Dear Annie: After my bitter divorce, my son decided to live with his father in another state. I have spent thousands of dollars on airplane tickets, hotels, car rentals and restaurants. I have never forgotten my two grandchildren’s birthdays.
Here’s the rub: To save money, I have traveled alone and stayed with my son. Recently, I stayed for four days. After traveling 1,000 miles, I spent two hours in a shuttle because my son did not pick me up at the airport as promised. When I arrived at their house, there was nothing to eat. I had to ask my son to make something, as I do not feel comfortable in their kitchen. My grandson gave up his bed for me, and the room was a mess (to say the least).
On one of the four nights, they left me alone while my daughter-in-law went to a concert with her girlfriends and stayed overnight, my grandchildren had sleepovers, and my son went to a bar (he is a hardworking alcoholic).
When my granddaughter showed me her eighth-grade graduation book, she talked about her loving family and mentioned her grandparents on her mom’s side. (They live close.) She never once mentioned my husband or me.
Do I continue to travel all these miles for this type of abuse, or do I go only when I can afford a hotel and car rental? They seem to have busy lives and make no time for this grandma. – I Have Feelings, Too.
Dear Feelings: It’s difficult to be the grandparent who lives far away. It’s expensive to travel, so those visits are infrequent. It takes effort to maintain a close relationship, and it sounds as if your son and his wife prefer not to extend themselves, which is sad. You don’t have to travel more often than you can afford, and be sure to invite your son and his family to visit you, as well. Then find other ways to stay in touch with the grandchildren – Facebook, email, texting and phone calls. They need to know you better.