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To grandparents who don't want to be grandparents

Posted by
downsouth
(downsouth@ivillage.com) on
Mon, Dec 10, 01 at 20:52

Warning, this is a very long story...
In 1995, we moved in with our son & DIL while our house was being built. They were ready to file for bankruptcy. She said instead of us paying apartment rent, we could pay them. This was the biggest mistake we have ever made in our lives. One evening we were allowed to watch our granddaughter while they went to a Xmas party. Our granddaughter was 4 months old. Her parents had our granddaughter and they were bringing her back home. Our son & DIL had left for the party. When they arrived, her mother insisted she was going to fed our granddaughter and put her to bed, right in front of me. I felt 4 foot tall. I told her "excuse me, but I'm supposed to be babysitting. I am her grandmother as well. Anyway, we got into a fight. Can you believe this? She jerked the bottle out of my hand and told me she was putting her to bed. I was not going to let her treat me like sh.... Anyway, her mother went outside and called our DIL. Of course, I got the blame for most of this. Our DIL did come downstairs one night, opened our door and told us she knew how her mother was and that it wasn't all our fault. I felt good to hear her say that. However, we were told we had to move out by 3:00 p.m. Saturday. It was New Years Eve and we didn't even know if we could get a U-Haul truck, or even find an apartment that quick. They even left their own home & went and stayed with her parents, waiting for us to get out before they came back. On Sat., my DH was still at work, it was 3:00 p.m. and she arrived and we were still packing. She said she was calling the police. I told her I never knew we were supposed to be gone by 3:00 and she said I told him that (my DH). She did call the police to my surprise and our son allowed her to do this. I told our youngest son to hurry & pack, that we had to get out of there quick. She started throwing our things that were packed and sitting in the garage and breaking the canned jars of green beans my DH had canned, and calling us names. By this time, I'm sure I had a few choice names for her as well. Her dad had to pull her out of the garage and put her in his truck. She was like a mad woman. When the police car arrived, my DH pulled up right behind him with the U-haul. I had never been so relieved to see him. He had been everywhere looking for a
U-Haul. The policeman asked them to leave until we could get our things in the U-Haul. I looked at my son and with tears in my eyes I told him "I can't believe you would do this to us", then I walked away from him. He never once apologized, he just looked at me and said nothing. This was in 1995. We will never forget this, but then I knew my son had some kind of problem. We had never done anything to him, except love him. We thought the hurt, the bitterness was starting to heal a little, until 1999.

In 1999 they came down to visit and our dog hurt our granddaughter. She was 3 years old. This was the last straw for our DIL, as my DH let the dog out of his pen to go to the garden with them to plant strawberries, so he was responsible for what happened. It took only a few seconds when his back was turned, but that was enough. They were here as well, but no one saw what happened. She has been through a lot, but has healed wonderfully. The tension has always been there between DIL and DH, and he has said cruel things to her, and she has done the same to him. She used to be very spoiled, but has changed some since the birth of our grandchildren (we now have a 15 month old son who has been at our house maybe 3 to 4 times and we only live 15 mins. away). A lot of this behavior of my DH we found out later was due to depression/anger, and we never knew he had depression. They heard him say hateful things to me and be snappy to me, so our DIL told him he would never see his granddaughter again unless he went & got help, which he did. I knew he was sick and understood him and could forgive him. I also knew the caring side of him, the side that hurt so much, that cried so much. After she told him this, he got a doctor's appt. He is now taking antidepressants. This incident with the dog almost sent him over the edge. He had just lost his mother in 1998. To make matters even worse, she sued our "insurance co" (ha "us"). We were in shock that our son allowed her to get an attorney but this was for "their protection" to make sure the medical bills were paid. Our insurance company canceled our insurance and it took us months to find someone to insure us.

Since all this happened, I was told our granddaughter would never EVER be able to spend a night at our house, so "don't ask!" I had dreams of our son getting married and us being grandparents. We can go see her anytime we wish at their house, but she can "never be alone with us without them being here." They don't realize that accidents happen every day. (On Halloween, my birthday, they took me out to eat and they did let her stay for about 4 hours at our house - without them, so things are looking a little better). She is 6 years old now. I know we could go over their house more, but sometimes you just don't feel welcome. Sometimes when we go over, she goes about her housework and acts like we're not even there. She doesn't work outside the home, so I think this is rude. We never treat her this way when she visits.

