August 06, 2020, 02:47:33 pm

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"Welcome to WiseWomenUnite.com -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."


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Topics - Elise

1
It sounds like there are some very hurting members who are dreading Mothers Day.  A few years ago, didn't Louise start us all on the fantasy cruise (imaginary) where we had a lot of fun?  Maybe we need to do that again this year.  What do you think Louise et al?

I'll start.  Let's agree to depart from Florida and I want a top floor room with a balcony midship.  I will bring all my cute dresses and there will be a tall handsome man who dances like Fred Astaire to fox trot and squire me around the dance floor after dinner.  Of course I am going to wear my high heels, never stumble and they won't even hurt my feet.  I am going to eat all my favorite things, sleep late in the morning and hang out with Louise at the pool in the afternoon.  We are going to laugh hysterically and amuse everyone.
2
It is a long time since I have posted on this site, though I read it regularly still.  After a long period of improvement between my ds and dil and me, I have been able to spend rather a lot of time with them and their beautiful 2 year old daughter at their home.  They moved close to me - 200 miles instead of 1500 miles away last fall. For the most part it has been great and comfortable for all of us I think. The last time I was with them a few weeks ago, an old humidifier in their daughter's room sparked when I turned it on, so I unplugged it. After I finished putting my grand daughter to bed, I mentioned to them the humidifier had a short and I had unplugged it.  They were watching tv and didn't respond and I said nothing else about it.  The next day, when I went to put baby to sleep I found the humidifer plugged in and turned on. My ds had not been home yet so I knew dil had turned it on and left it on.  I did not say anything and left to return to my own home a day later.  DIL did not mention it either.
In retrospect, I think I may have been too abrupt in what I said. I spoke as I normally would to my ds, and now I think I should have mentioned what happened (the humidifier sparked)and let it at that. I'm not comfortable with the passive aggressive way dil responded and am wondering if I should address what happened next time I see dil or just leave it alone.  I am not inclined to talk to my ds about this at all as the non-verbal response  was from dil. Thoughts, advice welcome.
3
My first grandchild was born yesterday afternoon. Mom and baby are both fine. Only a 12 hour labor, though induced so rather intense.  I already have 2 sets of pictures and heard her cry and then immediately quiet when her daddy ( my ds) walked in the room and spoke to her. He said she turned her head to him at his voice and I could hear his wonder as he related that on the phone to me. The circle of life and this amazing journey through and around it hold moments that take my breath away. I am grateful the New Year is here, and for the new life it has brought into my family.
I expect to visit in a few weeks when summoned to help. They live 1500 miles from me. Until then I will just get used to the fact I now have a new role - grandmother. I once read that love knows no frontier - neither time nor distance, physical or emotional.
My own journey through the last years has been very difficult. There were times I thought  all was lost without the past connection and trust destroyed and all the things so many of us contend with regarding our adult children. Now, well somehow I washed up on new shores, and content myself with love in the moment. Perhaps it is a better way to live after all. I find it is all just enough to my surprise.
I wish all of you a blessed New Year, joy, and many smiles to see you through.
4
I returned last night from a five day visit to my ds and dil.  I stayed with them at their insistence and helped them resettle their home after having had lead abatement work done in preparation for the baby scheduled to arrive 12-24.  The tone of the visit was warm and they were happy to have me help them. I finally have some sense of warmth with my dil and my ds was openly affectionate and found little ways to let me know he values me in his life.  It was a long road to now - back story not good since they got together a few years ago. Sure, there were some things which felt like digs at me, or comparisons dil would let me know about which pointed up her foo will always be first in their married lives. Still, I found it very easy to just pass those comparisons by and concentrate on the good that was apparent in our connection as it exists today.  It had been a long time since I had seen my son and longer since I had seen his smile, which although somewhat less exuberant than before at least is returning in some ways.  We laughed together at nothing and had some fun just cleaning and settling things and arranging the nursery.

