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“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#1 Nov 12, 2012
Dear Abby 9 hrs ago....EmailShare0
Share0Print......DEAR ABBY: In a few months, my husband's 10-year-old twin grandchildren are coming to live with us while their mother serves her time for felony DUI. My husband and I are in our 60s and have never met them before.

We have tried to avoid contact with their mother because the encounters were generally unpleasant. She alternated between being bitter and hateful, and desperately calling for financial help because she's a single mother with four children. She alienated her own mother and it looked like the younger children would wind up with child protective services if we didn't step up and offer a temporary home with us.

The new circumstances will require the four of us to make some big adjustments, but we believe it will enrich our lives, too. My dilemma is what do we tell the kids when they inevitably ask why we have been absent in their lives? I can't bring myself to tell them the truth about the way we feel.-- CAUGHT OFF GUARD GRANDMA

DEAR CAUGHT OFF GUARD: Having lived with their mother, your husband's grandchildren probably understand very well the reason for her felony DUI. Be honest and explain to them that you weren't around because their mother didn't make you feel welcome. Then assure them that you have always loved them, that you are here for them now and will be in the future if they would like you to be.

----

DEAR ABBY: I'm 43 and have been hosting Thanksgiving for 19 years. My mother turned it over to me when I bought my first house because she was tired of doing it.

We always entertain the same group of 12 relatives. I have mentioned doing something different, but no one has enough room or the desire. If I didn't host it, I'm afraid they'd be hurt and have nowhere to go.

How do I break it to them that I am burned out? I would just like to go out to eat and see a movie. Please help.-- EXHAUSTED HOSTESS

DEAR EXHAUSTED: Ten days before Thanksgiving is a little late to cancel what has become an annual celebration. However, it would be the perfect time to announce that after 20 years of hosting the gathering, you are burned out. Therefore, those who have enough room should share the responsibility and alternate with you, or all of you should make your own arrangements.

----

DEAR ABBY: A few years ago, my husband and I decided that when our nieces and nephews turned 18 we would stop giving Christmas gifts. That decision has worked out fine -- until my husband's nieces and nephews began turning 18. Now it has become an issue with his side of the family, particularly his mother. She has made it clear through emails that we "have" to buy them gifts.

I don't know what to do. I don't want to start a war over gift-giving, but on the other hand, if we buy for his family, we have to buy for mine. We don't have a lot of disposable income. Please help us find a way to get through this.-- GRINCHED IN LAS VEGAS

DEAR GRINCHED: Emails are a wonderful form of communication, but when it comes to a discussion that involves emotion, it's time to use the old-fashioned telephone. You and your husband must call his mother and explain that buying gifts for the nieces and nephews on both sides of the family has become too much for you, which is why you have drawn the line at age 18. The "kids" are old enough to understand the gifts don't come from Santa. And so, for that matter, is your mother-in-law. Shame on her for pressuring you.
pde

Homer Glen, IL

#2 Nov 12, 2012
LW1: I'm not sure you're going to be able to know what to do with these kids until they are in your home. You don't know what their mother has told them about you, and you don't know if they've bought into what they've been told about you or realize their mother has issues. In fact, I'm not even sure of the direct relationship here: is their mother your husband's daughter, or is their apparently not-present father your husband's son?

LW2: Same advice I gave my mother this year: you should have said this before November because we could have worked it out before other plans were set. Do a Honey-Baked thanksgiving or something (order the entire meal from one of the places that let you do that) and then tell them that they're on their own for next year.(We worked it out: my sister and my dad are cooking Thanksgiving at my parents' house this year. I would have held it if my mom had told me she didn't want to do Thanksgiving BEFORE we'd made the plans to go to out of state.)

LW3: presents are a gift, not a requirement. Sounds like quite a few people need to learn that.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#3 Nov 12, 2012
LW1:"what do we tell the kids when they inevitably ask why we have been absent in their lives?"

You have 2 options.
-The truth
-A lie
So what are you asking? Help with crafting a lie?

"Then assure them that you have always loved them"

Bullshit. Their mother was not keeping the grandparents from meeting the grandkids. The granparents stayed away by their own choice. They did not give a rat's ass about these kids, otherwise they would have made some effort to know the grandkids.

LW2: What Abby said.

LW3: "Emails are a wonderful form of communication, but when it comes to a discussion that involves emotion, it's time to use the old-fashioned telephone."

I disagree. Email (or letter writing, if you're old school) give you the opportunity to formulate your thoughts in their entirety and not have to deal with someone on the other end of the line interupting you or playing on your emotions. You get into a verbal back and forth with someone, emotions take over. Write the email, and you keep your thoughts more logical and less emoitional.

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

#4 Nov 12, 2012
Yep. What Tonka said on all three.

L1: Seems like they're the type that don't care until the threat of an 'outsider' raising the kids comes up. Then it's family, family, family!

L3: Yes, as an introvert, I do *much* better with discussions via text/email/whatever over in-person or on the phone. I need time to process what was said to me and formulate my response so I don't 'say' something I'll regret.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#5 Nov 12, 2012
Matilda77 wrote:
L3: Yes, as an introvert, I do *much* better with discussions via text/email/whatever over in-person or on the phone. I need time to process what was said to me and formulate my response so I don't 'say' something I'll regret.
To me, it seems that an additional bonus of written vs verbal communication is that when the other person is reading your words, they are more likely to actually pay attention to them as opposed to not listening to you but instead, thinking of what they are going to say the second you stop talking. They may even read the letter more than once to have it sink it what you are trying to say.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#6 Nov 12, 2012
L2: "If I didn't host it, I'm afraid they'd be hurt"

Life is so much easier when you generally do not worry about the ridiculousness of adults having "Hurt" feelings over such things.

