Monday, June 18, 2012
Caring for a newborn and becoming accustomed to living with Celia’s mother is presenting challenges. Celia and Mom are arguing about diapers, with Rob stuck in the middle.
Rob said, “Celia, it is just two dollars price difference. Mom will get the generic next time.”
Celia knew Rob was exhausted, and that he had his own struggles getting used to the new house and living arrangement. But, exhausted and anxious from caring for William, she did not have it in her to give Rob the benefit of the doubt on this comment. All she felt was Rob taking sides against her.
She stood up, barely aware that William, in her arms, had awakened and was revving up for a full-blown newborn scream. Rob took him from her.
“Celia, you need to calm down,” Rob said. “You just woke up William.”
“Whose side are you on, Rob!” Celia shouted. “We can’t afford to waste one penny, even if I was working for the summer, but we have the new house to pay for”—she broke down and started to cry – “and your income supporting four people.”
“I’m on our side, Cele. Yes, I wish your mother bought the cheaper diapers but just this once we can afford it.”
“And the little teddies on the front are so cute,” Mom said.
Celia, crying, watched as her clueless mother persisted in her line of reasoning.
“Mom,” Rob said as quietly as he could, since he was cradling William against his shoulder and patting him. “Thank you for going to the store for us. That is a big help and the little Teddies are a great splurge. But we do need to get the generic ones in the future to keep our expenses under control.”
Her mother waved her arms in an I-don’t-care-either-way gesture. “Whatever you say, Robbie,” she said as she turned to go back into the kitchen.
Celia, still crying, thought she must be losing her mind, expecting Rob to start a fight with his mother-in-law by “siding” with Celia, raising her voice around William and panicking about money. But she could not stop crying.
What happens next?