The Hamilton Spectator
What happened to saying ‘thank you’?
Q I have two grandchildren in another province. Actually, children of my stepchildren. Have not seen them for many years. One is 30, the other 16.
I have sent them money for Christmas and birthdays and get thank yous then but I never hear from them in-between. The older one sometimes remembers my birthday with an email.
This Christmas, I decided to send jigsaw puzzles. Never heard from either of them. Then got a small gift from the mother of one. I sent a thank-you email. She responded and told me they had no patience or space for puzzles.
Is this the new norm? If you don’t like a gift, you don’t thank the giver? The next birthday comes up in a few months. I feel that sending an email or an e-card would be enough, or maybe forget altogether?
I am in my early 80s. Am I just too old to understand the mores of today’s world?
Fed up grannie
A Grannie, you are not in the wrong; your step-grandchildren and their parents are. You are not too old to understand anything. That is NOT the new norm; that is rude, disrespectful and ungrateful. When someone sends a gift, you thank them. Period.
In this case, the mom could have regifted the puzzle and you would never have known. You live in different provinces. No, her response was rude and unnecessary.
Moving forward, do what feels right for you. If you don’t want to reach out, don’t. If you want to send an email or e-card, go right ahead. But don’t waste your time and money sending any more gifts.
Q My husband never leaves our house. Years ago, when the children were little, no one was ever home. We used to joke how the house would miss us during the day.
Then he quit his job, went out on his own and started working from home. I didn’t mind as he has an independent home office where he can shut himself off from the rest of the house. The kids were still young enough that I was busy with them before school, at lunch and after school. So we weren’t in each other’s hair.
Fast forward to the pandemic when everyone was home. We tried to make the most of it. Fortunately, our house is big enough to accommodate everyone working from their bedrooms, and our communal space was still left for recreation and relaxing. But my husband thought he could jump in on the lunchtime activity.
Since there was nowhere for me to go anyway, I was happy to make my kids lunch. It lasted almost two hours because of their schedules, but gave me the chance to check in on each one and have some private time. I made enough food for my husband to have, but I’m not a restaurant or a waitress.
We got through that and, thankfully, the world has opened up once more and we can all live life as normally as we used to. Not my husband — he refuses to leave the house. Ever. I need my space and some privacy. How can I get him to just go outside for a walk?
A If he’s seriously never going outside, you have a bigger problem on your hands than your privacy. He could simply be a homebody, or he could have agoraphobia. Either way, he’d benefit from some professional guidance. I say that because even if he’s just a homebody, his behaviour is having a negative effect on your relationship and you’ll want to seek some form of couples therapy if change doesn’t occur.