Now, as to what changed.  All that really changed on my part was all the things Louise and all the ww here advocate worked for them.  Loving detachment on my part, and understanding at a bone deep level after much soul searching on my own part, that I had no clue what was really going on with him or them for a long time.  And most importantly, knowing I had to wait until they wanted something of a loving connection rather than one which judged me so negatively or critically. It is all about them and I am on my dil's  radar screen when it suits her. I am on my ds's radar screen much more, yet he is constrained by his marriage. His lesson to get and work through. Strangely enough while that was hard for me to get for a long time, it is fine with me now.  I concentrate on my life now much more and am happier for it.   Just thought I would post this to let those struggling know there is possible hope and reconnection even when the present seems impossible. Even in the face of estrangement. It really does matter how much we connect in this life, and yet it is also true those children we raised cannot ever really put us out of their lives because we live in their hearts, whether they listen or not to their heart songs. Peace to all as we in the West enter our season of love and hope.
5
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Cyber Baby Shower
November 03, 2012, 01:04:31 pm
I am lucky and grateful because tomorrow I am hostessing a baby shower for my first grandchild. I am having lots of fun cooking and decorating my house and setting up games for my friends. Although the actual shower will be taking place 1500 miles away, we will tune in via a web conference service through the computer - a cyber shower. We will get to see my DS and DIL open their presents with their friends and dil family - there better be a 'mute' button, my friends and I get a little loud when we get excited!!! I am grateful I get to mark my own transition into this new role with this cultural ritual, updated for the situation and times.
6
Last night I looked at the gift registry my dil is working on for her baby shower.  She or they have selected a very expensive high chair which looks amazing to the eye - very modern - which also looks very unstable. I then read the reviews on this highchair from parents and became very concerned.  There were some who loved it for its look, though even those mostly gave advice of how to deal with the problems getting the baby in and out of it and the fact the cushion has to be washed since it cannot be wiped and how food drops all over it as there is no tray etc. The cleaning concerns - well, those are not my worry even if looks trumps ease of use for dil.  Many of them said it was a nightmare, and some reported it tipping over both backwards and sideways if baby pushes away at the table or rocks sideways in it and also getting baby in and out of the baby seat that attaches the first couple of years. They said you can't get baby out quickly in case of choking and some even talked about their concern they would break the child's legs manipulating them for normal use in and out.

I did read reviews of other, more normal type high chairs as I wonder if there are problems with others as well.  I did find there were complaints about arms getting pinched on 2 of them and other concerns of the hard to clean type which do not so much concern me.

I am sure if I mention this to my ds he will  tell his wife I brought it up.  Should I say anything and to whom if so?  I am not close to dil though we do visit now sometimes and only in the last 6 months has communication become ok with my ds after 3 plus years of big time problems. I have concern my pointing out concerns about this high chair will be taken as criticism ( which I suppose it is) and tip over our tenuous re-connection. On the other hand, I am worried for the baby mostly.

Another item was a flexible pad type thing one puts around baby in the sink to bathe. It rests against the sink where the baby head goes. I could just picture my son banging his head against the porcelain sink the pad rests against looking at that one. But, it looks cool.  At least with that item one could pad behind the head with towels to soften the blows, even if it makes  a lot of extra wet towels to launder. 

For background, these 2 are in early 30's, highly educated, first baby and little to no experience with taking care of a baby.
7
Helpful Resources / The Gifts of ImperfectionI
August 28, 2012, 09:46:37 pm
I am reading a wonderful book titled 'The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brene Brown.  It speaks to the difficult to articulate components of what the author calls whole hearted living. She is also online under her name with a blog and a wonderful TED talk she gave in recent years - very prestigious to be invited to speak at a TED conference as only those who are considered to have very new ideas which can change our world are invited. I am especially touched by her detailed explanations of our very deep needs to have connection and feel we belong, which so many of us struggle with in our relations with our AC. Her work researching shame is land mark work and has led her into these other areas now. It is not an easy read, rather an engrossing one which provokes a lot of thought for me at least and new understanding of myself and others.
8
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Trust question
July 06, 2012, 07:50:30 pm
I am thinking a lot about trust broken with my ds over the past years.  Having narrowly avoided complete estrangement, in recent months he is respectful in communication on the phone. He has refused to explain or get into counseling to take what to me are necessary steps to clear the air between us, allowing me to understand what I may have done which made him change so in the past years with me or why he is so angry now if he still is. He certainly was angry for so long. He changed com[completely when he got with his now wife - immediate change. He and DIL talked it over he said and they decided they want me in their lives, so that must be why he is abiding by my required boundary of respectful communication finally now. I have no trust after the many incidents in which he betrayed our relationship over the last few years and find it very hard to see how I am ever going to trust him again without understanding what led to all of this and what happened from his viewpoint and he from mine. It seems to me the elephant will always be in the room otherwise. Can anyone give me another way to view this? 
Now there is going to be a baby around Xmas and while that has given me something to connect with my DIL about and I am contacting her biweekly, she never initiates contact. She is however being much nicer than she ever has been with me in recent years and we talk about her pregnancy, which to date is very uncomfortable for her. I have asked DS to examine his expectations around the baby and my involvement therein, talk it over with his wife and get back to me after he told me without her present on the phone they wanted me there when the baby comes.  His ministers' wife told me the night of their wedding they would not want me around when their babies are born - in front of my son though dil was not in earshot. He said nothing and when I reminded him of this in the recent call he said he doesn't remember. It was right after the minister told me I was now fired, which he did acknowledge he remembered last fall when it came up. I did tell him it is normal for the dil to proabaly want her mother with her for the birth, not me, and very undertandable in my opinion.
They live 18 hours by car away from me in a large city and I shudder at the thought of staying with them period, much less with the tensions of a new baby. I cannot afford a hotel nearby either, though maybe couch surfing some where in vicinity.  Advice?
They have been very nice in sharing pregnancy news and ongoing stuff relating to that. 
9
Along with so many wise women here, I have a long sad story of increasing dissonance in recent years with only son in his 30's. Great relationship always until he began to get ready to marry a number of years ago. Finally, now he has indicated willingness to try to avert complete estrangement ( close to that in recent months) using a family therapist of his choosing via the web as we live in different parts of the country. Setting clear boundaries and conditions of communication didn't work months ago  ( even though he agreed to them initially as my bottom line ) and culminated in a debacle during a 3 hour visit around Xmas in person. I have been working on acceptance and peace for myself, having learned to let go of all expectations other than respect in communication with the help of you wise women. 

