I miss my in-laws, especially Big Daddy's stepmom. She is one of the coolest people I have ever had the good fortune to meet. Dare I use one of my least favorite words? I dare: She's classy.
When Big Daddy first ditched, she was one of the people I turned to for advice. Instead of getting all preachy and whatnot, she gave me some been there/done that advice: told me to clean out the checking account. Love her.
People told me that it's true, blood really is thicker than water, and to brace myself for the loss of that branch of my family tree. At first I was skeptical...there was no way I could not be part of that tribe. These were the people I spent my holidays with, the people I allowed in the hospital rooms to help welcome my babies into the world. These were the patches that helped make up my life quilt. And then it started happening. Slowly but surely, these people faded from my life.
There was a very volatile time, a few summers ago, when Big Daddy and I were having a balls out battle over schedules and holiday times and all that other fun shit that helps keep divorce attorneys rich. During this time, he instructed his family members to cease all contact with me. But we still talked, the emails didn't stop, the quiet chats on the phone continued. I am grateful to those who showed compassion and kindness to me at that time. It made the grueling task of learning to live as a newly divorced chick a little bit easier to handle.
When Big Daddy started feeling secure enough to drag Secretary out from the shadows, it was someone from my ex-family that gave me the low-down on the situation. Gave me a heads up, and helped me prepare myself and my kids for that impending shit storm. It was this person, and a couple others, who always took time out at Big Daddy family gatherings to check in with my angels to make sure that they were doing ok, and asked about their mommy. I was, and always will be, thankful that they were there.
It's hard to watch as my former family grows and changes, and not be able to help celebrate the joys and mourn the losses. The last family event that I was invited to was my former sister-in-law's wedding. They wanted me and the kids there, along with Big Daddy, of course. I had called my mother-in-law to ask about bringing a date, and she said that it would be best if Big Daddy and I both agreed to attend solo. Point taken.
This was to be my first time out and about with that side of the family since the demise of my marriage. I had lost 60 pounds at this point, and was excited to show off the "new me" to my former clan. Big Daddy and I were civil to each other, they had even seated us together, with the kids, at dinner. I can honestly say that we had a nice time. People were coming up to me, eyes wide and mouths agape, with a whole lot of "OH MY GOD YOU LOOK GREAT" comments. It was especially comforting to have my mother in law and her homies surround me at one point, telling me that I was going to survive, that this was all going to be ok. I remember one of these grand dames telling me, "Believe me honey. Some day he'll regret what he's done."
My mother-in-law and I shared lipstick in the bathroom, and she doled out some advice. "You need to have some sex!" she declared. Have I mentioned that I love her?? Then we started in at the open bar. I remember the cosmos, remember the toasts, remember posing in the Traveling Photo Booth. That's when the wheels started coming off, and I became embarrassingly shit-faced. Yes, I got tanked at my former sister-in-law's wedding. And not the fun, happy drunk, oh no. God forbid. I became the weepy lush. Thank God Big Daddy had left with the kids by then, leaving me to make an ass of myself without that particular audience in attendance.
My former father-in-law ended up driving me home, and I remember leaning my head against the cool glass of the passenger window of his car. I remember crying, and telling him how shitty it felt to be me, how Big Daddy had just thrown me out like yesterday's newspaper. I remember him clutching the wheel and muttering, "Don't cry, don't cry, please don't cry." Good times.
I really, deeply, truly regret that night. But, what's done is done. I guess we all have times in our lives when we do or say things that make us want to join the Witness Protection program and go off the grid. Sadly, mine happened in front of the very people I wanted most to leave with a good impression. I guess if there's a silver lining to this horrifying story it's that for a brief time I was enveloped in their world again, and even though I left with breath reeking of vodka and cranberry I felt some sort of closure had occurred. And no, smart ass, closing down the open bar isn't what I mean.
Anyhoo. The reason I was thinking about all of this is because I have been having this mad craving for lentils lately. My ex-mother-in-law used to be married to a guy from India, and therefore had learned to make some seriously kick-ass Indian food. It was her lentils in particular that I was craving but do you think I could find the recipe? Of course not. I still haven't unpacked half of my life, even though we moved in March. So I asked her for the recipe, and she sent it to me. Bless her heart.
Here it is, in case you want to dive into a big bowl of lentilly heaven:
JENNY'S EX-MOTHER-IN-LAW'S KICK ASS LENTILS (someday I will learn to use my apostrophes, til then, don't judge)
1 # bag of lentils
1 very large onion chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 inch fresh ginger, chopped or grated
1 stick butter
1 can diced tomatoes
Spices are as follows, mostly 1-2 tablespoons as you like
Sometimes I add a chopped jalapeno
Rinse the lentils and put them is a large pot with enough water to
cover by about 3 inches. Careful not to put too much in, you can
always add more.
Put all the above ingredients in the pot and bring to a slow boil.
Stir and simmer covered for about 30-60 minutes.
I check it for liquid every so often. It should be like chili.
I like to add sour cream (light is fine).
Serve with rice.
I would also add a line to this recipe: Make sure you have some good reading material in your bathroom. Because if you're like me, when you have a craving for something you will eat it until you quite literally cannot eat another bite. And if you do this with lentils, you will be spending some serious quality time in the crapper.