Dear Amy: Several times now, I have been invited to visit the homes of old friends during my travels to distant states, but when I have done that, I’ve been surprised at how inhospitable some people are.
They know when I will be there, and I make sure to call an hour before arriving. Just last week, I visited a person I have known since grade school.
She was waiting for me on her porch.
It was very hot, and I had driven for hours. She was sipping iced tea. I had to ask for a glass of water.
Then she announced that I would take her out for lunch (that is, I had to pay) and that would be enough for us to eat for the rest of the day.
She did offer for me to stay there that night.
Several times, I had to ask for a glass of water. It was 95 degrees out. After chatting all day, I was shown my bed. No shower or towels were offered.
I got up early and her husband was making a cup of Keurig coffee for himself.
I waited for him to offer me a cup, but he did not. I asked for a glass of water. When I left (fled), this friend said, "Oh, come back and visit next year."
I just cannot imagine treating a guest this way.
What do you think?
– Upset Guest
Dear Upset: I agree that this is not the way to treat a guest.
Some people don’t seem to have the skill set to roll out the welcome mat, and this might be because they are not well-traveled, themselves. One way to learn how to be a gracious host is to have the experience of being a grateful guest.
However, I’m not sure you really qualify as a fully-invited guest, because you seem to have reached out to these friends as more of a way-station during your travels.
Years ago, I had a distant friend call at the very last minute and I offered her a bed for the night. She brought her own sheets and towel, tea, granola, etc., almost as if she were camping. I was impressed that she was so prepared to be such a low-trace guest. (I was extremely happy when she agreed to stay a second night.)
You might feel less put-out and thirsty if you had brought a few of your own supplies – just in case.
Dear Amy: My daughter has four children.
Three of her children have been taken/given to the other parent/grandparent to raise.
I am not allowed visitation with them. I’m not even sure where they live.
My fourth grandchild (my granddaughter) is currently with my daughter.
Every time my daughter gets mad or upset with me, she no longer allows me to see her child.
My daughter is very manipulative.
At this point I believe that my daughter is verbally and emotionally abusive to the child. Could that be grounds for me to get custody?
Or how do I mend this so I can still see my granddaughter?
– Distraught in KS
Dear Distraught: If you believe that your daughter is abusing this child, you must report this to Child Protective Services and let them investigate.
It is unclear if these other grandparents are raising her other children via a casual or official arrangement, but with three children removed from her care, I assume that she is known to CPS.
You should contact a social worker at CPS to discuss your options, but more importantly, to try to protect this child.
As long as your daughter is raising her child in her own household, she has the right any parent has to deny contact between her child and another person.
However, in my opinion, the more you allow your daughter to use access to her child as a tool to control you, the more she will do just that.
Manipulation only works if you allow yourself to be manipulated.
Dear Amy: The letter from "Blank Slate Mom," who’d had her parental rights terminated, was one of the saddest I’ve read in a long time.
You calling her an "inadequate parent" was piling on – and totally obnoxious.
I’m disappointed – in you.
Dear Upset: The reason I called this mother "inadequate," was because in her question, she claimed that she wasn’t "an inadequate mother." However, abandoning your young child and moving several states away is the very definition of "inadequate," and I wanted to make that clear.