Louise - I want to move next to you.

I am not in a great place in my heart with this, yet much better than had I not found this site months ago. Thank you all for the help you have given me by sharing your stories and experiences. You are all so authentic it brings tears to my eyes to write this sentence.

I am weary and wary, yet trying to hang on to some hope. This could be the breakthrough I have prayed for or this could be the final 'dump on mom'. Any advice?
10
Somewhere on this site yesterday I read about Louise's tradition of making her list of blessings or miracles at New Years. I love that idea - it is so uplifing.  Woke up this morning wanting to share a few of mine which have and do help me in coping with where I am in my life with DS problems.

A young woman around my son's age (32) helped me care for my mom before her death in March 2011. I knew they had a special bond as mom's face lit up when T. was in sight and there was a lot of laughter. After mom'sr death, this young woman came forward to give her eulogy and then continued to stay in close contact with me. I am sure God sent her to mom and then on to me. There were a lot of nights talking quietly in my garden with her this summer, and she brought her sister and parents and nieces into my world as well.  She is a daughter of my heart and a miracle in my life for sure.

In fall 2011, in the depths of pain, trying to figure out how to step back from DS, I found a therapist who has become a guru for me of sanity in what had come to seem my insane family life. ( Just DS and new DIL and I - they live 1500 miles away)..  In just a few months he has helped me sort out what I can and put me on the path of loving detachment as all of you so wisely advise here.  I am thankful I found him and all of you as well.

I broadened my social world and am continuing to add more people to my network. The ones I enjoy most are those with whom I laugh. Sometimes the laughter is the 'can't catch your breath and afraid you will fall down' kind - echoes of the peals of childrens laughter it seems from a younger time in my life. 

These miracles in my life have helped me begin to focus more closely on what is still possible in my life, not what isn't there. It doesn't always work, yet it works a lot more often than it did just a few months ago. I think it is the miracle of hope come home to me again.

So... on this day of new beginnings, I am praying all my sisters of the heart here on this site will find their own miracles and hope in their lives as well.  And a good belly laugh doesn't hurt either!!!!

Today I am going to start taking better care of myself and joining the Y. I imagine there will be a few good laughs on that trail as well.
11
I've been visiting and reading here for months.  You have all helped me so much to begin coming to terms with my broken relationship with my only child ( son 32), married one year tomorrow. I was a single mom since he was under a year old, and until 3 years ago I thought we had won the lottery and beat all the odds. I raised him to be autonomous, he moved right along on schedule and has lived far away since he was 18, coming home when he could. We had become friends and thought we had a mutual relationship based on trust. He seemed to walk the world solid from both the heart and head, getting a fine education, making a good life for himself wherever he happened to be living at the time.

