By Alma Gill
Making a Difference Between the Grandkids
My husband and I are educated and very successful in our careers. We have been married for 10 years. I had a daughter when I was young, before I got married. She’s 15 now. My husband and I have two daughters together, ages 9 and 7. My husband loves my first daughter and treats her like his own child. The problem is my in-laws have never accepted my daughter as their grandchild. They are the best grandparents ever to my younger kids. They buy gifts and take them on vacations, but never include my oldest daughter. My husband has talked to them about their rejection of her and how it hurts me. They are defensive about it, but won’t change. I have allowed this to happen for too long, and I’m sick of it. I don’t want them in our lives and a part of our family anymore if they can’t treat all of the children exactly the same. How can I get them to understand that what they are doing is hurting our family?
To Name Withheld,
From one mother of a blended family to another, I certainly understand where you’re coming from. But it’s clear, you’ve watched three too many Hallmark movies, and you’re longing to be seen as the perfect family. Come close, so you can clearly hear me and give it a moment to sink in: Your in-laws are not your oldest child’s grandparents.
Calm down, and don’t stop reading because I didn’t say what you want to hear – it’s simply the truth. Lord knows I understand where you’re coming from. God bless Miss Hazel, she’s the blended grandma in our family, and I don’t know what we’d do without her. Heartbreakingly though, your MIL ain’t Miss Hazel, so why after all these years have you continued to fuel this fire?
Stop, immediately! You can’t change that woman, and you shouldn’t want your daughter involved in any half-baked, semi-committed, insincere relationship with anyone, including her “dontwannabe” step grandmother.
Significant relationships are birthed between wholehearted, fully involved, 100 percent intended participants. If her biological grandparents aren’t interested in building a relationship with her, then so be it. You fill in the blank as best as you can. Come on, Mama, you got this. Confidence and self-esteem are what you should be pouring into your daughter. You’ve concluded that just because your in-laws don’t include her, she’s receiving a lesser amount of love. That’s simply not true.
Your daughter is very special. She has great parents and a great set of sisters who I’m sure love her off the planet. You didn’t mention that your daughter has been traumatically affected. As a matter of fact, you didn’t mention her feelings or reactions at all. You said it hurts your feelings. So, get over it. Stop feeding into Grandzilla’s madness. Since you can’t stand the heat, remodel your kitchen.
Come up with creative ways to spend time with your daughter while her little sisters are visiting with their Granny. But here’s the key: keep it simple. At 15 she’d rather be socializing with her friends anyway. A few ideas that come to mind: Allowing her BFF to sleep over. How about Mommy and me pedicures? Plan Daddy and me rides to pick up dinner; maybe he can let her drive to the end of the block. I loved when my Dad let me do that. She’s eligible for her driver’s license next year, and graduation will be here before you know it.
You have so much to be thankful for. Drop your MIL’s hatefulness like a hot potato. Recognize the abundance of love celebrated between you, your husband and daughters. Gramz foolishness should not be recognized. It holds no value or worth when considering the blessing of your blended family.
Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.