My heart stopped when I saw what my mother-in-law had done to my son on his second birthday.

Claudia is a carefree mother who just wants the best for her son. However, her mother-in-law is an orthodox, rigid woman who demands the last word. When Claudia returns from leaving her mother-in-law with her son Jackson, she is appalled by what she finds.

It never occurred to me that the woman who brought up my husband could be so harsh.

And yet, there she was, my mother-in-law Judith, grinning.

My mother-in-law and I had never had the best of relationships. She was an extremely conservative woman who expected complete subservience from her family and firmly believed in conventional gender roles.

Harvey, my husband, once told me that his mother had discovered him playing with his sister’s dolls and had thrown them out.

“I think I was about a year old,” he remarked. But she has always been that strict. If I’m being really honest, it’s quite ludicrous.

I wouldn’t submit to anyone’s whims, unlike her family, especially when it came to my values and my kin.

Judith and I had many, acrimonious arguments over the years, but we had always managed to keep things polite.

However, I pressed Harvey after my son Jackson was born.

I said, “She can be as present as she wants to be.” However, she won’t advise me on how to raise our son.

Harvey concurred, and we carried on raising our child according to our own standards, free from any antiquated notions of what “traditional” manhood meant.

Now, Judith was unable to tolerate my daring to question the matriarch’s beliefs, but she made an effort for Harvey and Jackson’s sake. But she never shied away from telling me how she felt about me.

And that was fine with me. I was stronger than that.

On my son’s second birthday, though, nothing could have prepared me for what she did.

Harvey and I came to the decision that we could always celebrate our children’s birthdays by throwing them a party.

Thus, we invited our families to a party we threw for Jackson’s second birthday at home.

Judith detested my son’s hair, but she still loved him.

A few weeks before the birthday, she said, “Long hair is for girls, Claudia.”

“You must chop it off. Jackson is not a famous person’s child. They make peculiar choices for their offspring.

I said, “I will not do such a thing.” Jackson’s hair looked great just the way it was.

My little boy’s golden locks were dancing around his face as he wore a superhero outfit.

Judith entered our house while gripping a gift bag.

“That’s for later,” she remarked. “I’ll display it following the cake.”

When Jackson’s birthday celebration started, the house was taken over by toddlers. My son shone as brightly as the sun when it came time to sing and cut the cake.

Judith responded, “Claudia,” once we had fed every child. “May I please have some tea and a piece of cake?”

Since she had behaved herself admirably, I was unable to say no. Jackson was enjoying a piece of his birthday cake while perched on his lap, his fingers dripping with frosting, when I left him.

However, when I turned to face the scene that broke my heart into a million pieces, I was carrying the cake out for her.

Jackson’s grandmother’s hand had cut the golden hair that had framed his face moments earlier, and they were now strewn all over the floor. The present bag, which I assumed contained the scissors she had used, was lying at her feet.

As she studied her creation, I was unable to understand the hatred that was shining in her eyes.

She gestured for him to get off her lap, saying, “There.”

“What actions did you take?” With the cake tumbling out of my grasp, I demanded.

She declared, her voice brimming with pretended innocence, “I’m just playing.” “It will regrow.” Give him the experience of having short hair as a boy.

“Leave!” I cried out.

It’s not that significant. It will regrow. Claudia, get over it,” she growled.

Not very important? Before I call the police, leave the area! I let out a cry.

Harvey had been amusing some of the other parents on the porch when he ran in.

“Claudia, what took place?”

I didn’t have to say anything because Harvey immediately became enraged after taking in the scene.

And Harvey faced his mother with an intensity that allowed no possibility of compromise or reconciliation for the first time since we’d been married.

“Mom, get out now. And don’t expect to be welcomed back into our home,” he said in a low growl that was now brimming with treachery and rage instead of the usual soft tone.

Reiterating that Jackson’s hair will come back and that it wouldn’t be a huge problem, Judith attempted to defend her conduct. However, we were aware that this was only the start of a conflict with Judith, one that we had never requested.

Jackson appeared OK, but he kept putting his hands to his head, as though he was attempting to feel for his curls once more.

Holding our boy close, Harvey and I vowed to keep him safe from danger. However, the damage was already done because Judith had acted independently.

Harvey’s father and sister retaliated, saying we had insulted and injured Judith over petty differences. But we also understood that we had to maintain the integrity of our family and remain firm for our son.

If you were in my position, how would you respond?

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