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Big News

Started by Monroe, February 07, 2016, 08:20:35 am

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So the call came last night.   By way of background, DS is married to chilly DIL, who has demonstrated for years that she wants little to do with us.   But last night the phone rang - DS wanted to speak with both of us.   Told us they are expecting.   

They live far away - so a phone call to announce was most appropriate.  But the call was from him alone.  DIL was there but didn't bother to participate in the call.   DS made a point of wanting me and my DH on the phone to break the news - but DIL was not part of it at all.   

She has given us the cold shoulder for years, so I am not shocked she didn't bother to participate in the announcement.  Not even surprised, actually. I can't help feeling more and more shut out. 

I just feel empty.   Not excited, not anything.   Just empty.   DS is further and further away from us all the time.   And I am confident I will never get to know this baby.   Not sure I even want to since DIL will be in control of everything, and I am clearly not welcome.   But it must all be OK with DS or it wouldn't happen this way.   

Just feeling discouraged.   Any thoughts, wise ladies?


February 07, 2016, 11:08:27 am #1 Last Edit: February 08, 2016, 06:47:54 pm by luise.volta
Dearest friend, all I know to suggest is what you are doing already. You are accepting it, calling it what it is, and facing your feelings honestly. We don't raise children with the idea that their choices in adulthood will end our relationship.

I am a nurse. When my first grandson was born at home, my son asked his teen aged brother to come and help because 'the baby wasn't safe around my bad vibes'. The only comfort I can offer you is that today that 'baby' is an incredibly successful man. He lives is another country and came, with his grown daughter, to see me at Christmas because he loves me to pieces. You may need to let go but don't give up!
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Monroe, I wish there was a word that acknowledged being a GP even when our AC don't validate us as GPs. "Congratulations" doesn't seem to fit. So, I'm acknowledging your GP-hood here w/o the joyous tone of "congratulations." Maybe DS will include you more when he experiences the strong emotions of fatherhood.

Hugs to you. I suspect I'm heading down the same path.

Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Green Thumb

Monroe, I am very sorry that things are this way. Here's a hug from someone in your same shoes. I worry about the day I get the call that you got, its sad to be the "out grandma."

What my husband always tells me is don't assume others have your same values. DIL is not like you, and you can't take it personally. It is about her and her values, feelings, mindset, whatever.

Perhaps this gives some explanation: I don't think that when I called my mother to tell her I was expecting my first child, at age 26, that both my ex-husband and I were on the phone together. I think it was just me calling my mother, and that he called his mother by himself. I don't think we EVER got on the phone together and announced each pregnancy and we certainly didn't do this when we announced we were getting married. It was each one calling their mom on their own. Of course, ex-husband and I were not true partners anyway so we would not have thought to do this as a team, together on the phone.


Quote from: Pen on February 08, 2016, 06:23:09 pm
Monroe, I wish there was a word that acknowledged being a GP even when our AC don't validate us as GPs.

Pen - it's not so much that I don't have GP status - what is annoying is that I am expected to be excited and oohing and aching over the baby-to-be when we have been treated with disregard.  I just don't really have much interest.  Zero excitement, which I think is consistent with how we have been treated.   But I am expected to be excited about the baby.   DS just doesn't get that when DIL, and to some extent he, have pushed us away for so long, we have lost the desire to get close.  I don't know that I want to be included more.

Green Thumb - I get what you say about a solo phone call.  That alone would not be any big deal.   It's just consistent with a multi-year history of her having little to do with us.

Luise - I am copying your thought - -

"We don't raise children with the idea that their choices in adulthood will end our relationship."

and keeping it handy.   Good to know I am not the only one


Oh Monroe I know exactly what you are talking about!!  I have two sister in laws who are so involved in their grands lives that they are part time day care for them.  One even got her DH (my brother) to move 150 miles to be closer to the grands. Both of them were early childhood teachers (kindergarten and pre-k) and they both revel in taking care of their grands three to four times a week.  They treat me like I am the divergent grandparent, like it is normal to be so involved in their married children's lives.  I can actually feel the pity oozing from them and it irritates me more than the situation with my DIL does.

