Author Topic: Trying so hard to look forward to visits  (Read 953 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Lillycache

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 566
    • View Profile
Trying so hard to look forward to visits
« on: October 15, 2013, 07:18:15 AM »
It's been three years now since DIL and I became completely estranged.  I have been luckier than most in that my son has kept up contact, such as it is, and has brought his kids over to see me a few times a year.   However, as more time goes on, the less I look forward to the visits and the contact.   When he and the kids come for a visit, there is really very little to talk about.  Most of my attempts as conversation are met with one or two words... like.. "fine".... or "Nothing"   I try to engage the kids in conversation about school, friends.. interests.. but get the same answers.   They are 11, 9, and 3. One would think at those ages they would be filled with "news" for grandma.     My son is the same.  He keeps his nose in his Iphone while visiting and I am expected to visit with his kids..  Truth is.. they all bore me now and I usually can't wait for them to leave.   Is that horrible?    I feel like all I'm there for is a meal and presents, as his visits are usually timed around birthdays or holidays..  So they come by.  I cook... I give presents.... they make a mess and leave.  Last time I took them all out to eat.. and it was the same thing. Me trying to make conversation and being stonewalled.

 YET..  on the otherhand..I love my son and his kids and I'm not ready to tell my son to stay away..but I almost dread him calling to say he is coming by.   So I guess this is how this "grandmother" thing is meant to be for me.  It's not a whole lot of fun, and they don't really feel like my family.   Guess DIL has won after all.   Anyone else feel like this... or am I an odd callous old bird?

Offline Lillycache

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 566
    • View Profile
Re: Trying so hard to look forward to visits
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2013, 07:20:45 AM »
Just noticed I posted this in the wrong section.  I meant to put it in the Adult Sons or Daughter section.

Offline jdtm

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 245
    • View Profile
Re: Trying so hard to look forward to visits
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2013, 09:58:46 AM »
Quote
I feel like all I'm there for is a meal and presents, as his visits are usually timed around birthdays or holidays..  So they come by.  I cook... I give presents.... they make a mess and leave.

Quote
It's not a whole lot of fun, and they don't really feel like my family.

Yup, I get this totally.  Our son's wife has remarried and is now our ex-DIL.  She left our son and abandoned her children about five years ago.  He has a new girlfriend (been in the picture for some time now).  It is getting better.  Since the girlfriend also has children, we usually eat in a restaurant - maybe dessert/coffee at our home - (I never know who is coming and who is not - it's easier, not much more expensive, and the dinner out can serve as their "gift").  Actually, we really like her, and at times we have real conversations.  But, it has been a long time coming. 

No advice, but a decade ago, I never would have thought things could be as good as they are right now (and that is only a 4/10 but infinitely better than before).  Totally understand ....  and I don't think of you as an "odd callous old bird".  Perhaps a beautiful songbird with her wings clipped and throat swollen ....

Offline Lillycache

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 566
    • View Profile
Re: Trying so hard to look forward to visits
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2013, 10:13:20 AM »
The thing is that I feel guilty..  So many here would love to see their sons and GKs even a few times a year.   I on the otherhand, just cannot make myself feel all giddy and excited about a visit that feels superficial and meaningless.  Those kids don't feel a relationship with me.  I know they realize I'm a relative, but I'm a distant one at best. I don't see any looks of excitement on their faces as they come up my walk.   Also, i have the feeling that my son is there out of a sense of guilt and obligation.  He sure doesn't seem interested in conversing.  He uses the time to catch up with the Iphone relationships.   Bleh....  I sure don't want to end the visits, but I wish they were better is all.... and I don't know how to make them better.

Offline jdtm

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 245
    • View Profile
Re: Trying so hard to look forward to visits
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2013, 11:28:46 AM »
Quote
I sure don't want to end the visits, but I wish they were better is all.... and I don't know how to make them better.

Maybe you can't.  In our case, visits did not get better until the DIL was out of the picture.  It was as if the children felt "disloyal" if they showed any interest in the paternal side of the family.  One thing I did that helped ease the discomfort was to ask about their mother - in a kind and gentle way.  At first, it took a lot acting, but today I can be sincere and genuinely wish the best for their mother.  I also can genuinely ask about the maternal side of their family and not feel hurt (discomfort at times, but not that deep pain any more).  Our visits still are shorter than those with our younger son's family (it also helped if they are all present at the same time; sometimes other relatives as well).  That way we "saw" each other but really did not interact that much.  Today, we don't need to camouflage our interactions as much as before.

As for the guilt - there may be more guilt on the children's shoulders (and your son's) than yours for even showing an interest in this side of the family.  There sure was in our case - if the mother was near, our grandchildren would literally run from us; not so, when the mother was removed from the situation.  My sister was floored when she saw this behaviour at a community event.  Still, after several years of our DIL not even being part of our family, this behaviour will occasionally surface.  As they say, "old habits die slowly".  I would have given up except my husband insisted that we do not. Today, I'm glad we didn't.

