Moral Mom

24 Aug

Letterbalm Disapproving MomDear LetterBalm: My wife isn’t speaking to our 29-year-old daughter because she has two children as a single mom and has never married. They used to be close but their relationship has deteriorated over the past couple of years because of my wife’s disapproval. My daughter won’t talk to me either because she thinks I’m taking my wife’s side. I try to reach out with texts and phone messages, but my daughter refuses to be in contact. She’s a working mom and can use help with the kids after school and on school holidays. I’d be glad to pitch in to care for my grandkids – I miss not having them in my life, too. How can I resolve this?

–Grandpa in the Middle

How sad that you, your wife and your grandchildren are missing out on one of life’s happiest connections. Ms. L.B. advises you to keep the two kids uppermost in your mind. It isn’t their fault that their mom never married – she may have had very good reasons that are none of her parents’ business. Keep trying, Grandpa. Send cards and small gifts to the grandkids and your daughter on special occasions. Keep saying you love them and miss them and would be happy to care for them to help out. Be sure your texts and messages are chatty, warm and non-judgmental. In the meantime, you need to plan a careful, private conversation with your wife, outlining the situation in clear terms and telling her you will continue to try to have contact with your daughter and her kids. Be mindful that your wife may become angry and defensive, but you’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do:

Bertha, I want to talk with you about Lettie and the grandchildren. Your decision to cut her out of our lives because she had kids without getting married has devastated the family. It’s not the kids’ fault that their mother never married, and she may have reasons that are none of our business. In all this, we’re deprived of the best kind of relationship – grandparents and grandkids. If this continues, the kids may choose to have nothing to do with us when they get older, which would be a tragedy. And, we should be helping Lettie by taking the kids after school and on school holidays. Well, I’ll tell you what I will do: I’ll keep on texting and calling and hoping Lettie will change her mind, and I’ll start sending birthday and Chanukah cards and gifts. It’s a crime that this has gone on this long, Bertha. It’s hurting everyone. Please reconsider and please talk to me.

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