Dear Annie: I am hurt that my children and grandchildren do not include me when they have family get-togethers. They say they would have to clean their houses if I came, or they don’t know when I am available. They expect me to call when I want to see them. They swear they aren’t upset with me, but they never initiate a call. When I invite them to my house, the conversation revolves around recent outings and get-togethers at their homes to which I haven’t been invited.
I have taken my grandchildren on many vacations over the years, but they are teenagers now and too busy. They don’t want to go unless I include their friends, which I cannot afford. I recently decided not to call them and have had no contact in more than three weeks. Should I just go on without them in my life?
— Hurt in Florida
Dear Hurt: We agree that their excuses seem flimsy, but they do not need to include you in every get-together or outing. It’s perfectly OK for them to have these events with just their spouses and kids. You also know teenagers tend to be busy and that family obligations are not high on their list of priorities. We don’t believe anyone is being intentionally hurtful.
We hope you will continue to call, email and invite them over. You don’t need to take the kids on expensive vacations, but a special few hours with Grandma a couple of times a year — dinner at a nice restaurant or watching their favorite rock band together — would be lovely and help cement the bond. Think of ways to make the relationship warmer, instead of focusing on your hurt feelings and blaming them because you aren’t closer.
Dear Annie: Please tell your older readers that if they can no longer afford to maintain their home, they should sell it and get an apartment or move into a senior residence, instead of trying to hang on so they will have something to leave the kids.
I am tired of spending every vacation at my mother-in-law’s house so my husband can remodel, spending our hard-earned cash because she expects him to foot the bill for tools and materials.
She has other children, but they do nothing. When we suggest she move, she says, “I want to leave the house to my kids when I die.” Annie, the only “kid” who will benefit is the daughter who lives on the property rent-free. The others have no desire to move back into the old homestead. It is nothing but a financial and physical burden. If she really cared about her kids, she would sell it and move into an apartment.
— Want a Real Vacation
Dear Want: A lot depends on what Mom’s will says about the dispensation of the property. Still, it is up to your husband to decide whether he wants to continue putting in the effort. We hope you will be supportive of his decision. It is harder for parents to move than you might think. Mom’s reluctance to sell may be less about her kids than it is about her anxieties.
Dear Annie: I have a suggestion for “Your Private Pool Owner,” who complained of people assuming an open invitation to swim.
When I was a child, a neighbor used this system: He posted a pennant when the pool was available. Green signaled adult supervision would be provided, and blue meant children had to be accompanied by a responsible adult. We children kept a close eye on that flagpole all summer long.
— Susan in Baton Rouge
Dear Susan: We wish the adults would be as conscientious as the children.
Dear Readers: Don’t forget to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms when you set your clocks back one hour.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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