I knew from the beginning things weren't going to be right as when she was first born, I told my DIL I was going to get a crib, paint the spare room, etc. She told me that as long as I had a cat, our granddaughter would not be sleeping in no crib at our home. I was not going to get rid of our cat that I loved so dearly. I called my sister long distance and cried and she said all I could do was "kill them with kindness". Our DIL's parents are allowed to keep her overnight and she even has a suitcase that says "going to grandma's house". I have to choke back the tears when I see this sitting in her room, as it doesn't apply to me. I now can't be a grandmother because my DH suffers from depression, and he can't be a grandfather. Many nights he cries and says "I would give anything to be able to take her to the park, or just to McDonalds, just the 2 of us." It breaks my heart.

I write this to say that if you CAN have a relationship with your grandchildren, please DO! We try, but they keep their distance. Our youngest son is wonderful to us and he thinks they treat us terrible. I look forward to the day when he marries, as then I know I can have my grandchildren over. They will have so many things that I could not do for my oldest son's children. More important than "things", we will be allowed to be a grandmother and pa-paw that we have never been allowed to be, and we have a lot of love to give them.

I hope the motive of this message gets through to some of you lucky grandparents.

Dee


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: To grandparents who don't want to be grandparents

You sound like you really have some serious problems to settle before your GK's get much older. I am sorry you did not discover your DH's depression sooner do hope he is getting better. Personally, it is hard to have a small child around a person with depression, as there is sometimes a jealousy problem that neither side sees. As to the pet issue, at 3 years --height is a sign to watch with any dog. This puts them eye level with the dog and most dogs feel threatened when ANYONE looks them straight into the eyes. It happen with my granddaughter many years ago. Unless the dog is raised with the children, it is a good thing to remove the dog from the area and put in a locked pen. I would suggest some counseling on both sides, especially with your son to find out what the problems seem to be.
Maybe just moving futher away would help. Just a thought DO NOT TREAT YOUR YOUNGEST SON'S FAMILY ANY BETTER THAT YOU DO THE OTHER FAMILY.. Remember there will be a another DIL and her family.
Has you husband taken anger management courses Yet? If not, WHY NOT? Just pills will not solve the problem.
Do you do any outside work/volunteer work? This would help you also. Do you have hobbies? Craft? That will help.
Good luck and take one day at a time
Marie


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RE: To grandparents who don't want to be grandparents

It sounds really bad, I am sorry to know that this type of relationship exists, everyone looses.

Can't give you any advice, but you might consider doing volunteer work that would involve you working with children, many little ones need a grandmother and it could be a win/win situation.

Good luck, it must really hurt to be in your position.


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RE: To grandparents who don't want to be grandparents

  • Posted by
    Auleeta
    (123@123.com) on
    Wed, Dec 12, 01 at 11:29

I, too, am concerned about the dog situation. Perhaps I'm reading things that aren't there, but you said the dog was released from a pen--that sounds like it wasn't truly a 'house pet' kind of animal. Animals who spend a lot of time in pens often aren't as well socialized as those who spend all their time with the family and are much more likely to act aggressively. I'm sorry, but in a case like that, allowing the dog to run free around a 3-year-old when no one was apparently keeping an eye on the situation was a really, REALLY dangerous thing to do--the result was predictable. You also said that they sued your ins. to cover their medical bills and seemed to have a problem with with that--that's what you have insurance for. Why should the parents have footed the bill for damage your dog and your husband's carelessness caused? Your message seems to indicate that the little girl was pretty seriously hurt ('she's healed nicely' and the fact that their suit was apparently successful seem to indicate her wounds were fairly substantial). Actually, a dog bite is one of the easiest ways to get your home-owners cancelled--the companies consider that responsible pet owners have a duty to keep their pets under control, that bites are preventable. You seem to be blaming them for the cancellation--I don't know many young families today who can afford major medical bills, they probably did the only thing they could. You could, of course, prevented the claim, by offering to pay the bills yourself, right?

Please consider how you would have felt years ago, if you thought someone caused harm and hurt to one of your children--you sound like you care about your children and would like to care about your gk--I imagine you'd have been pretty upset if someone else hurt one of them. Can you put yourself in the parents shoes and imagine how they might feel?

I feel very badly that you're not getting to see your granddaughter as much as you'd like, but I do agree with the above poster. Some counselling would certainly be in order--for all the family--so that you can work out the many issues that your family faces. Good thoughts to you, your husband and the rest of your family. I truly hope you find the help you need to work this all out.


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