Dear Annie: Six years ago, our son married a woman with a 4-year-old daughter. We immediately fell in love with this little girl. There is no biological father in the picture, and her maternal grandparents live out of state. We have always told her that we consider her to be our granddaughter, with everyone's blessing.
This will be the second year that my husband and I have not been invited to her birthday party. Over the years, we have tried to do special things for her, such as outings, new clothes, toys and books, just as if we were her grandparents by blood. She never calls us "Grandma" or "Grandpa," but her parents say she refers to us as her grandparents to others. Our son was also given a birthday party by our daughter-in-law, and we were not invited to even stop by.
I don't know why we are being left out of these celebrations and we are incredibly hurt. We spend other holidays together, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we are always very generous in contributing toward those times. We also help them if they run short of money.
If relations were strained, I could understand, but we always seem to have a great time together, both alone with our granddaughter and with the entire family. Please tell us what to do. And if we just need to accept this, how can we get over the pain so that it won't jeopardize our future relationship? -- Unhappy Grandparents
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Dear Unhappy: This girl is now 10 years old. It may come as a surprise to you, but most kids stop including adults in their birthday parties around the age of 7, if not sooner. They want parties with their school friends. Some kids include the grandparents, but many do not. It is perfectly normal and not a reason to be hurt. Also, it could be one way your daughter-in-law chooses not to upset her own parents, who live too far away to attend. A similar dynamic applies to your son's birthday. He wants a party with friends, and as much as he loves his parents, it doesn't mean you fit in to such a gathering.
Please think of this differently. It is not intended to be hurtful. Instead, ask to take your granddaughter out for a special outing to celebrate her birthday. (P.S.: What she calls you is not important if the relationship is good.)
Dear Annie: "Frustrated Wife's" husband is being stalked by his ex-mistress. You suggested an order of protection. I say her emails are considered cyber stalking. All of the emails should be placed in a file. All of the notes left on his car should also be kept as evidence of stalking.
He should inform his former mistress that he is collecting this evidence and will proceed with legal action if she does not stop. I've been there, done that, and it worked. -- Mississippi Lady
Dear Mississippi: Several readers pointed out that the ex-mistress is guilty of stalking and all notes should be kept as evidence. We agree. But we also hope the husband is not tacitly encouraging this behavior. That is unfortunately too often the case when the wife can't understand why the mistress won't go away.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com, 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.
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