Offline herbalescapes

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 326
    • View Profile
Re: Trying so hard to look forward to visits
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2013, 09:04:36 PM »
Lilly,  Your situation may be more a sign of the times than resulting from your estrangement.  Many AC and GC spend visits with family absorbed in their electronic gadgets and unable to participate in a real conversation.  It's likely the infrequency of your visits with the GC exacerbates the situation, but don't assume that if only you saw them more frequently and the estrangement didn't happen that the visits would live up to how you'd like them to be.  I think we've had a thread or two on the state of manners these days. 

I don't think you need to feel guilty about not being enthralled by their visits.  It's only natural that when you don't feel there's a real connection, that only guilt or duty motivate the visits, that you feel left out.  I don't know how to let go of the guilt, but try to find a way. Remember that you've always got a sympathetic audience here.  Good luck.

Offline Lillycache

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 566
    • View Profile
Re: Trying so hard to look forward to visits
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2013, 04:32:44 AM »
I remember how happy and excited I was to be going to see my GM...  or to spend a week at her house during the summer.   She meant the world to me and when she passed, it was very difficult.  I always said that I couldn't wait until I had grandchildren so I could have that kind of relationship with them.   BUT.. in fairness..  my GM was my Mother's mother.     I really only saw my Father's mother on occasional visits and on Thanksgiving.  So I didn't have that feeling toward her as I did my maternal GM.   It was not until I became the paternal GM that I realized what a short end of the stick we got..   I suppose that's just the way it is.  However, I don't remember my fathers mother even acknowledging me very much let alone asking me things or trying to engage me in conversation as I do my GKs.   I have to wonder if they aren't schooled to NOT give me any info or say much to me..   I don't think so... but one never knows.

Offline jdtm

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 245
    • View Profile
Re: Trying so hard to look forward to visits
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2013, 06:10:32 AM »
I
Quote
have to wonder if they aren't schooled to NOT give me any info or say much to me..

Mine were and our son finally admitted it a month or so ago.  Today, our grandchildren are now in their mid-to-late teens.  This came about because the elder of the two grandchildren decided to "seek out" a stronger relationship with my husband and with me.  We haven't discussed this topic yet with our grandchildren, (maybe never will - I won't bring it up) but it appears the injustice was suddenly (or gradually) realized.  As Dr. Phil says "if you cut a parent out of a child's life, it will come around and bite you in the end".  I never thought this day would ever come ....

Offline Lillycache

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 566
    • View Profile
Re: Trying so hard to look forward to visits
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2013, 07:20:15 AM »
I
Quote
have to wonder if they aren't schooled to NOT give me any info or say much to me..

Mine were and our son finally admitted it a month or so ago.  Today, our grandchildren are now in their mid-to-late teens.  This came about because the elder of the two grandchildren decided to "seek out" a stronger relationship with my husband and with me.  We haven't discussed this topic yet with our grandchildren, (maybe never will - I won't bring it up) but it appears the injustice was suddenly (or gradually) realized.  As Dr. Phil says "if you cut a parent out of a child's life, it will come around and bite you in the end".  I never thought this day would ever come ....

I have given this some thought also.  I will not broach the topic with them yet.. That would be overstepping..  HOWEVER, once they  18... I suppose everything is fair.  I really would like to discuss this with them at that time.. if nothing else then to let them know how much it bothered me and that my hands were tied to do anything.  I'm worried they think I just don't give a darn about them..  That's not true at all..  It's just difficult to get all invested in them  the way it is now.   

Offline Pooh

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5245
    • View Profile
Re: Trying so hard to look forward to visits
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2013, 11:57:20 AM »
I moved it for you :)

Well, ok a couple of thoughts here. 

1.  I tend to agree with herbal.  I think it is just the communication style now.  My YS/DIL spend much of their time on technology and they LIKE me.  My best friends daughter absolutely adores me (she's 11, what does she know...) but yet her nose is still in her Iphone for 75% of the time.  So the other day, I was aggravating her and said, "Hey!  You have Instagram?"  I knew she did because it's the one thing her Mother has allowed her, no Facebook or Twitter yet at her age.  Plus I knew her Mother's rule was in order to have it, Mom had to be her friend on it and monitor it.  So I knew I wouldn't be worrying her about asking.  She grinned and said, "Yes.  That's what I'm doing right now.  Why?  You have it?"   I told her I did and we sent each other requests then proceeded to take stupid face pictures and post them.  She was cracking up.  So, I had to enter her world to get her attention.

2.  Yes, I used to love going to see my GM too, but we didn't have video games, iphones, ipads, etc. so although I loved her, I remember being excited because I knew we would do "something".  It was baking, it was breaking beans while singing silly songs, etc.  But in my world at the time, it was "something" to do.  Yet, when we visited my other GM who lived a good distance away, I had to just sit there.  I didn't dislike her at all, I was just bored. So have you thought about instead of sitting around the house or just going to dinner, trying to go somewhere they would find fun?  Like the Aquarium, movies, amusement park, a kids arcade, etc.?  Something you have near you that you could go to?  I think kids do have so much technology and stuff now-a-days that sitting at any adults house doing nothing would be boring to them.

« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 11:59:01 AM by Pooh »
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Pooh

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5245
    • View Profile
Re: Trying so hard to look forward to visits
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2013, 12:00:11 PM »
Oh and no, I don't find this bad that you feel this way.  It wouldn't matter who they were, relatives or not.  Sitting in silence wouldn't make me look forward to a visit from anyone.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell