Dear Annie: Son and family don’t bring anything to dinner
Dear Annie: My wife and I are both retired seniors. We sold our house and moved to the town where our son, daughter-in-law and grandson live. My wife loves to take the little guy swimming and do many other activities with him. Every Sunday, we have a family dinner at our home. They come with much joy, and we all have a great time together.
My question is about the fact that they never bring anything, such as a bottle of wine, and they have never invited us out to dinner or to have dinner at their home. Are my expectations wrong, or did we simply miss the boat with our son’s 42-year upbringing? I would never have visited my mother without the thought of taking her out for dinner or at least bringing her some flowers. — Saddened
Dear Saddened: I’m not sure you have much to be sad about. Congratulations on your grandson and the fact that your son and daughter-in-law want to have family dinner with you every Sunday night. That is lovely. Grandparents and family dinners are such a gift. And you said that they come with joy. Wow, that is amazing!
As far as their bringing something or taking you out to dinner goes, you should have an honest conversation with your son about it and suggest that you go over to his house next week. But if he hesitates, he must have his reasons, and you should accept that. Above all else, you don’t want to upset your happy Sunday family dinners.
Dear Annie: I just read the letter from “Disappointed In-Law.” Even though I love my children, including their spouses, and grandchildren more than anything in the world, I may be that in-law who doesn’t ask them questions. I used to ask questions but too often got the impression that I wasn’t doing it right, that I was being too nosy or insensitive or needy. When I asked how I could do better, I was reprimanded for making them uncomfortable by asking. I know they are good kids, and I dearly love them, so I try my best to pay attention and figure out how to do better. It is painful, though, to feel so judged and shut out of their lives. I remind myself they are doing their best, too.
Maybe “Disappointed In-Law” could try saying something like, “Would you like to hear about (blank)?” That way, she could see whether some kind of social awkwardness is getting in the way of better communication. I would be in heaven to hear about anything my kids want to tell me. — Trying
Dear Trying: I commend you for trying. That really is all we can do — try our best with people through open and honest communication and love.
Dear Annie: I just want to say that your response to “Crushing Friend” was spot on. I have been in the same situation for a few months. I have a crush on a friend whom I recently got back in touch with, and it’s been hard to keep those feelings in check. It’s true that one way or another, feelings are going to come out. I just recently told my friend how I feel about her. It feels good to be able to tell her, yet at the same time, it’s hard, so I just wanted to say thank you for your advice. It really helped me to see that I shouldn’t feel bad for expressing how I feel. — Hesitant at First
Dear Hesitant: Congratulations for having the courage to express your feelings.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.