Sincerely with Love


You guys, we just got the most hilarious letter from my crazy, passive-aggressive mother-in-law, and Husband gave me permission to share it with you because he loves you almost as much as I do.

skeptical dog is skeptical



That’s not true, I don’t know why I said that.  He’s letting me share it because it’s funny and I asked and he already said no to something today so he used up his one veto.  That’ll teach him!


Okay, so now I’m sat here trying to tell you about this letter and I’m realizing that I can’t adequately explain the full glory of its passive-aggressive contents without giving you some context.  We’ve been alternately low-contact/no-contact with MIL for over a decade now, and I’m not sure how much of that to go into because it’s all unfunny and kind of a downer.  She knows we haven’t contacted her, and why, and she knows she did what she did.  But then I think, “I really hate when people say, ‘whatever it is, you should just forgive because Family is Everything’ so maybe I should just explain.”  But I don’t want to.


But I will.  Pay attention, because this is gonna go quick: we asked his parents to cosign a student loan for Husband so we could get a better rate; they agreed but didn’t follow through, instead attempting to steal over $60,000 from us.  They have 100% admitted this is exactly what they were doing, and FIL’s defense was, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”[1]  When we had to stop talking to my mother… shit, now I have to explain this one—because of the restraining order she took out after she tried to stab my husband in the back I told you my family was fucked up why don’t you people believe me?—we explained to MIL that she needed to not be relaying messages from my mother to us, because that was super illegal and could actually get Husband arrested.  She insisted on maintaining contact with my mother, the woman who tried to stab her son in the back with a fucking kitchen knife, so we had to quit her again (no big loss).  Legal issues are over now, but we are still in defensive mode for obvious reasons.



If your jaw is not hanging open right now, it’s because you were there for these stories.


There.  Now you know.  If ever there was a justification, right?[2]


Ah, but now there is a letter!  I thought about scanning it and showing it to you, but that seemed lazy.  Plus, this way, I can add color commentary!


HIM:  (arriving in basement where my migraine and I have been hiding) So this came today (hands me envelope)
ME:  Oh?
HIM:  Do you want the light on?
ME:  (looks over envelope)
HIM:  You’ll need the light for this.
ME:  (spots return address)  Oh, dear.  And you’ve already opened it.
HIM:  Yeah… Light?
ME:  (sighs)  Fine.  Bring it on.  (braces)
HIM:  (flicks on lights)
ME:  (reads)… (laughs hysterically)
HIM:  ?
ME:  How are you not laughing at this?
HIM:  Because it’s more of her passive aggressive bullshit.
ME:  No… honey… this is… okay, you’re reading it wrong.
HIM:  (settling in)  Fine, then.  Read it to me so it’s funny.
ME:  First of all—  (waves letter)  typed?  Who types this up?
HIM:  She does.
ME:  Okay, moving on:



Dreamy and family, [3]


I will give her credit here: for once she has acknowledged that Offspring and I are members of Husband’s family.  Believe it or not, this has been a point of some contention between them.  


Here’s hoping this letter finds all of you happy and well.


The last time Husband spoke to his father was several years ago.  FIL ended the call with a promise to call back soon… Husband is still waiting for that call.  You know what’s a great way of finding out how people are doing?  Calling them!  


"I'll call you back" headstone


Dreamy, I hope you are planning to come for your 25th high school class reunion.

My 25th was the only one I missed and everyone says it was the best.  I now regret not going.  


ME:  (expectant look)
HIM:  So?
ME:  (repeats)  Her 25th was the only reunion she didn’t go to, and everyone says it was the best.
HIM:  Oh.  Oh!  (laughs)
ME:  Right?  (hysterical pleading)  Connect the dots, Kathy![4]
HIM:  (laughing)  Okay, that part’s funny.
ME:  So is the rest!


We went to your Dad’s 50th class reunion last year and had a good time.  I look forward to my 50th in 2 years.  These are once in a lifetime events. 


So, so important that we note the age difference.  Also, these are once-in-a-lifetime events!  Each of them!


You have much to be proud of in your life.  Everyone who comes to your reunion would be glad to see you.

You should go.


ME:  (drily)  Think she wants you to go?
HIM:  There isn’t a reunion.
ME:  What?!
HIM:  I’m in the facebook group for my graduating class.  There isn’t a reunion this year.
ME:  NO.
HIM:  (nods)
ME:  Does she know?
HIM:  (shrugs)  It would be easy to find out.
ME:  … If it was really about the reunion.


If you do make it here, everyone in our family would be glad to see you.


Ah-ha!  We come now to her point.


