Thought of the week
"That old feeling of September, left school, of spending the summer, of holidays almost finished, of the accumulation of obligations, of books and football in the air … another page turned … something of jubilee in that annual autumnal start, as if the mistakes of last year had been erased for the summer. "
From Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (American writer, 1909 -1993)
My husband and I worked hard to give our three children the best we could. They rewarded us with diligence, and they all got good jobs.
Our two daughters got married, the youngest gave us two beautiful granddaughters, the biggest happy with her career.
Last year she became pregnant and was delighted, but the pregnancy had to end because the baby had many problems and would not have survived.
Before this, my son met and married his girlfriend. We all seemed to get along well.
But when they had to visit us, they would cancel at the last minute. We were never invited to a meal or at Christmas. She was pregnant at the same time as my daughter, and I thought they would be understanding. But at every opportunity they boasted about pregnancy.
Once your baby arrived, everything changed. My son is governed by his wife and his parents, who visit him whenever they wish.
But when I showed up for a surprise visit, excited to see my new granddaughter, they told me I was not welcome unless I made an appointment. I drove the 60 miles home crying.
The next day I received a message from my son reiterating that I must make an appointment. No apologies, only abuses. My husband was furious He phoned and left a message saying that our son's wife and family got away with excluding us from their lives.
Since I got married, my son has lost most of his friends from school, who say he has changed beyond what he believed. It's been four months since we saw it. He rejected us and his sisters. We are having to continue with our lives, but it hurts. Can a charming and loving man change so much?
This week Bel hears of a mother who saw her son change completely from "warm and loving" after his wife had a baby, and now he has closed his family of his life
Many letters and emails come to this specific family problem. I used yours, but I have another email here from North Carolina, and two handwritten letters from JS and V (no last name).
The situations are all different, but all four are from mothers who (in truth) do not like the partners / wives of their child. Everyone feels isolated from their grandchildren and they feel hurt and angry.
Meanwhile, the son seems to be impotent, almost henpecked. But that's Mom's "take", of course.
Obviously, generalizations are deceptive; However, it seems common for a man to move away emotionally from his own mother when he marries. This is the & # 39; change & # 39; that you mention, and the origin of the old saying: "A son is a son until he gets a wife, but a daughter is a daughter all his life."
It goes back to the biblical mandate (Ephesians): "Therefore, a man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."
In your longest letter you say that your daughter-in-law is an only child and that her parents have pleased her. That obviously makes things worse. But then (I fear) the message of anger from her husband.
Anyone can understand why he was so upset, because they treated you terribly. Of course, I would advise everyone that it is not prudent to make surprise visits, especially to a daughter-in-law.
Phone first! (After all, they could have left). But he should have controlled his temper and not left a message that would obviously make things worse.
Your own last words are very wise. I hope that over time your son and daughter-in-law will soften and embrace you. There really is nothing to do now, but be patient.
A common element in my letters is the jealousy of the daughter-in-law's parents, who have a privileged position in terms of access to the whole family.
It's annoying that those other grandparents can be so possessive. They should realize that what really matters is the well-being of the grandchildren, and it is much better if they are loved by four grandparents, not just two.
If a grandpa reading this is guilty of "hoarding" grandchildren, I beg you to use your maturity to mediate in these painful matters.
And now a word for children. You do not want your wives to give you a hard time. Scared or loose, you do not want to balance the boat. It is understood. But you also owe allegiance to those who gave you life and it is surely your duty to give them due consideration.
Ask yourself if you and your wife have the right to deprive your children of anyone who wants to give them love.
Margot, I just hope that your son can read this (recognize the story, even if you change your name) and feel sorry.
Meanwhile, stay strong.
The hell of accidents has left me so bored
Until six months ago I was a normal divorced woman: 66, active, solvent and employed.
I did the volunteer work, I looked after two animated grandchildren a couple of days a week, I walked my dogs for miles every day and regularly went out with them and a tent in the back of my car. A Wonderful Life.
Then I had a serious accident, not life threatening but it changed my life. Released from the hospital but initially unable to cope alone, I was received at my son's house and they treated me very well.
