Old Children, New Wives
Dear Margo: I have a granddaughter, 20, with whom my son has had no contact for the past 17 years of her life! She is a college student and would make anyone proud as a daughter. The problem is, I got her together with her younger siblings, and now my son and daughter-in-law will not speak to me or let me see my younger grandchildren. I fear I may never see them again.
This is not the first time I have let them be together, and my son has known about it. What is so different now is what I can’t understand. The children do love one another. Was I wrong not to let my son know prior to getting them together? They are all my grandchildren. I now see my daughter-in-law as a person with her own interests. All my grandchildren are very close to me. Should I leave this alone and let them sort it out? –Thinking of My Grandchildren
Dear Think: I have no idea what caused the breach with your son and his eldest child, but a good guess would be that his present wife is No. 2, and she would just as soon not have any previous progeny around. I have seen this before, God knows.
Given the situation you describe (and a father who is capable of cutting off a 3-year-old), I would apologize (crossing your fingers behind your back) for having all the kids together, and ask what the problem with that was. If it is now his wish that they not be brought together under your auspices, then promise to see the younger ones separately from the college girl. When they are all older, they can make their own arrangements, and I’ll bet they will always share a bond. I hope this works out for you. –Margo, historically
When Nicknames Are Obnoxious
Dear Margo: My 27-year-old daughter is dating a nice 27-year-old man. They seem to be getting along well, and this could become more permanent. My problem is that the young man calls my husband (my daughter’s stepfather) “Buddy” every time we see them. My husband hates the casual reference. My daughter and I have both asked this young man to call my husband by his first name. He doesn’t see any disrespect in calling him Buddy and doesn’t plan to change. The boyfriend says he refers to everyone as Buddy (young and old) and not one other person has told him they didn’t like it. He says he’s just a friendly guy.
What’s that all about, and are we being old-fashioned? My husband doesn’t want to be around the boyfriend because of this, and it’s making it hard to develop a relationship with someone who could eventually be my son-in-law. –We All Have Names
Dear We: He may well be a friendly guy, but he is also a dim guy. Any young man who is requested to call someone by their proper name and refuses is passive-aggressive — or his gray matter is so limited that he cannot be bothered to remember names.
It may not seem like much, but I think this bodes ill for your daughter’s future with a man who 1) won’t accede to her stepfather’s request and 2) won’t honor her request. If your daughter does not see the warning signs here, tell her to prepare for a future with a man who will always do just as he pleases. He sounds like a jerk to me. In the meantime, ask your husband to go along with the “Buddy” business, if only because he’s the grownup. –Margo, appropriately
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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