Let me know and we can arrange a get together in one place where we all could see you and save you time running around to the different places we all live.


Because, of course, everyone knows this is the rule: if you venture into a state where your relatives live, or adjacent to a state where relatives live, or connected by river to a state where relatives live, you are legally obligated—regardless of the reason for your planned trip—to visit each of those relatives at your own expense.  This isn’t another of her selfish attempts to turn our lives into an excuse for her to host a family reunion with her as the star and main attraction—this is her doing us a favor!


And then there’s the signature!

"Sincerely with love" (typed) "Mom" (handwritten)

Yes, I scanned the whole thing so I could show you this bit.  I was afraid you wouldn’t believe me.



HIM:  “Sincerely with love” is an odd signature.
ME:  (eyebrows at him)  The whole thing is odd.
HIM:  But who signs something “sincerely with love?”
ME:  Your mother.
HIM:  Who signs something typewritten “sincerely with love?
ME:  Your mother.
HIM:  I guess, goddamn.
ME:  (shrugs)
HIM:  But she signed it “Mom.”  That’s weird!
ME:  When we sign cards for him (gesturing upstairs) we sign “Love, Mom and Dad”
HIM:  Oh, so now it’s a card?
ME:  No, but I’d still sign a letter that way.
HIM:  Hmm…
ME:  (considering)  Of course, I’d have written the letter.
HIM:  Right?!?
ME:  Yeah, the only reason to sign something you’ve typed up and printed is if it’s your actual signature.
HIM:  It’s fucking weird!


Abby Elliott "Yeah, no. That's weird"



So, couple of things:


First off, please tell me you see the humor in this letter.  Because I’ve got it sitting on my desk and I giggle every time I glance over at it.  Please tell me I’m not the only one who can laugh at such ham-fisted attempts at manipulation.


Second, I need you lot to settle this for us.  Husband thinks that the strangest thing about the letter is that signature.  I think the strangest thing is that she sent it at all, followed closely by the fact that she addressed it to both of us (“Dreamy and family”) when every line thereafter was directed at him and the entire purpose of the letter was luring him to the back woods of Maine so she can host another hootenanny.[5]


Also, raise your hand if you kind of want to knock on her door right now, shake her a bit and help her figure out what actually made her 25th reunion so magical for those who attended. 



"figure it out, bitch"







[1] I am not making this up.  I wish to fuck I was.

[2] There’s actually been other stuff, before and in-between, but I think these two incidents kind of highlight the validity of our position.

[3] Obviously not what she calls him, but you’re not tricking me into giving up his real name.

[4] Not her real name, but it always shocks me how much she looks like Kathy Bates.

[5] There is zero chance that she actually wants me or Offspring to join him on that trip.  In fact, she’d be surprised if you suggested that he might want to bring his wife to his class reunion; she’d blink in confusion for a moment or two and say, “But… it’s not her class!  They didn’t even go to the same school!”



Kathy Bates from "Misery" holding sledgehammer

Not my biggest fan.






60 comments on “Sincerely with Love

  1. shaunkellett says:

    As someone who’s life has, thus far, been relatively drama free, it never fails to amaze me the amount of drama some peoples families can cause. I see a lot of it with my partners family, but nothing quite like knife attacks and restraining orders! I am glad you and your Husband have managed to create such a loving and stable place, an island in the midst of all that excess-family hassle! As for the letter… its definitely the whole thing that’s bizarre. It’s almost like a metaphor for how distant she is from you, in terms of it being written almost as a professional correspondence than that of a loving family member. I’d consider writing something back that’s overly formal but ultimately dismissive of everything she wrote 😀 Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your stuff puts my family to shame and, let me tell you, that is quite a feat. I am now and forever going to sign everything I write Sincerely with Love, just to baffle folks. LOL! I haven’t spoken to my sister since she called me up one St. Patrick’s Day evening and told me that our other sister had been murdered and she was waiting for the cops to show up and would I please stay on the line with her. My other sister was not murdered, just out to dinner with her boyfriend. Think of how drunk you have to be to make a phone call like that. If I were you, I’d thank my lucky stars I’m not around that shit, chuck the letter in the fire, and pretend like it never happened. Except that now you have to sign all your letters Sincerely with Love, cause that shit is funny as hell!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. lariatlarge says:

    Oh dear. I can’t figure it out. It’s a very funny blog but I’m totally missing the 25th reference … Help!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Victor K says:

    Oh man! That is:

    1) Hilarious! Who *wouldn’t* see through that? Alternatively, who is that lacking in self awareness that they can’t see all the problems with what they have done there? (Okay, other than her obviously.) (Or the woman at work who was looking for blue floating items to teach a thing about blue green algae, so posted on our internal website “Does anyone have blue balls?”)

