Dear Ann: I have one son who is married and has two wonderful children. Unfortunately, I do not get along with my daughter-in-law. We never liked each other, but two years ago, things took a turn for the worse. During a visit we had a terrible argument, and both of us said some unkind things. Finally, I asked her to leave my home.
Since then, she has refused to speak to me. Worse yet, she will not allow me to see my grandchildren. I have tried numerous times to apologize, but she hangs up the phone when she hears my voice. I am allowed to speak to my son and grandchildren on the phone if they answer first, but I have not seen them in over two years. I sent my daughter-in-law a birthday card several months ago, but she tore it up, put the pieces in another envelope, and mailed it back to me.
My heart is breaking, Ann. Is there any way I can fix this? Lake Worth, Fla.
Dear Lake Worth: The wounds inflicted two years ago when you and your daughter-in-law had that "terrible argument" must be very deep. How sad that she is using your grandchildren to punish you. Your best hope is to get a third party to intervene. I suggest a family member who has her respect, or perhaps your doctor or clergyperson might step in.
Down the road, if she cannot find it in her heart to forgive you, she will regret it of this I am absolutely certain. Perhaps if your husband will mail this column to her, it might help. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
Dear Ann: My brother married a wonderful girl last December. They are both attending college full time and have part-time jobs. Because they are so busy, they failed to get their thank-you notes out promptly. One of our elderly relatives was extremely upset (he used the word "offended") when he did not receive a thank-you note immediately. He has told my brother that they are not welcome at the family vacation home this winter.
In my opinion, this relative is being too harsh. My brother is the kindest soul in the world, and his wife is a gem. They would never deliberately do anything hurtful. Please tell me, Ann, how much time does a person have to write a thank-you note after a wedding? Also, how can they make this up to our elderly relative? This breach in the family is making several people uncomfortable. Michigan Miseries.
Dear Michigan: If the wedding was in December, the thank-you notes should have been written and sent no later than February. You don't say whether or not the elderly relative lives in the same city as the newlyweds. If so, a visit to apologize in person may be helpful. In any event, I hope the rift can be mended and soon for the mental health of all concerned.
Dear Ann: I was interested in the comment you made saying the reason our government does not ban tobacco is because they want the tax revenue. Your exact words were, "It's the money, honey." I thought you might like to see what Napoleon Bonaparte said about tobacco a couple hundred years ago:
"This vice brings in 100 million francs a year in taxation, and I will certainly forbid it at once when you can name a virtue that will replace the revenue." D.C. in Stirling, Ontario.
Dear D.C. in Ontario: Apparently, the situation hasn't changed much in the past 200 years. And if Napoleon said it, we shouldn't pick his bones apart. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)