Dear Annie: My significant other of 20 years is a great guy, and he’s been wonderful to me. Here’s the problem: “Bob” has an 11-year-old autistic grandson. Every time we have taken “Russell” on vacation with us, it hasn’t exactly been relaxing. I am 62 years old and work a difficult full-time job. I’d like a real vacation instead of babysitting a child with special needs. I have offered to take Russell on the weekends, but he says that isn’t good enough.
Here’s the kicker: Russell lives nearby, and Bob can see him anytime all year round, but won’t visit at all. Yet in the past 10 months, Bob has taken several short trips with his friends, mostly to go fishing.
These two weeks are my only vacation, and frankly, I am not up to having Russell the entire time. My daughter says I should be more compassionate and would feel differently if this were her child instead of Bob’s grandson. Am I being selfish? – Can’t Handle It Again
Dear Can’t: No, although we understand why your daughter wants you to be more compassionate. It bothers us that Bob won’t spend time with his grandson unless you are around to take care of the boy. This is unfair to you, making your vacation another “job.” It is also unfair to Russell and his parents, who undoubtedly resent that Grandpa isn’t willing to visit during the year.
Your offer to take Russell on weekends is kind, and we think Bob should take you up on it. So here’s the compromise: You have two weeks of vacation. Spend one week relaxing, and take Russell for the other. If Bob insists on taking him for two weeks, we recommend you spend one week on your own and let Bob learn how to deal with his grandson until you get there. And then take the boy on an occasional weekend so he spends more quality time with his grandfather.