    2) Also sad. I don’t especially get along with my in laws, but that’s more a personality style clash than anything else. I’m all quiet and self-contained, they’re very outgoing people. Normally not a big issue, but my FIL enjoys baiting me into getting upset. My wife, I’m happy to say, loves my family, so no problems there. It’s hard for me to envision that much conflict in a family, but so it goes.

    And that whole damn thing is fucking weird. An out of the blue, ham-fisted attempt to lure him back to a family stronghold? Sounds like a goddamn kidnapping attempt. Are you all sure they don’t have another bride picked out an some intention to ship him to another country with her?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You joke, but the “backup bride” scenario actually sounds like something she would do. Seriously. On our first visit out that way as a couple (a long, weird story for another time) she made a point of bringing up Husband’s ex (I’ve mentioned Emily somewhere around here, haven’t I?) in a very pointed sort of way. “Oh, are you still in touch with Emily? She was so nice, isn’t there any chance for the two of you? Well, you never know how things might work out in the future… I know, but I’m just saying, keep an open mind.” All of this, please understand, was interspersed with telling me how great I was and how glad she was to get to know me better and how happy I obviously made him.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Arionis says:

    I think the whole thing is hilarious! Besides some drunken escapades with my Mother who preached at me about the sins of alcohol when I was a kid, I pretty much have cool relatives on both sides of the fence.

    Your Mother actually tried to stab your hubby with a knife??? Please tell me you have written about this. Link please, I’m too lazy to search archives.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So … you really think it’s weird to type a personal letter? Because that’s what I’ve always done, at any rate since my teens – even back in the day when all I had was a manual typewriter. My handwriting is impossible and my letters (when I still wrote them) were exceedingly long.

    Jeez … now I’m feeling like a total weirdo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Li’l bit? But here’s the thing: how often do you do that (write a letter rather than use email/facebook/text/phone/virtually any other means of communication available to humans living in a developed country in 2017)? Also, it is a known habit of yours to type letters, and everyone who knows you knows that you have the handwriting of a serial killer off his meds (I’m assuming… you said it was awful) but she has no such issue. She’s got that painfully perfect penmanship thing down, like most teachers trained in her era.


      • Oh, I don’t do it now, because we have all those other things. But I used to. And cards … I hate writing cards because it’s SO HARD to keep my writing even halfway legible without my hand cramping up. Usually I just scrawl and send it off on the basis that it’s the thought that counts. But if I really wanted to communicate through the card … I’d insert a printout of something typed on the computer.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kathryn says:

          This may be totally off base, but I used to have the problem you’re describing with writing by hand until I learned that I’d been doing it wrong. You are supposed to use the muscles of your shoulder girdle to write, not your hand. Your hand just holds the pen – the shoulder girdle does all the movement.

          This information was legit life-altering for me, which is why I’m sharing it. Hopefully I haven’t just earnestly told you how to boil water. (In a saucepan!! Did you ever?) (telling people stuff that is blitheringly obvious is what *my* mom does)

          Liked by 1 person

          • +1 because I have for reals screamed at a friend/myself when she didn’t offer up an “obvious” solution to a very expensive problem I was having because she “was sure I’d thought of it”… I had not, because sometimes that happens. Also because I’m really digging the image of “suggesting” that someone try boiling water in a saucepan. As opposed to holding their hands directly over the flame? (There’s always the kettle, but just try using that for soup)


          • Not only is it not blitheringly obvious … I don’t have the faintest idea how to write with my shoulder! But that’s okay because I have a keyboard… 🙂 Love you!

            Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve got a bitchy MIL, she’s clueless, she’s rude, but never anything bad enough to completely cut her out of our lives. I did REALLY piss her off once though.

    See, my husbands dad died when he was about 8 and MIL was really unable to handle it. She was suicidal, checked herself into an institution and left hubby with friends. Once she checked herself out, she set out to make hubby into a surrogate husband. It was a super unhealthy dynamic that continued all the way up until I came around and got him to see how unhealthy it really was.

    Anyway, she used to manipulate him by threatening to kill herself when he did something she didn’t like or as a guilt trip. One day, I’d had enough and when she called him threatening to kill herself when he didn’t buy her a birthday present (that she insisted that he did not buy her because we couldn’t afford it) I went ahead and called the police non-emergency line, told them what she was saying and that she needed a well check.

    Guess who avoided me for months? Guess who has never made another suicide threat since then?


