Dear Annie: I would like to reply to “Arizona Grandparents,” whose daughter won’t allow them to see their grandchild. They asked whether it will ever get better.
My granddaughter was 6 when my son and his wife divorced and I was no longer allowed to see her. I continued to send her a card and money on every birthday and at Christmas. I never heard back and had no idea whether she received them. Her other grandmother kept me informed from time to time and even sent me her 5th grade picture. When she was 14, my granddaughter wrote me a nice letter. I was ecstatic! I wrote her back, but heard nothing.
I had no money for a lawyer and didn’t want to do anything that would put me completely out of contact. My son lived halfway across the country. When my granddaughter was 17, my son found her Facebook page. After her 18th birthday, I called her, and she was happy to hear from me. She lived only two hours away. We met at a central location and had a wonderful reunion. Since then, we’ve been in regular contact. She is now 23, married and expecting her first child.
So, Arizona Grandma, don’t give up. Just do what you can, and hopefully your story will end as happily as mine.
— A Happy Grandma
Dear Grandma: We heard from many grandparents, most of whom had happy endings. Read on:
From Indiana: For two years, I did not get to see my grandson. During that time, I did a lot of praying and crying. For his birthday and Christmas, I would leave his presents on his front porch. One day I got a phone call, and my son invited me to come over, saying, “It’s time you got to know your grandson.” Our first visit lasted three hours. On the way home, I did a lot of praising God and crying. I now get to see him a couple of times a week. He calls me Grandma. I have him in my life now, and we will continue to move forward and not dwell on the past.
Florida: We have not seen our granddaughter in three years. My husband and I live 10 minutes away, but aren’t allowed to visit. At one point, my son wished me dead. I send cards and presents, but I don’t know whether they give these things to her or tell her they are from us. My friends say to wait until she is older. But she’s only 10 now, so I may not be around when she’s older. This is all over a stupid disagreement (with his brother) that we are paying for. I have three other grandchildren who miss their cousin. I have apologized and am willing to see her on their terms if only they would communicate with me. Maybe they’ll read this.
Illinois: Nine years ago, my oldest grandson called and told me not to contact him again. I could tell he was being coached by his mother, my son’s ex-wife. One winter day early last year, my grandson and his mother stopped by my house unannounced. I was surprised and happy. It turns out my grandson had contacted my son (his father). Now he calls me Grandma, and we see him every once in a while. He’ll be 22 this week, and I hope to celebrate with him. Miracles do happen.
Indiana: Your response to “Arizona Grandparents” was right on. My husband and I have had to deal with the same type of mean-spirited behavior from our eldest daughter. Tell them to keep in touch with their 7-year-old granddaughter with cards for her birthday, Christmas gifts and acknowledgments of the important times in her life. Our grandson is now 22 and in the Navy, and we get to chat and see him when he comes home. It does hurt when you are cut off, but in time, it can turn out OK. Please tell them there is always hope. They are not alone.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], 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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