Dear Annie: My 29-year-old son and his wife have two young children.
My oldest grandson and I were very close.
I babysat, took him swimming, to the park and the library, taught him to ride a bike and accompanied him to Sunday school.
Four years ago, my daughter-in-law, “Amanda,” accused me of talking about her behind her back. This was not true.
She told my son he wasn’t allowed to visit me unless she was present. Then she started complaining about me. Finally, she said my son couldn’t speak to me anymore and I wasn’t allowed to see my grandson. She also cut off my son’s father and stepfather, leaving only her family. My grandson was devastated he couldn’t see his favorite Grammie.
This campaign of hers came at a bad time in my life, as I was going through an amicable but protracted divorce. Friends encouraged me to move back home to North Carolina. I waited a year, but my son never spoke to me or acknowledged my cards and gifts, so I left town. I’ve since had difficulty finding employment and am living with friends.
A year ago, I had triple bypass heart surgery. Without my knowledge, a friend emailed Amanda and begged her to allow my son to speak to me, saying I might not survive the operation. Amanda emailed me directly, saying she spoke to my son about it and they both refuse to speak to me because she and I “didn’t see eye to eye.” I was shocked at their coldhearted cruelty.
Even though I’ve healed from surgery, my heart is still broken. Lately, I’ve been thinking I am better off without them because they must be horrible people to treat me so despicably. Please tell other young women that demanding control over their husbands causes heartache to everyone and will eventually come back to hurt them, as well. — Heartbroken in N.C.
Dear Heartbroken: We agree that what goes around comes around. It’s sad that your daughter-in-law isn’t willing to allow her husband to have a relationship with his family. It’s even sadder that your son permits this.
If you wish to send cards or gifts to your son and grandchildren, continue to do so even if there is no response. You never know what the future holds.
But otherwise, find things in your life that make you happy. Be a surrogate grandmother to others’ grandchildren. Keep active and create a family out of your friends.
Dear Annie: My sister and I are giving my niece a bridal shower. Is it true that you have to give a party favor to each guest who attends?
I’ve never seen this done, but it has been awhile since I’ve been to a shower.
My sister claims it is the new thing, but the shower is costing enough and we are also providing nuts, mints, cake and game gifts.
She also said guests should receive gifts at weddings, too.
I attended two weddings recently and didn’t get a gift. Am I just old-fashioned? — Must Know
Dear Must: Party favours at showers and weddings have become more popular, but are absolutely not mandatory. If the bride insists and you don’t want to go over your budget, try little picture frames (which may also be used as place cards), small wrapped packages of candy or something that ties in with your theme.
Dear Annie: Tell “Ringless” not to place too much emphasis on whether or not her husband wears his wedding ring. Does he wear any other jewelry? I’ve been married for 23 years to a great guy who puts on his wedding ring only for major social events. He doesn’t like jewelry and never has.
If her husband doesn’t like to wear his ring every day, she might ask if he’ll wear it for special occasions. If he is loving in every way, the ring is a minor point. — Also Ringless, But I Know He Loves Me
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column.