Since I am very independent, I came home at the first opportunity and learned to adapt. I can do my housework, take care of my garden, go shopping and walk my dogs, despite the constant pain.
My consultant is satisfied with my progress, but I think he is judging me in terms of what he believes an older person should be. But my previous life disappeared and nobody can tell me if I will recover it. They say that rehabilitation can take 12 to 18 months and that I may never recover completely.
I know others are much worse and I try to maintain a positive attitude, but limited mobility is frustrating. I can not do my volunteer work or take care of my grandchildren (as it would require driving) or go camping.
Bel, I'm so bored! Trying to fill 16 hours a day with interesting activities within my capabilities is a challenge. I dedicate myself to the pottery of my house and the garden, I go out for short periods, I do my exercises, I read a lot, I watch a little television and I talk to my friends online and by phone.
But it feels like Groundhog Day. Any idea how I can fill the rest of my time?
First, you have my sympathy; what has happened to you has been a colossal shock and you are only reaching an agreement with that.
I know that when my hip was replaced in February 2017, it took me much longer than I expected to recover, both mentally and physically. And that was just a routine operation. Wandering the sticks made me feel useless and decrepit, and I hated it.
Like you, I consider myself much younger than my real age. Then it was a shock to the system.
More from Bel Mooney for the Daily Mail …
Having said that, when my daughter worked for the charity Help for Heroes of the Armed Forces, she met many brave men who had lost limbs in Afghanistan. So, everything is relative, right?
However, individual problems always look exceptionally large and need to be solved, although superficially trivial.
The first thing to say is that you must be easy with yourself. No choice The accident happened only six months ago, which is a short time in terms of recovery.
You should probably have stayed longer with your kind son; The determined independence can be a double-edged sword. But now that you're at home, with the previous activities restricted, you need to start a project to see you during the winter. Have you thought about writing about your life for your grandchildren? This would be a useful thing to do.
Of course, it will be necessary to investigate, from what happened in the world on the day of his birth, through all the stages of his life, contextualizing the personal. One day I want to do this.
I suggest you start by getting the book Your Life, Your Story: writing the story of your life for family and friends, by Cherry Gilchrist. It is full of wonderful ideas to help you and keep encouraging you if you mark.
You will have to collect photographs and copy them if necessary. What you do with the material at the end depends on how much you want to spend. Some go for private publication; for others, it is enough to make an excellent scrapbook.
Either way, it is an exciting activity and a precious document for the future. Gilchrist writes: "I firmly believe that all individuals count for something, that everyone has a story to tell and that telling that story enriches humanity."
That thought should inspire you. So, go ahead!
And finally … Your vision makes me a little wiser
Two weeks ago I published a letter from & # 39; Janette & # 39; – Angry at 53 because she can not meet a man and get married. In my response I quoted two similar letters from women.
Readers can not always agree with me, and K (a 57-year-old lawyer in New York) wrote a magnificent email of dignified reproach. She ended up reminding me of the importance of "goodness".
Bel answers readers' questions about emotional and relationship problems each week.
Write to Bel Mooney, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A pseudonym will be used if desired.
Bel reads all the letters, but regrets not being able to enter personal correspondence.
I have two thoughts First, to point out that obsessing about weddings will inevitably be counterproductive is sensible advice. Saying: & # 39; Poor thing & # 39 ;, it does not help.
Instead, ask someone to change their way of thinking. . . and I understand that every day of your life is "special"; if you do it like that "honestly it's the kindest advice I can give you.
But K's email, full of sincere truth, touched me. She wrote: "The" stigma of the old maid "is very alive and well … There is no place for us and, damn it, at this stage of life, that's what hurts."
K describes a world where single women are condescending and excluded. "I think the women who wrote to you could benefit from your suggestion of trying to expand their circle of friends, but you could also have given them the dignity to acknowledge their pain and despair.
"What I think you missed is that even for someone like me, with a fairly realistic view of the romantic landscape of half of life, there may be a long period of deep grief, even after one has reached an agreement with the fact that he's probably never a romantic life partner.
"I came to that hard realization in my beginnings until the mid-40s, but what was really hard to bear is that for a long time I struggled with my pain for that loss."
My answer to that is to say simply, I'm sorry, and I thank K for educating me a little.
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