He brought his girlfriend from his early 20's back into his life about 3 years ago. I had liked her a lot the years I knew her, and hoped they would marry as they appeared so happy together - almost glowed it seeemd to me. The very day I remet her was the first time he screamed at me and within a month he was threatening to put me out of his life. Nothing had happened between us, so I tried to forget it when he would not talk about it, and in time his behavior deteriorated towards me into real emotional abuse. For a long time I thought he was under such stress he was just venting at me and I tried to ignore it. I remained loving and kind always to him and her, despite the escalation of abuse all through the last year. I thought in time he would settle down and either resolve his problems or finally tell me what I was doing which was upsetting him, since he would not address either when I tried. Sadly, that did not happen. 

I waited until all the wedding parties around the country were over finally in July. We are each others only family. When he ramped up the calls to me (way way too many the last 2 years) I finally started to stand up, trying to get him to stop the screaming at me, labeling me without examples, etc.  Then he moved into a variety of other destructive tactics, seeming to be trying to get me to accept his perceptions as real for me. Crazy-making for sure.  By Sept I knew this was not getting any better, as the things he would say once he could occassionaly talk without screaming moved into telling me what I thought and felt - very very wrong in all of his statements. He refused to listen to me, or let me speak. I went into therapy and that has helped me a lot in confirming his labels are projections most likely since they do not fit me. I also needed help in setting clearer boundaries. After a few months of not talking, he agreed to limit any relationship talks to skype only when we could be eye to eye and agreed phone calls were only to be on lighter subjects comfortable for both of us. He agreed either of us could use the word 'stop' if we became uncomfortable and the other would immediately stop , end the contact nicely and we could talk about what happened to stop communication the next day if we wanted or just wait to see how it went the next time. Because it was only one call on Skype in November that worked a little, I declined to allow them to come home at Xmas, agreeing instead to go to her parents a state away for a day the day after Xmas.  He was not happy about it though he agreed as his wife's family had invited me.  I took a hotel room and met him at a museum the other day for a little one on one time as he said he would feel awkward seeing me at their home without some one on one time.  We had a decent visit at museum, walked around a bit and I requested we find somewhere to get a hot chocolate as I was cold.  I wanted to sit across from him so I could look at him for a few minutes as he had avoided my eyes for so long. He could not hold my eyes and when I held his he became agitated and started getting hostile, telling me I was grandiose all afternoon ( his most often used label in the last year or so). He refused or was unable to give me an example though I requested same, saying he preferred to just tell me how I am, went on to tell me I am not retional anymore. At that point I told him to 'stop', he didn't, I waited to take a few breaths and calm down, he kept on swirling off into some other nonsense. At that point I stood up, put $20 on the table, said a swear word ( which I never say - have never in his life sworn at him) and walked out. He was behind me talking after a block or so, accusations of my resenting him marrying ( first time I heard that one) until I was at my car. I opened the trunk - full of presents and food, he was at the trunk, asked him if he wanted the food and presents, he said yes, I unloaded them into his arms and on the sidewalk, got in my car and sat there.  He stood outside the car at the front bumper, I could see his lips moving, could hear nothing, busy street scene. After a couple of minutes he elbowed the passenger window, I put down the window, he leaned down and said "you can't do tis to me, I will be humiliated with my inlaws, etc.  I looked at him and said 'choices'. I waited until he moved back from the window, saying nothing other than about himself. He was raised with the mantra ' choose the behavior and you are choosing the consequences', so I think he knew all he had to say was "i'm sorry' and I would relent and help him save face. He has not been able to say those words or won his behavior to me these years.  I sat there until he walked away, thinking. I knew I could help him by just accepting what he had done and save face for him by putting up with the resentment and cold treatment I would get at the inlaws from everyone other than the grandmother, or I could enforce the agreed boundaries which were inplace, even if only in the last 2 months.  I chose the boundareis and drove off.

My son completely changed in these years to me, he has a psychology undergrad degree and much training in how to manage conflict and proper communication skills.  I have never even yelled at him in his whole life - he was such a wonderful son. He married a clinical psychologist who does autism research. I wish them well, and am detaching with love, giving it to God. I may never know any more than I know now, which is little about why and how and all that. I am working on acceptance and must be getting there.  The tears are far fewer than I would expect, maybe I have cried an ocean and am dry. Maybe it is just because all I am losing now are my final illusions.

It helps so much to share this finally and you all have helped me so much get to here, even though it is no place I would ever have imagined my family would wind up - destroyed.  We are strong, we go on, we will be ok in time.