Grandma wants to see her grandsons
Dear Amy: I have four adult children and three grandchildren. They all live 21/2 hours away and have very successful lives. My husband and I couldn’t be prouder. The problem is our daughter-in-law, who wants nothing to do with us. She is the mother of our only grandchildren. She refuses to visit, especially on the holidays. When we visit, she is pleasant but seems to barely tolerate us.
We want to see more of our grandsons, but we are not permitted to babysit. If I ask to take them to the park, etc., she ignores me, hoping I will let it go (which I do to keep the peace).
I have spent many a sleepless night trying to figure out what I have done to her and cannot think of a thing.
Honestly, in the 10 years they have been married, I have never said a mean word or offered advice, even with new babies.
I say nothing to my son. I know he sees her treatment of us and feels guilty, but fighting about it isn’t worth it to him.
I agree that his wife has to come first, but we’re not sure if our other three children plan on having kids, so these may be our only grandchildren.
The boys love to see us, and I have heard the oldest asking if he can go home with Grandma and Grandpa. Mom always says no!
We just came home from a visit, and it was worse than ever. I am depressed over the situation and do not know what to do.
Anxious Grandma Anxious Grandma: You have kept silent to keep the peace, but this doesn’t really seem like peace so much as a cold war. You have nothing to lose at this point, and so I hope you and your husband will be brave enough to have a conversation with your son and daughter-in-law, respectfully asking them whether there is a specific reason they seem so hesitant to let you play a larger role in the lives of their children.
You might want to draft an email where you say, “We notice that when it comes to the kids, you seem hesitant about letting us spend very much alone time with them. We’d love to be more involved in their lives and hope you can help us to find ways to do that. If there is something you think we need to do differently, please let us know. We are absolutely bananas about the boys and want to be closer to all of you.”
You are trying. Good for you. Amy’s column appears seven days a week at washingtonpost.com/advice. Write to email@example.com or Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency, 16650 Westgrove Dr., Suite 175, Addison, Tex. 75001. You can also follow her @askingamy.