Dear Amy: I became a grandmother this year. I am a boomer widow and I live alone on a limited income.
My son, daughter-in-law and grandson moved to another state, about an eight-hour drive from where I live. I do not feel comfortable making the drive by myself, but I can fly.
Even though he lives in a three-bedroom home, my son wants me to stay in an Airbnb when I visit.
So in order to visit them, according to his demands, I need to pay for the long-term parking at the airport, the airfare, the Airbnb and the rental car to get between the Airbnb and their house.
This is about $1,000 to visit for a couple of days.
I have done this twice.
He tells me, “Don’t give us gifts, save up for the trip.”
But it’s not just the cost; I don’t like staying by myself at an Airbnb.
I told him that if he wants me to visit them (the baby is adorable and will be a year old soon) he should, please, pick me up from the airport and let me have a spot on their floor.
I’ll make it work. I’m not a princess; I am very easy.
We are at an impasse. I have decided that I’m just not going to visit until I am welcome to stay with them, which is the whole purpose of the trip. I don’t want to sit around from sunset to midmorning in some isolated room.
What do you think?
Dear Boomer: This is a very sad situation.
As absolutely reasonable as your query is, it is hard to imagine anyone (including you) being comfortable if you basically forced your presence upon this family. (And with a three-bedroom home, would sleeping on the floor even be necessary?)
However, families with new babies (especially first children) sometimes feel stressed to the breaking point. You don’t mention your daughter-in-law, but she may be struggling with postpartum issues that make the prospect of in-house overnight visits overwhelming.
Your son’s selfishness here must be very disappointing.
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All the same, he has created a firm boundary, and if you want to see this little family, you seem to have no choice but to work within it.
If you could afford a visit longer than just a couple of days, you might be able to get to know their area better and find diverting things to do when you’re not with the family. Also, staying in a guest-suite type of hotel with a coffee shop in the lobby might be less expensive – and decidedly less lonely – than an Airbnb.
Or you could remain staunchly on your side of this impasse, and decline to visit at all.
Dear Amy: Our cousin “Maria” is getting married in a couple of months. We really like her and her fiancé.
As a family, we’ve always shared all of our life events, along with our mom, who died just over a week ago at more than 100 years of age.
Maria is having a bridal shower in two weeks and a sendoff next month for her destination wedding.
Mom had also been invited to these parties. Maria is aware of her passing and hasn’t called, did not attend the funeral, and did not express her condolences.
Although we are all hurt and disappointed, we don’t want to sever relations with Maria. We also are not comfortable attending her pre-wedding celebrations.
We considered not going to these parties, or maybe attending after first sending a polite note expressing our disappointment.
We will give a gift and are considering adding Mom’s name to our gift.
– Upset Cousin
Dear Upset: You should call your cousin. Ask her how her wedding planning is going and tell her you are excited for her. She may take the opportunity to bring up your mother’s death and express her condolences.
If she doesn’t, you should tell her, “As a family, we share our celebrations and sorrows. We were disappointed not to hear from you after Mom died. She lived a good and long life, and you were an important part of that.”
Dear Amy: “Clueless in Carolina” was hesitant to take on babysitting for her grandchild because her daughter is very controlling.
Thank you for suggesting that if she wants to do this, she should do so in her own home.
My daughter installed cameras throughout her home without telling me – and then remarked on my choices.
Dear Wised-Up: Yikes. Creepy.
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