about DH 40th birthday photo album in which I don't appear...?

(159 Posts)
Mothproof Tue 26-Feb-13 10:32:29

Regular, but have namechanged for my first AIBU, in case the Mn judgement is that I am being unbelievably petty. This is long, as I'm still a bit stunned, but to sum up, AIBU to be hurt and baffled by a 40th birthday photo album of my DH's life, in which I am almost entirely absent?

My DH turned 40 recently, and when his parents came to visit, his mother produced a big photo album she had had professionally made up (engraved leather cover, glossy paper etc) of montages of photos from my DH's life. (They've done similar for significant birthdays of all of the family.)

My MiL showed it to me first before giving it to DH, as he was at work - I thought it was a lovely idea, and said so. So there we were sitting on the sofa, leafing through the album, and I'm cooing over his baby photos and his cub scout award photos etc and as we got towards the student years - which is when DH and I got together, now over 20 years ago - I made a joky remark about being apprehensive about what I was going to look like when I started appearing in the photos, as I had this mad head of henna'ed hair as a student and some horrifying paisley shirts.

So I was mildly relieved not to see myself in the first few pages of student photos, but then thought it was odd I wasn't in any of the graduation photos, as we had been together two years by then, graduated in the same ceremony, and his family knew me well. It went out of my head fairly quickly, though, until I gradually realised I wasn't in any of the photos - not in our MA conferring (again, was in the same graduating ceremony), not at his 21st birthday, not at his PhD conferring, not at family weddings, PiLs wedding anniversary party, not in snaps from two holidays we took with PiL, not in ones from a ski holiday we took with friends, where the only photos are of him solo or with the other two.

It got totally surreal - I was honestly wondering whether I only imagined I had been there on all these occasions! I featured in five group shots - student class photos, a survivors' ball photo etc, and the third last page of the album consisted of three photos of us as a couple, all - oddly - from about eighteen or nineteen years ago.

But, as we had a baby last spring, our first, I thought I would surely feature there - no. There is a lovely photo of DH snuggling our newborn DS in hosiptal, four photos of DH and DS, and a couple of DS solo. End of album.

At this point, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, and said something light-hearted like 'Oh, it looks as if DH had a baby by himself', but MiL clearly didn't get what I meant.

AIBU to be so hurt at appearing in 8 photos out of 400 plus, especially not in any of the baby photos? I thought I had a reasonably good relationship with MiL, assuming it was she who collected the photos (it's not my gentle, passive, FiL's kind of thing), and I have been her DS's partner, latterly wife, for 20 years, and am the mother of her youngest grandchild. Now I can't stop wondering whether this is malicious (I've always worked to maintain a cordial relationship, but we're very different people, and she has vocally disapproved of our decision to not have a big wedding and baptise our baby) or whether it simply didn't occur to her that I was an important figure in her DS's life, because I hadn't done what her other DiLs do, which is marry young and have a large family in their twenties.

I keep imagining her going through the hundreds of photos of family occasions and choosing the ones I'm not in. Again, how do you overlook a newborn baby's mother, even if the baby is the child of your adored youngest DS?

I'll never bring it up, but AIBU or being stupidly over-sensitive? Or can you think of any other explanation?

exoticfruits Wed 27-Feb-13 19:01:44

Probably the best option-keep the high ground by not commenting or appearing to notice and put it in the back of a cupboard.

Tanith Wed 27-Feb-13 20:50:26

My MIL is like this. She has photos all over the walls, of all her family, obscure cousins I've never met, even complete strangers because she likes those particular photos.
She loves the trophy ones, school photos, graduations, family parties, weddings.
I do not appear in a single photo. I am not even in the photo of our wedding: she chose the one with her immediate family and DH.
There are loads of photos of our son. There are barely any of our daughter.

I pointed it out once and once only to DH, then left it. Up to her if she wants to show herself as mean-spirited to every visitor who walks through her door.

flatbread Wed 27-Feb-13 22:11:24

To all of you complaining about your mil not having your photos in their house.

Well, how many photos of your mil do you have in your house? None...? grin

So why are you complaining?

eccentrica Wed 27-Feb-13 23:03:21

Not too long ago, we arrived at my in-laws to see that MIL had put up a photo of herself, her mother (DP's gran who died a couple of years ago) and DP's ex-wife in pride of place on the kitchen dresser.

Just a crappy blurred snapshot, not even a nice pic.she was shocked that we were upset. Apparently she hadn't even realised, she just liked the pic of her mum... Uh huh. I'm sure in 90+ years that was the only decent shot.

God knows why they do it. I think mine has,never got over the fact that DP has ended up with a woman (me) who is even tougher and more hard headed than her! Ex wife was very young (as was DP ) and vulnerable and willing to go along with whatever MIL wanted.

quietlysuggests Fri 01-Mar-13 15:43:00

I wasn't complaining that MIL does not have a framed photo of me for the sake of having me in a picture. I was pointing out that she framed a pic of her son's wedding - and chose one where the bride was a blurry back of head. The bride. One half of the couple. My mother framed one of the wedding party standing still and looking at the camera. Its not that hard to do surely?

Tanith Wed 13-Mar-13 07:10:40

For spectacularly missing the point, Flatbread, I think you really win hands down!

What a silly assumption to make, too! FYI, even though I don't have many photos, I have 3 displayed of my MIL in my house.

Frootloopz Wed 13-Mar-13 11:26:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Frootloopz Wed 13-Mar-13 11:28:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

memphis83 Wed 13-Mar-13 11:38:33

My exmil had a wall of family photos, bil had split with his wife after she cheated on him but she kept the wedding picture, was very awkward when he visited with his new gf but mil informed us that until he was remarried and she could replace picture with a new wedding picture it would stay on the wall.
I have been split with him for 12 years and am soon to be remarried but I have heard that my face is still on that wall eventhough they hate me!

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