AliBeeGreat: I want to reach out and give you a giant internet hug. I related to your post and your frustration so much. I am one half of an interracial marriage. My husband is Vietnamese, and I am Caucasian (a mutt-mixture, really … who knows what all is in there! LOL).
Initially, my husband wanted for us to elope and not tell anyone until after we were married. I didn’t understand this at all because his mother had always been polite to me. And I didn’t want to feel like I was hiding anything from anyone. I wanted a wedding with my family around, etc.
Once we were officially engaged, my mother-in-law turned from polite to anything-but. I think she felt like she could be nice until the ring was on the finger. At that point, it was all “real”, and she panicked because a marriage to a non-Vietnamese girl was not what she wanted for her son. Maybe your mother-in-law is going through something simliar? Or maybe she is struggling with the idea of her son getting married and feels as if she will be competing with you?
My husband and I were engaged for five or six years, so a loooong engagement. She spent the bulk of that time trying to talk him out of marrying me. I kind of suspected this, but I only recently had it confirmed. She told him all kinds of lies about me. That I was only after his money (which was funny, because he didn’t have any!). That I couldn’t be trusted because I was white. That I was from a poor family (this is true), so I would never fit in with him or his friends (this is not true). That I could never better myself. That I would be a horrible mother. That I would divorce him and take his kids away (also funny, because we had no kids at the time). I don’t even remember what all else she told him. Basically, if she could think up something mean to say about me, she did. For years and years and years, all the while sort of smiling to my face.
When we finally set a wedding date, she accepted it enough that she came to the ceremony. She made sure all the family arrived on time, and she even came ahead of time to visit with my mom and help the bridesmaids (one of whom was her daughter) get ready. Also, she wore traditional Vietnamese dress to our wedding. This was a BIG BIG DEAL, and made me wonderfully happy.
Of course, she still said stuff about me behind my back. At this point, I don’t think she could help herself. 16 years into our marriage, I have learned how to ignore her. And how to tell when she is not being sincere. We get along well enough that I welcome her into my home to visit, and I respect her as the grandmother of my child. I will not try to come between her and my husband or her and my child. And I suppose it is true that I am concerned for her and try to help her for my husband’s sake. But I don’t trust her. And probably never will.