L3: Tell your MIL to go eff herself.

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

#7 Nov 12, 2012
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>To me, it seems that an additional bonus of written vs verbal communication is that when the other person is reading your words, they are more likely to actually pay attention to them as opposed to not listening to you but instead, thinking of what they are going to say the second you stop talking. They may even read the letter more than once to have it sink it what you are trying to say.
This, too.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

#8 Nov 12, 2012
1 What tonka said.

2 Thats right, they will have nowhere to go, so it is your burden to carry! So shut up and start cooking, and remember they want FRESH cranberries not that canned crap!

3 Tell her that she needs to stop smothering her damn kids, their 18 from christmas sake.

Oh, and nice way for amby to destroy some kids fantasy about santa.(no not the 18yo, some little kid who reads this drivel)

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#9 Nov 12, 2012
L1: Abby is so, so wrong! There IS something inbetween the bold truth and a lie. How about telling the kids "There were various reasons, but I am so glad we are together now" and leave it at that. Why put the kids through more angst than necessary?

L2: No, Abby. It's not an either/or. How about telling everyone it's your last Thanksgiving cooking and someone else can host it or you can jointly plan to have the dinner out with everyone chipping in? Or get a hall and have the thing catered.

L3: You don't have to do anything. Give the gift of a donation in their name -- which in my view isn't a gift at all. That'll shut MIL up.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#10 Nov 12, 2012
Toj wrote:
L3: You don't have to do anything. Give the gift of a donation in their name -- which in my view isn't a gift at all. That'll shut MIL up.
Love it!

“What's it to ya?”

Since: Mar 09

Location hidden

#11 Nov 12, 2012
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
L2: "If I didn't host it, I'm afraid they'd be hurt"
19 years...lightweight. I've been doing it since 1984.

In August I started telling people I wasn't doing "the holidays" this year. I have made a point each month since pointing out to them that they need to make other plans.

Hope they don't show up next week. I'm gonna be out eating Chinese and going to the movies. <shrug>
NicoleK

Geneve, Switzerland

#12 Nov 12, 2012
LW3, you don't have to give anything, but be aware that it might be seen as a rejection, and that the kids might suddenly think all your gifts were a burden, not a pleasure, and that you never really loved them.

Gift-giving has heavy symbolism in our culture, like it or not, and so does withholding gifts.
PEllen

Chicago, IL

#13 Nov 12, 2012
NicoleK wrote:
LW3, you don't have to give anything, but be aware that it might be seen as a rejection, and that the kids might suddenly think all your gifts were a burden, not a pleasure, and that you never really loved them.
Gift-giving has heavy symbolism in our culture, like it or not, and so does withholding gifts.
I agree with your concept, but in practice it sounds like blackmail.
Sam I Am

Cedar Grove, TN

#14 Nov 12, 2012
1. Your mother is a POS who hasn't any use for us other than when she needs something, and now she needs us to do something she hasn't done in 10 years - take care of you two.

2. It's been a great 20 years, thanks for coming. If they get mad at you, then to heck with the unappreciative sons of guns.

3. Email might be a good first salvo if it is well-conceived, but it is a horrible, weak way to work through an issue of real significance. Why the heck can't people just talk anymore? Pick the phone up, and simply explain that you don't have the means for that wide a net of gift-giving, you don't do it with your family either, and adults really do not need gifts every year from everyone.
Anonymous

Plant City, FL

#15 Nov 12, 2012
1: Age-appropriate truth. It always rises and lying is never a good choice.
This lady (I doubt all 4 freaking kids have the same dad, hence why they are only taking 2 of them) is why I would thoroughly support castration.

2: What angela said.

3: Idiots. You have to? Give me a break. Tell the kids that the other side was fine about it and they will be, too.
Kids respond to the family's response around them...
PEllen

Chicago, IL

#16 Nov 12, 2012
cheluzal wrote:
1: Age-appropriate truth. It always rises and lying is never a good choice.
This lady (I doubt all 4 freaking kids have the same dad, hence why they are only taking 2 of them) is why I would thoroughly support castration.
...
Does that include forcible tube tying?

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#17 Nov 12, 2012
Sam I Am wrote:
Why the heck can't people just talk anymore?
Because some people are more passive. Some people need more time to gather their thoughts. Non-confrontational. While others are quicker and more agressive. Won't take no for an answer. Get those 2 in a conversation and the latter has a good chance to steamroll the other.

Since: Dec 07

DuPage County

#18 Nov 12, 2012
1 Whut? Your family is f'ed up. The truth will set you free.

2 Grow a pair! You're an adult and you need to realiz that you are in control, not others. "This is the last T'giving dinner we're hosting. We've enjoyed it, but it's time for all of us to set a new tradition." Done. If someone gets angry, eff 'em.

3 My mother quit telling me what I "had" to do the minute I moved out. Grow up and tell pople what you're going to do, and do not ask for their approval.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#19 Nov 12, 2012
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>To me, it seems that an additional bonus of written vs verbal communication is that when the other person is reading your words, they are more likely to actually pay attention to them as opposed to not listening to you but instead, thinking of what they are going to say the second you stop talking. They may even read the letter more than once to have it sink it what you are trying to say.
ITA.

“It made sense at the time....”

Since: May 09

Schaumburg, IL

#20 Nov 12, 2012
LW1 - hope you have good support from CPS... taking full-time custody of 2 10YO kids you've NEVER MET?!?! but, big kudos to you for at least trying.

step by step, day by day... you'll figure it out.

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