Dear Annie: I am 67 and divorced. I raised two daughters and a son essentially on my own while I worked full time as a registered nurse and provided a decent, middle-class home for my children.
The youngest had issues about almost anything. I got her therapy, along with family therapy. She loved her father but barely tolerated me. Babysitters quit. School called.
I tried my best to do everything I could. Basically, she did only what she wanted.
My oldest daughter ended up pregnant and dropped out of school at 16. She requested to be emancipated so she could marry the man who was the father, and he was 10 years older than her.
The youngest was friends with another family and they wanted to adopt her at 16. We had a long conversation, very calm, and she truly wanted this. By this time, my physician felt it was best for her and for me.
My son is the middle child, and he is kind and thoughtful. He needed some special help with school due to a hearing anomaly. He is now 40 and the only one who speaks to me.
I have six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Only three of the grandchildren speak to me. My son and his wife — his second — have a 7-year-old daughter.
I have babysat but never can take the child off their property. But they won’t say why. The other grannie assists with everything.
I have never harmed anyone. I am an intelligent, trustworthy and pleasant person. I have lived alone for past three years, and I have been to therapy.
It is hard to look at the other granny’s lovely photos of them on Facebook, like for Grandparents Day at school. I understand my daughter-in-law is close to her mom, and we are friends, but I am feeling shut out.
— Hurting Granny
Dear Hurting Granny: Instead of hurting, why not focus on what you do have? You get to go over and spend time with your granddaughter.
Obviously something happened if your daughters still won’t speak to you and neither will three of your grandchildren.
Regardless of what happened in the past, just try to enjoy the time you have with your granddaughter.
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Dear Annie: I just read your response to “Lost Son,” about the mother whose 30-year-old son has stopped talking with his mother.
While there is a possibility this son is in a toxic relationship, have you also considered that maybe the mother has inflicted trauma on her son that she doesn’t believe affected him or wants to fess up to?
I am married to a “Lost Son” who through the years has stopped contacting his mother due to the abuse she denies ever happened.
When I met him, he said he was close to his mom but at the same time would pace back and forth and show signs that maybe something had happened between them. Over the years he expressed the absolute hurt he had from his childhood because of his mom.
Anytime he has tried to talk with her about the awful things she did to him as a child, she would gaslight him and tell him it never happened.
Sometimes abusers don’t want to admit they hurt their child as much as they did, leading to the child, in their adult life, to cut the parent (or person) off as they process the hurt.
I don’t know this situation or these people but just thought I’d put this into another context, as I’m sure my mother-in-law probably feels similar to me as this woman feels about her son’s significant other.
— Married to a Lost Son
Dear Married to a Lost Son: Thank you for your letter. I always love hearing from different perspectives.