Annie's Mailbox: Keep things positive with distant son
Dear Annie: We raised our son in the Midwest, and paid for his tuition to follow his dream to go to an Ivy League college where he met his future wife. Now that he is married, he lives in a large east coast city and is surrounded by his wife’s family. We barely hear from him.
Our son and his wife go on luxury vacations with her family and spend time with them at the holidays. On those rare occasions when we do see him, he is not particularly nice. This has caused some problems between my husband and me, because he accepts the reality of the situation better than I do.
I am truly heartbroken. This was a little boy that I adored. I never imagined that the later chapters of his life would cause me so much sadness. I have no idea what to do and instead try very hard to keep him out of my thoughts.
How is it possible that boys raised in loving homes can so easily leave them behind? Any suggestions? – Mom of Three
Dear Mom: It is terribly sad, but not uncommon, for young men to marry women who discourage closeness with the husband’s family. And based on your son’s reaction, he has grown accustomed to it and may even prefer it that way. There is no point crying over it or criticizing your son repeatedly because he doesn’t spend more time with you. This will only make every interaction unpleasant and reinforce the same behavior.
Here are our suggestions: All conversation should be positive. Ask about his wife and children with genuine interest and caring. Keep your jealousy in check. Send short, newsy emails, so your son doesn’t feel distant from his family. Get involved in local organizations and activities to fill your hours with interesting things and have something to talk about with your son that doesn’t involve your constant disappointment. If you can afford it, visit him periodically, without expecting him to entertain you. Surely there are things to do – museums, plays, walking tours – and you can try to meet up for lunch or dinner. And please make a real effort to concentrate on your other children and the things that make you happy.
Dear Annie: My beautiful 20-year-old granddaughter loves her motorcycle. She is a sophomore in college, with a full-time job, both of which are now on hold. Monday night, she was riding to see her boyfriend, when a guy made a sudden U-turn. He hit her, tossing her like a rag doll over the handlebars. She’s currently undergoing her second of multiple surgeries. She has two broken wrists, a broken elbow, a fractured pelvis and a fractured femur. It will be three months before she can stand.
I know accidents happen. But please tell your readers to be careful. She shouldn’t have to pay such a high price for someone’s negligence. She has wonderful family and friends for support, which is a blessing. This will be hard to handle, but we will all make it through this difficult time. – California
Dear California: We are so sorry to hear about your granddaughter’s accident. She is fortunate to have such a loving family to help her get back on her feet. Your letter is a reminder to all drivers to pay attention to their surroundings at all times.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.