This situation has prompted me to review the grandparent relationships in my family.  When I was little I saw my grandparents about twice a year for a visit with my parents and siblings.  I cannot imagine how it must have impacted my grandparents lives to have all seven of us visit at once!  I am sure you can imagine how much "quality time" the fourth out of five children got with their grandparents!   Still I felt very attached to them and I have wonderful memories of them.

The next set of grandparent relationships are the ones of my nieces and nephews.  Actually there was even less contact between them and my parents up until I started getting the family together for a week of reunion once a year.  Other than that there was very little contact between my parents and my nieces and nephews but still my nieces and nephews have very fond memories of their grandparents.  My brothers were the least likely to visit my parents but their wives are the most involved with their respective adult children's lives.  I find it odd but it seems as parents we do not reap what we sew, quite the opposite.

Anyway I tell myself that the way my eldest has distanced himself from my DH and myself is a sign that I did an exceedingly good job of raising an independent adult.  The woman he picked for a wife is both insecure and immature.  If anything goes wrong she takes to the bed and my DS has to take care of her and their two children.   In order to not get too involved in the drama of my DS's life I focus my attention on MY life and the enjoyment of it.   I know it sounds a little selfish but at this age I think I deserve it!   ;D
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


SL, it doesn't sound selfish to me. I sounds mature. I look back over my close-to 90 years and see my life in stages; my own childhood, my early adulthood and parenting, my later maturing adulthood and career(s), and now my widowhood and aging process. My surviving son and grown grandchildren think I'm the cat's meow...and I think the same of them but...we don't live in each other's pockets. (Even when my son comes twice a month and cleans my house for me!) Hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


QuoteI am not shocked she didn't bother to participate in the announcement.  Not even surprised, actually.

I love this.  You share one of my survival skills.....   If I have no expectations, I'm not disappointed. 

Thinking of you as you continue to this journey....

Green Thumb


Hard to be excited when you know you won't be included or treated respectfully. I do have to ask, Who says you have to act excited? Is your resentment after such bad treatment by DIL, spurred by something DS said during the phone call? Or are you just saying that excitement about a new grandbaby is the normal or usual response in our culture but for those of us "out grandma's" - well it hurts. That pain negates the excitement that the "in grandma's" feel. If you feel "you should" be excited, well let that should go by the wayside, leave it under a rock.


Thanks for your comments, ladies.   

Still Learning, I agree that we did a good job as mothers.   Our job was to raise them to be independent and self-sufficient.   We have done that.  Perhaps too well!  ::)   But the worst would be to have a son that couldn't stand on his own two feet, couldn't hold a job, couldn't make it on his own.   So I don't have that to deal with.   And I don't want to be the center of his life.   That would be sick.  I just didn't realize that raising an independent son would cut me out of his life.  Of course his choice of a wife affects that, too.  The DIL can be a bridge or a barrier to the son.  No, it is not the DIL's JOB to be the bridge.   The son is responsible for his own relationships.   But some women are just lucky to have a DIL who is a bridge.  (My own daughter is a bridge for her MIL)

Green T -- nothing on the phone call triggered resentment.  The resentment was years ago, when DIL made it clear she had no interest in us.  We have gotten so used to the cold shoulder that it triggers no new feelings at all.  Yes, the general culture expects us to be all excited about the grand baby.  I don't resent not being involved with the baby.   What I resent is the expectation that we should be all excited when we have been shoved away.   Adult sons and DILs should be consistent.   Happily include the parents, and then it is reasonable to expect the parents to be excited about becoming grandparents.   Give the parents the cold shoulder, and then don't be surprised that they have little interest in the grandchild. 

Yes, Greenie - I am leaving it under a rock.  I have many items on my bucket list - - and a limited time to get to do them.   ;D