attitude is well, you can't please the kids all the time, and my brother and sister in laws simply go along and feed their kids before heading over to grandmas, where they simply sit in the living room and socialize amongst themselves.
She (my mother in law) is uncomfortable with the whole idea of shopping for a party. She says (and she's been married for 50 years) that she doesn't know what to get and doesn't have the patience to go with anyone to show her, yet she'll have her hair done before people come over because she doesn't want to look undone. However, even when she orders Chinese or Kentucky Fried, she serves it right out of the tin or bucket, she doesn't even own a platter or any serving utensils. He attitude is "it's just family, why should I go out of my way, they know that I'm a fairly simple woman), yet she REALLY enjoys it when one of us throws a party and has lots to choose from. In recent years she has given in to DH and I and agreed to order "real food" but instead call upon my sister in laws to either cook something for her, each gets a list of what to make (as if they don't have enough on their own plate) or asks them to pick up something pre-ordered for her. So, from the appetizers to the main course and wine, the sister in laws pay for and buy it all, she only provides the house and the oven to warm it in. I told DH that it's HER responsibility not there's and that she's just as capable of ordering as they are. So, we have since taken her to Costco and now we are helping out by picking up some preseasoned Easter items, meats and fish so all she has to do is provide the oven....but we are making her pitch in on the cost. Anyway, while she has "somewhat reluctantly" agreed she continued to press DH, insisiting that she doesn't understand the need for such a "fancy" meal....we are getting potroast and oven-roasted potaotes. She suggests that Chinese food should be good enough, why go through all the trouble since before OUR marriage (now almost 10 years) nobody seemed to have a problem with this, for EVERY holiday at her house.
I think her approach is FINE for a birthday of weekend get together or bbq but not so much for Thanksgiving, Christmas, 50th Anniversary, Easter, and such events. In fact, I see it as rather tacky. My husband, who doesn agree with me for the most part, also sides with his mother and her philosophy suggesting that there is no need to dress for special occassions, sweat pants and a sweater are fine and that there is little need for so much effort on decor, food and presentation...after all we are all family and we are there for the company and not the presentation of the home or food.
Any thoughts. How would you characterize this woman? Is she hopeless or should we keep trying and encouraging?