Every woman aspiring to marry hopes to find loving in-laws because there are enough horror stories about them. However, Lilly didn’t anticipate that she could find favour in her partner’s family and struggle to get it from her partner.
Lilly and Tony’s story started with epic highs. They loved each other, enjoyed spending time together and had many plans. Their relationship fascinated Tony’s family because they had never seen him that happy. He had a playfulness that they hadn’t seen since his teen years.
Lilly blended with Tony’s family quite well. She came from a large family and was the only girl in a family of five children, so Tony’s large family felt like an extension of hers. Tony’s mother and sisters loved her because she was easy to talk to and helped around the house. When Tony’s mother was in the hospital for a week, Lilly was there every evening regardless of Tony’s presence.
The family’s joy came as no surprise when she got pregnant. This was also the turning point of her relationship with Tony.
When they found out Lilly was with child, her family demanded that Tony declare his intentions as the culture dictated. Tony’s family agreed that it was the right thing to do. The plans for the first meeting between the families commenced. Lilly noticed Tony didn’t seem enthusiastic about the meeting, so she inquired further.
“Tony, is everything okay?” Lilly asked him.
“Yes, why wouldn’t it be? I’m about to become a father and a husband,” Tony said.
“Why are you using that tone?”
“I don’t know how to be either. It’s not like I saw my father be good at any of them,” Tony said, looking defeated.
“You don’t have to be your father, my love. We’ll figure it out together,” Lilly told him. It seemed to put him at ease but just for a while.
The meeting between the families happened, and it went well. They agreed that since the couple was still young, they would proceed with the other arrangements after the child’s birth. However, Lilly and Tony’s relationship took a turn as the pregnancy progressed. Tony became distant. He started missing clinics and would go binge drinking for days without communicating.
Tony’s behaviour stressed out Lilly. She sought help from Tony’s family when all attempts to communicate with him failed. Eventually, Lilly’s mother asked her to move back home because the situation wasn’t conducive to the pregnancy. The baby’s birth date was nearing, and Tony was still aloof. He would call or text to profess his love for Lilly and the child, then disappear for days. When asked about his plans for the birth, he would tell her that he was still working on it.
Lilly’s mother got fed up with Tony’s behaviour and decided to take matters into her own hands. She cautioned Lilly against naming the child after Tony’s family while he was noncommittal. Lilly tried defending him and even argued that it would cause confusion later when they settled down together.
“My child, I would like to be wrong but this man will disappoint you,” Lilly’s mother said.
“Mum, he’s just scared about being a father. He didn’t have a good role model,” Lilly argued.
“You’ve never been a mother before but I don’t see you behaving the way he is. Nobody is born ready to be a parent, we’ve all figured it out along the way,” said Lilly’s mother.
Unable to defend Tony, Lilly agreed it was best not to name the child after his side, but she didn’t tell him. When her water broke, she informed him, but he made an excuse about a relative in the hospital, so he was looking after him and couldn’t attend his son’s birth. It also came as no surprise when he didn’t contribute to the hospital bill.
While Tony was acting up, his mother communicated with Lilly frequently and even sent her money for the baby’s expenses. A few weeks later, Tony showed up with diapers and a few clothes for the baby, but it was clear that he was coming under the instructions of his family.
Within the same period, Tony’s eldest brother passed away. Lilly, who was still in love with Tony, went to condole them. Tony’s mother shed a tear when hugging her. She travelled with the son since he was still breastfeeding. It gave the family a chance to meet the child, and that was when they learnt that he hadn’t been named after Tony’s dad. They, however, didn’t throw a fit because they disapproved of Tony’s behaviour.
While there, Tony behaved like the model partner. He proudly introduced them as his family. In private, he apologized to Lilly and promised to do better. A hopeful Lilly prayed that he would keep his word. After the funeral, she went back to her parent’s home. Tony’s mother gave her many gifts to take home. Her family had disagreed with her about the trip to Tony’s home, but they couldn’t stop her. She came back excited at the prospect of working out things with Tony, but nobody shared her optimism.
For about a month, Tony checks on them daily. He video-called her frequently and looked invested but never went physically or sent financial help unless she asked. The arrangement wasn’t sustainable, and Lilly was getting tired of waiting for him to act right. On the other hand, Tony slipped back into his old habits and only popped up every few months to check on them. Meanwhile, his sisters communicated regularly with Lilly.
A year into the dance, Lilly finally gave up on Tony changing. She informed them of her decision because she respected his mother and family. They couldn’t defend him any longer but asked that she gave them access to her son when the time was right. Even after everything that had transpired, Tony kept making promises to change and desire to be in his son’s life, but it was all talk, no action.
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