Dear Annie: Two years ago, my son began dating "Layla," who then became pregnant. I went out of my way to include her in our family. I bought maternity clothes and baby outfits, took her out for lunch and paid for her to join us on a family cruise.
Layla e-mailed everyone to stay away from the hospital the day of the baby's birth, as she wanted "bonding time." I asked my son if I could bring flowers. He said "fine" and met me at the hospital. He invited me to get a peek at the baby through the window. I didn't see Layla, but when she heard I had been there, she became extremely angry, and later, requests to see my new grandson were rebuffed.
I sent an e-mail apologizing for upsetting her. I also suggested we seek counseling together. In response, she "unfriended" me from her Facebook page, sent me a list of all of my "wrongdoings" and told me I was not allowed to contact my son anymore. My son said he had to side with Layla because she is the mother of his child.
My grandson is now a year old. I saw a therapist who recommended I distance myself, which I have done. My son finally called to say he is marrying Layla in two months. He said they want to meet with me in a public place to discuss the possibility of allowing me back into their lives, but with strict conditions. I told my son the only way I would do this is if both of them first agreed not to keep me from my grandchild without good reason. I said the boy would be horribly affected if his parents bounced family members in and out of his life. He replied, "Our baby, our terms," and I haven't heard from them since.
It has taken me months to get back on an even keel, and I never want to go through this pain again. Am I obligated to go to the wedding? Should I write them out of my life? Is there anything else I can do?
— Numb in Nevada
Dear Numb: Layla sounds like a control freak, and your son has no spine. However, as the parents, they get to set the boundaries when it comes to their child, like it or not. If you want to see your grandson, you will have to play by their rules. It won't be easy, but it can be done. Only you can decide if it's worth the price.
Dear Annie: There is a girl at my camp who keeps insulting my family. She calls them "stupid," "annoying" and "lowlife losers." I have asked her to stop, but she won't. My parents know, but aren't much help. I also talked to a counselor about it, but that didn't work, either.
It is hard sitting there doing nothing. Listening to her just makes me so angry. I need to know how to take care of this.
Dear T.T.: This girl is trying to get a rise out of you, so the best thing to do is ignore her completely, as if you cannot hear her. You also could talk to your camp counselor or camp administrator about her abusive behavior, and check kidshealth.org for additional tips on dealing with bullies.
Dear Annie: This is for "Lost," whose husband is on drugs. The marriage is over, but she is afraid to leave because she has no money and no job.
Please tell her to go to a women's shelter, which can be found through her local police or sheriff's department. The shelter I was in provided counseling for my children and me, and helped with employment and housing. Please tell her not to give up. Help is out there, but you have to reach out and find it.
— No Name in Alabama
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