Grandparents’ proximity may breed contempt
Dear Amy: My 46-yearold daughter, “Janet,” has had a difficult life. One of her children was born with a severe illness. It was traumatic for all of us to care for this child during the years that she clung to life. Janet suffered most of all, forced to leave behind a very promising career as she stayed home to give her child round-the-clock nursing care.
My husband and I desperately fought to move the 1,000 miles to be close to them to answer their call for help, but the Great Recession made it impossible for us to sell our house. The best we could do was to make two- and threeweek trips every couple of months. We worked on many projects to make their living circumstances better, and helped with their two other children.
Fast-forward 14 years. We were finally able to sell our house in order to move a few miles from them. We were shocked to find out Janet had told others she hoped we wouldn’t relocate near her. She refuses to discuss this with me.
She might worry that we would be too domineering. When she was a child, we often had to twist her arm to get her to sign up for art classes or go away to camp. Apparently, this was too much. It is true that we have strong opinions, but we have always respected the decisions Janet and her husband have made.
Although we treat them like the adults they are, apparently, they can’t help but feel like the children they used to be.
Their enduring grief complicates everything.
Meanwhile, all the wariness has spilled onto our two grandchildren, denying us closeness.
Is there anything to be done?
— Grieving Grandma
Dear Grandma: Yes, you can change. If you have been too domineering or opinionated in the past, you should stop being that way, now.
You should develop your own interests and friendships. Attend your grandkids’ school events, but don’t twist their arms to do things you want them to do. Get to know them on their terms.
Even though you have been very involved in the life of this family, I venture that you really have no idea of what they have been through. Do your best to be a humble, supportive and positive presence.
Dear Amy: Iama 20-year-old woman with little interest in fashion or makeup. I love a pretty dress and hairdo from time to time, but ever since the pandemic began, I haven’t felt the want or need to wear makeup or dress up.
My wardrobe mainly consists of jeans, T-shirts and hoodies. That’s my style, and I feel comfortable with it.
My two closest friends are very into clothes and fashion. I think that they both have great personal style. However, they often try to get me interested and urge me to change my style. Offers to give me a makeover started as fun and casual, but now these continued offers irritate me.
When we’re taking photos, they’ll say things like, “Take your hair down!” or “Take your sweatshirt off. Come on, look cute.” This has been getting on my nerves, and I can’t help but take these comments as insults, like they think my appearance needs changing.
How do I convey my feelings to them without causing a stir? Am I simply being oversensitive?
— Unfashionable and Unhappy
Your friends are behaving like two lovely little bullies.
I suggest that you pull up your hoodie and be brave enough to cause a stir.
During your next group Instagram session, play up your anti-style and have some fun. Tell them, as many times as it takes: “I think you two would look great in jeans and tees. But I accept that you like the way you look. I do, too. It’s your style. But Imma be me. So please, stop trying to force me to be different than I am.”
Thank you for suggesting that “Concerned Daughter” turn to her mother’s physician for support to have her mother stop driving.
I have had this tough conversation with many of my elder patients. I see it as my duty to continue to take care of them and offer them accurate and honest recommendations, even when it is hard to do so.
Dear GP: Thank you so much for this supportive response.