Dear Amy: My husband and I retired to a wonderful Southwestern city.
Our two adult children are married and live in other parts of the country. They each have young children.
During the pandemic, my son, daughter-in-law and baby granddaughter in Florida were alone, with no nearby relatives – as were we.
After the pandemic, we decided that we should move to Florida to help them out, and in turn, they would be there for us as we aged.
They were also excited and encouraged us to purchase a home near them. We bought a home (over FaceTime!), sold our other home, quit our local clubs and activities and moved.
We quickly realized we had made a mistake and that we didn’t like living in Florida.
We assumed we would become an integral part of our kids’ lives, but their expectations were totally different. We only babysat twice in six months!
After six months, we moved back to the Southwest.
We are now working to resume our old lives, but my daughter-in-law no longer calls us or participates in calls to any extent.
I know we made a hasty decision that has resulted in hurt and bad feelings.
I also know that our expectations were unrealistic. However, I would love to resume a relationship with my daughter-in-law.
Our son is very cordial and generally eager to put our granddaughter on FaceTime with us. I’m reluctant to phone my daughter-in-law directly. I don’t want to make matters worse.
We must not be the only people afflicted with “pandemic panic” who made hasty decisions!
Dear Regretful: People make mistakes. People make blunders. Yours seems to have been a bit of a doozy, but you obviously have the means to undo this choice.
Your about-face also seems to have occurred at warp speed; it was a quick “whoopsie … we out!”
Surely you can imagine how bewildered your son and his wife might be about your recent behavior.
Write your daughter-in-law a letter or email. Own your embarrassment and apologize for the impact of your choice on them.
Say, “We are at a point in our own lives where we are trying our hardest to do what is best for us. I think the experience during the pandemic made us panic and we were too hasty in our decision to move to Florida.
We’re resettled and happy, but I’m embarrassed and upset by the impact our choice has had on you. I know we made a hasty decision that has resulted in hurt feelings. We love you and really want to make this right, so I hope you can forgive us. I really miss our contact with you. I hope you will communicate with us when you feel ready. You can express your feelings or frustration, and we will listen.”
Dear Amy: My son, age 15, has been playing baseball at a high level since he was quite young. There is no doubt that he is talented.
A couple of years ago, his coach told us that he believes our son has major potential. My wife seized on this and seems to believe that he could play pro one day.
I am more skeptical.
Our son sustained a tough injury last spring, tearing a tendon. The surgery was painful and his recovery has been slow.
Given what this has been like for all of us, I would like him to reassess his participation. My wife and his coach believe he should continue.
This has become a tension point in our family, so I’m looking for your objective opinion.
– Concerned Dad
Dear Dad: Overall, I think it’s wise to reassess everything – always! Maturing involves consciously reviewing one’s choices.
So yes, I’m all for reassessment. But your son is 15. He is old enough to decide if he wants to continue, and accept whatever consequences flow from his choice.
As parents, you should always leave the door open for him to decide – for himself – what he wants to do.
That includes continuing with his sport, stopping, or continuing now and stopping later.
Dear Amy: “Dog Tired” described a scenario that sounds like a Judge Judy case in the making.
The most frequent cases heard on that show involve 1) dog attacks, and 2) bridezillas. Dog Tired should wash her hands of this situation and let the bride deal with the consequences from injuries/damages caused by ill-behaved dogs.
Dear Reader: I agree! Perhaps the wedding invitations to this particular event should be addressed to “Future Plaintiffs.”