Am I Wrong for “Hiding” My MIL’s Birthday Present to My Husband after Finding Out What Was Inside?

Tired of allowing her cold and callous mother-in-law to ruin her husband’s birthday, Lila hides Carol’s birthday present from Bill to save him the hurt and disappointment that usually came with his mother’s gifts. But when Lila’s secret comes out, a series of events unfolds.

I could tell my husband, Bill, was nervous. His birthday was coming up, and every year, his mom’s gift felt like a slap in the face.

Bill sat on our worn-out couch, his shoulders tense.

“Do you think she’ll actually care this time?” he asked, trying to sound nonchalant.

I sighed, placing my hand on his. I didn’t know what I was supposed to say. I knew that I needed to reassure him, but my husband’s relationship with his mother was complicated.

“Maybe,” I said. “But remember, we’re celebrating your birthday, not hers. We’ll have a great time, no matter what, darling.”

Bill smiled at me, but it didn’t reach his eyes. I knew how much he wanted to feel loved and appreciated by Carol, but she always failed to show him that. It wasn’t just about the gifts. It was about the feeling.

Bill had told me the story a long time ago. He was his mother’s son from her first marriage, and their relationship was strong, but things took a turn when Carol met her second husband, Adam.

It became even worse when Bill’s younger brothers were born. Suddenly, Carol only had eyes for Adam and their sons, making it clear to Bill that he was no longer a priority in her life.

“Okay,” he said. “This year will be different.”

Deep down I knew that nothing would change. Carol was so set in her ways that nothing would ever make her see the error of her ways.

Two days before his birthday, a small package arrived. Bill and I weren’t home, so our neighbor, Tom, received it.

I lit candles around my home, made some tea, and began cooking. I wanted everything to be perfect. I knew that my parents were going to bring the birthday cake, but I wanted to cook the meal.

I wanted everyone to feel at home and loved—so I had carefully crafted my menu, making sure that everyone invited would have one thing they loved to eat.