    • This got caught in the spam filter for some reason, so sorry I didn’t know about all the crazy until just now. I’m kind of bummed at that, because that’s time we could have spent forming the club for people who tell crazy in-law stories instead of ghost stories. (Which we’re totally going to do anyway, but now days later)


  8. LuWana says:

    I had a manipulative, sweet/nasty MIL once upon a time but she didn’t come near the level of crazy you describe! The letter is insanely funny, of course. And “Sincerely with love,” is just weird. Oh, and I always write my letters on the computer and print them out, which I guess is “typing” now. I do write long ones, which is my excuse,

    Thanks for the laughs. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. thebeasley says:

    This is fucking amazing. And so weird (the letter bit). Do me a favour though, please please write a book on your life. Thanking you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lisa Orchard says:

    Wow! I’d be worried that if I went to the family get together she’d be there waiting for me…with a knife. I’m glad you have a sense of humor about it all. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • She’s never shown up with weapons but she has gone to some insane lengths to ensure I can’t get on the plane or sabotage me once I get there. I have to laugh, because it’s so weird that a woman her age wouldn’t have developed a hobby by now, you know? I mean, besides trying to run the lives of adults who have not asked for her help in the life-running department.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. willowdot21 says:

    I am speechless, I do believe everything you say! Being a mother in law myself I would not dare to offer an opinion!🙃🤔😱💜💜🌼🌼🌼

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope to be a mother-in-law myself one day, and I’ve never understood why mine does some of the things she does. I’m looking forward to having more family, seeing my son build a life and family of his own, and I’d expect it to be my responsibility to make nice with his partner. I can’t imagine demanding proof that he’ll set her aside in favor of me (I wouldn’t even ask that of his current girlfriend and he’s 17!) much less try to wiggle out of having her at her own wedding reception.


  12. willowdot21 says:

    Reblogged this on willowdot21 and commented:
    MIL Alert read and learn !

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Melissa says:

    I am trying to find the words to string together to leave a proper comment and all I can think of is, “And I thought I had family drama?!” Thoroughly enjoyed this! When is the mini-series coming out on HBO? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Angie says:

    I have amazing in-laws now, but that wasn’t always the case. If they’d have been like yours, I think I could’ve found hating them pretty darned enjoyable!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Weird.
    The last letter we received from MIL was typewritten and signed with her full OFFICIAL signature, including the Mrs in brackets. It was spiteful and cruel, so we believe it to be from SIL and BIL. There’s more to it, but I’m not going into that.
    Family politics suck, and we have had no contact from her since (2012) though I do send a card for her birthday, Mother’s Day, and Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry… hateful people are bad enough, but when the flying monkeys take to the air all you can do is get inside, toast some marshmallows, and wait out the crazy.

      Cards are marvelous and my therapist has recommended them, reminding me that sometimes it can be for me rather than having anything to do with them. So I sent the unsigned Get Well card to my mother (from another city, no return address) so I could tick the “sent good thoughts” box without actually reaching out to her, and I send the obligatory cards to other family members to keep them from calling on holidays. Because holidays are supposed to be nice.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. angelanoelauthor says:

    Whoa. Just Whoa. I want to feel bad for her. I do. But, I don’t. It’s TERRIBLE when anyone manipulates people or situations out of “love.” Makes me want to barf, and I just had a big ole iced coffee and that would be super gross. I think you’re dead on that this isn’t normal behavior, and also write that you haven’t seen a whole lot of “normal” from either side of your family tree. But, I’m so glad you have a great sense of humor, and see through it all. I agree with Hayley–a book!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do feel bad for her in a way… but in the same way you feel sad about tossing a plant that’s too far gone to save, you know? Like, I’m sure she’s got some stuff going on that makes it hard for her to be a basic level of polite to her family but also? Your weird personal constant-vomiting disease doesn’t mean that I have to let you vomit all over me and just be chill with it. Carry a bag or something.

      Her right to swing her feelings ends where mine begin, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

      • angelanoelauthor says:

        What a perfect way to put that. You’re exactly right. She doesn’t get to infringe on you. She can be whoever she needs to be, but she can’t take you with her!


  17. Phil Taylor says:

    I think all mother in laws are like that, which means that someday you…

    Liked by 1 person

    • See, that’s what confuses me. I’m 100% sure that it will be on me to get along with Offspring’s partner, not the other way ’round. Because they don’t have to come visit, and won’t do if I’m not pleasant. So I practice now, making nice with girlfriends and finding things I like about them and otherwise staying the hell out of his personal life.

      Liked by 1 person

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