Dear Annie: Four days ago, my husband and I waited 12 hours for the birth of our son’s first baby. As soon as we were allowed to see our new grandchild, we rushed into the hospital room, thrilled beyond belief. Our joy was short-lived because soon after, our daughter-in-law’s friends started arriving. My husband and I were speechless that grown people would be so rude and intrusive on OUR time.
Our grandchild was passed from friend to friend, and each one held the baby before my husband. I cannot believe the insensitivity of these people. We waited all day to share the joy with our son and his wife. These friends acted like they had a right to be there. They should have waited until the next day to visit and should have had enough common sense to know this was “family time.”
We are saddened and angry that this once-in-a-lifetime moment was taken from us. Everyone watched the baby get his first bath while my husband and I looked over their shoulders. It was the ultimate intrusion, and the more I think about it, the angrier I become. Should I say something or let it go? — No Name, No City
Dear No Name: Please, please, please, let it go. Chances are, those friends were specifically invited by your son and his wife, who wanted to share their joy with as many people as possible. You will have plenty of opportunities to get to know your grandson, and this particular time will become insignificant. His birth was not about you, and we urge you not to give the impression that it was.
Dear Annie: I am in a dead-end marriage and also am the caregiver for my husband’s 85-year-old invalid mother. After my mother-in-law came out of the hospital two years ago, I was the only one who volunteered to take her in. I thought it would bring my husband and me closer, but it has only created more problems.
He won’t even help me with her unless I start a fight about it. My husband’s siblings — all four of them — said, “We’ll help whenever you need something,” and changed their minds shortly after she moved in. They visit her once a week and think it’s enough. When I ask someone to come over so I can get out, I hear, “Why me? Ask someone else.” She is THEIR mother, not mine, and I am ready to run away.
My mother-in-law is a nice lady who helped me in the past and I am very grateful, which is one reason I took her in. But it’s a burden to be tied down 24/7. Any suggestions? — Burned Out
Dear Burned Out: Being a caregiver is hard work and you are to be commended for taking on this often thankless job. Have your husband get his siblings together with you and create a schedule so each one is responsible for Mom one afternoon a week (or whatever you can work out). Or, ask them to contribute financially to the cost of a senior day care program or home assistance. We also recommend you contact the Family Caregiver Alliance (caregiver.org) at 1-800-445-8106 for help, support, information and resources.
Dear Annie: This is for “The First Wife.” After 20 years of marriage, my husband left me for a younger woman when our kids were teens. I realize now that my husband was high maintenance and self-centered. When he left, there was less pressure and tension. We laughed more, talked more and I had plenty of time for the kids because I was no longer so focused on my husband’s needs. I could make decisions without wondering how he would feel. Today I am a successful 66-year-old businesswoman with a supportive and loving husband. — Pensacola Grandma
Dear Pensacola: Your experience is proof that good things can happen after divorce if you are open to the possibilities.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger on 12.13.07