Posted: Friday, July 6, 2012 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My daughter and her husband moved in with us last year in order to save money and someday raise a family. We enjoy having them here.
The issue is my son-in-law’s 5-year-old boy from his previous marriage. The custody arrangement states that he is entitled to have the child for a month during the summer for extended visitation. I foresee this being a big adjustment for my husband and me. It’s not that we don’t like the child, but we don’t feel all that attached to him. Also, we are done raising our children and are not crazy about the thought of having a toddler for a month. This boy needs to be entertained constantly, and we just don’t have the energy.
My daughter and her husband did not address this with us before they moved in. I adore our son-in-law and want them to treat our house as their home. But is it wrong of me to feel inconvenienced? How can I make it clear that I do not want to be a babysitter without hurting my son-in-law’s feelings? — Feeling Inconvenienced
Dear Inconvenienced: We urge you to accept this 5-year-old boy and make him part of your family. It isn’t his fault that his parents are not together, and he will look to you to be his grandparents if you permit it. We know it’s difficult to have little children underfoot, but someday your daughter may have kids, and you will be faced with this same problem. If you don’t want to baby-sit, it’s OK to say you don’t have the energy for that. But you risk alienating your son-in-law if you reject his child. Please make the best of it for the month. Your daughter will be so grateful.
Dear Annie: This weekend I was given two concert tickets that cost $32 apiece. I invited a friend to attend with me. The event was an hour away, and we used her car to get there. On the way, we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. When we received the check, she said, “I’m going to let you pay for this since your tickets didn’t cost you anything and I paid for the gas.”
Annie, the fuel bill was less than $10. Still, to keep the peace, I paid the restaurant bill and the tip. Have you ever heard of this before? It was a new one for me. — Orlando, Fla.
Dear Orlando: The tickets may have been free, but you chose to invite this particular person when you could have given her ticket to someone else. Since she paid for the gas, however, a more equitable arrangement would have been to split the cost of the lunch.
Dear Annie: My situation was similar to that of “Need Another Opinion,” whose wife wants to take in her special-needs sister.
After two years of marriage, my mother-in-law had a stroke, and my husband moved her in with us. It was impossible from the start, and I knew we’d never be able to have kids if this kept up. After a year, I said “her or me,” and he put her in a home.
Two years later, when our daughter was a toddler, my mother-in-law decided she didn’t like the place and insisted on moving back in with us. I begged, pleaded, shrieked, but he wouldn’t budge. She moved in and made life impossible. Within six months, I’d had enough and I left him. That was eight years ago.
My ex is now on public assistance because the cost of caring for his mother and paying child support is too much for him. He hasn’t seen his daughter in three years because he’s too busy with Mom. I remarried, and my daughter loves her stepfather. Under no circumstances should “Need” be forced to take the sister into his home. If his wife wants to spend her life as a caregiver, that’s up to her. — N.Y.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 7.6.12