Dear Annie: I have not shared a birthday, holiday or special occasion with my son for the past five years, since he married. He has two children now.
We always have been close, but I’m so sad that my daughter-in-law won’t let me be a grandmother. Their first year of marriage, they alternated holidays and combined our families. When they had their first child, however, “Rhonda” said it was too much, and now all holidays are spent with her family. They are wonderful people, but she is not willing to share her toddlers’ time with her husband’s family, including his siblings.
I do not get the privilege of babysitting or having the kids over to my house for the day. I am not allowed to pick them up or bring them places. I live nearby, but they never stop over. Rhonda is socially immature, and I believe she is naive as well as selfish. She holds all power and control and is judgmental and unkind. She gives every excuse to avoid us. Her family has tried to reason with her, to no avail.
My son is terribly hurt by this and tries his best to include me for a short visit at least once a month. I am grateful, but not satisfied. I am fun-loving, happy, giving, appreciative and accepting. I make the most of whatever time I am allowed. But Rhonda is negative, self-centered and rude and does her best to spoil the visit.
I’ve tried several times to discuss this with her, have prayed and have shared words of wisdom and scripture, but nothing breaks through. My son prefers to avoid a confrontation. Should I also give up?
— Grandmother Missing Out
Dear Grandmother: How sad that Rhonda denies her children the privilege of knowing all of their grandparents. Would your son be willing to bring the kids to your home for a visit without Rhonda? And if you can manage it, consider inviting the entire family, including Rhonda’s folks, to your place now and then. We also recommend you work on ways to warm up the relationship with Rhonda. Surely you can find something to admire about her and keep quiet about the rest. We hope, in time, she will realize that what goes around comes around.
Dear Annie: My husband and I frequently go out to dinner with several other couples. One of the wives is a vegetarian. That’s fine, but she sometimes makes a scene with the server. She argues about the way things are prepared and accuses the waitstaff of lying.
It’s become quite embarrassing, and some of our other friends refuse to go out with her anymore. It recently happened again. My husband and I were mortified when she sent her meal back and accused the waiter of giving her the wrong dish. It ruined our night.
I think we should say something, but my husband thinks it will ruin the friendship. Any suggestions?
— Carnivore in Florida
Dear Carnivore: It is not unheard of for restaurants to prepare vegetarian meals with chicken broth or beef stock without declaring it. However, it is rude to accuse the waitstaff of lying and cause a scene. We recommend you do a search in your area for vegetarian restaurants when socializing with this couple. Otherwise, let them know you won’t be going out to eat with them because it is obviously too stressful.
Dear Readers: Sunday, Dec. 8, is The Compassionate Friends’ Worldwide Candle Lighting in memory of all the children who have died. Please light a candle in the evening at 7 p.m., local time, and remember them with love. For more information, log on to compassionatefriends.org.
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