The Hamilton Spectator

Younger granddaugh­ter appears overlooked

- LISI TESHER ELLIE TESHER AND LISI TESHER ARE ADVICE COLUMNISTS FOR THE STAR AND BASED IN TORONTO. SEND YOUR RELATIONSH­IP QUESTIONS VIA EMAIL: ELLIE@THESTAR.CA OR LISI@THESTAR.CA.

One of my granddaugh­ters is a top-notch basketball player; she even goes to a special school that allows her time to train with a coach. She practices seven days a week and is often away on training programs, for tournament­s and special events. Her mother, my daughter-in-law, has had to take a leave of absence from her work because of how much time she needs to be out of town with her daughter.

My son, the girl’s father, loves that his daughter is an athlete and is happy to pay for everything she needs, including travel and her special private school. And my granddaugh­ter is grateful for all that she’s given. She’s a hard worker, very smart, does extremely well academical­ly and is an all-around lovely child.

The only person suffering here is her little sister, and I’m worried about her. She’s totally nonathleti­c, kind of clumsy and slightly overweight. She’s a quiet child, bookish and very good at art. But I think she gets lost in the hustle and bustle of her sister’s comings and goings.

She’s loved by all, that’s not an issue, I just think she gets overlooked. How can I help? I certainly don’t want to overstep.

Loving Grandma

You’re very thoughtful to notice that your younger granddaugh­ter is getting lost in the shuffle. However, you can bet her parents won’t hear that as thoughtful. Rather, they’ll hear it as judgmental, and if there is any truth to it, they’ll become defensive. So tread carefully.

What can you do? Find an after school or weekend art class that you think your granddaugh­ter would enjoy and offer to take her there on a weekly basis. If possible, offer to pick her up from school one day a week and do something fun with her. These days it takes a village for a family to run smoothly.

According to Stats Canada, 70 per cent of families are dual income. So getting kids to and from school, activities and any other extracurri­culars takes planning and helpful friends and relatives.

Your extra efforts with your granddaugh­ter will be helpful, won’t go unnoticed, but are also not out of the ordinary.

My twin sister and I are in our last year at the same university. We are identical in appearance, but very different in so many ways. I am very sporty, she’s more sedentary. I have lots of friends; she has a few besties. We have different majors, but we are both soon graduating with honours and heading off to start our profession­al lives.

I found a job in a big city near our hometown in hopes of meeting new people, branching out and having an experience. I told my sister all about it. Now she’s told me that she also found a job — in a completely different industry — in the same city. On the one hand, I’m happy for her. But on the other, I’m annoyed that she’s following me.

Couldn’t she have gone somewhere else? Twinned out

Yes, she could have gone somewhere else. But she chose to be near you. You may feel that you need a break, but she clearly feels the need to be close. Being in the same city doesn’t mean you have to live together, or even see each other regularly.

Show your sister some love, support and generosity of spirit. You’re clearly more independen­t than she is, and you sound stronger. Give her some of your strength by being there for her when she needs you.

According to Psychology Today, twins share a primary attachment that is irreplacea­ble. For many twins, comfort can be found in physical proximity. Your sister needs you to feel safe and secure. Give that to her.

Reader’s Commentary “You throw around the therapist idea too freely. Not everyone can afford that. How do you think you make people feel who can't afford it but need it when you say, essentiall­y: 'Just talk to a therapist and your problems will magically disappear.'

“It doesn't always work like that. I'm lucky enough to be able to afford therapy and it hasn't done squat over the years. It's a total waste of money most people don't even have.”

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