Dear Annie: I am a very loving mother of two adult daughters. "Jane" has a child with her ex and another with her current husband. "Cindy" is married with one child and one on the way.
At first, things with Jane were great. We helped them furnish their house with all new appliances, and also helped financially when they asked. Three years ago, we had a falling out and now Jane doesn't call, text, email, nothing. When we see each other in public, she is civil, but otherwise, treats me as if as if I were dead. We are not allowed to see our grandchildren, although our ex-son-in-law allows us to see the one grandchild when he has visitation.
Cindy, who also receives financial help when she asks, lets me see my grandchild only once a month for four hours. She sometimes allows me to Skype, but no more than once a week, if I'm lucky. When she had a miscarriage a few years ago, I tried my very best to console her, but she wouldn't let me near her for two weeks. Others were allowed to be there, but not her own mother. She won't let me talk to her about her current pregnancy.
I want to be a part of their lives, but we can't get past this silence. I have offered to pay for counseling, but they refuse. I have asked, begged and pleaded for one-on-one time, to no avail. What hurts the most is that I don't even know why they are angry with me. Any advice would be so gratefully appreciated. -- A Loving, Crushed Mother
Dear Mother: Your daughters may not be angry. They may be trying to create some space between your life and theirs, and don't know how to do it in a more loving fashion. Or their husbands may have objected to your presence. And if your daughters are close, they may be feeding on each other's grievances.
It will do you no good to keep pounding at this. Back off. You also can stop loaning them money if you choose. You don't owe it to them and it obviously doesn't influence their level of affection. Enjoy the time you do get to spend with the grandchildren, and fill your hours with other activities that bring you pleasure. Counseling for yourself may help you accept this, and we hope your daughters will come to appreciate you again soon.
Dear Annie: You've printed several letters from parents and grandparents complaining that they never receive a thank-you note.
My mother-in-law was also disappointed that one of her grandsons never acknowledged the checks she sent for birthdays and Christmas. To change the situation, she sent a card mentioning the enclosed check, but she didn't actually enclose it. The grandson promptly called to thank her, and also to say that she'd apparently forgotten to put the check in the envelope. -- J.
Dear J.: Your mother-in-law sounds like a very clever woman.
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