Dear Readers - Boxing Day! Long the highlight of the Christmas shopping season, with people lined up for blocks to get bargains, especially on big-box items like TV sets.
Today, a dilemma: Will you risk long lineups and chatting with strangers, while waiting to put on masks till you “have to” inside the store?
If so, your health is worth far more than a TV.
So is your life, your grandparents’ lives, and anyone else who might catch COVID-19 from you, before you even learn that you carried the virus from this event. For a TV.
Think about it, first. Please.
This is a story of two couples who met by happy “accident” 11 years ago. Now, I fear we are losing our closest friends.
We’re all four in our mid-60s, who’ve been travel buddies, cottage-visitors, and regular restaurant diners together since each couple had a child who married the other’s child.
We became in-laws! The bonds between us grew and grew. Our “kids” are now both in their mid-30s, married for ten years.
Our beloved and equally shared grandkids are ages eight and seven.
We were lucky parents and in-laws who got invited to join some of the overnight camping trips, all-day visits to theme parks, a week’s stay in a northern cabin, etc.
But the friendship went deeper than just being grandparent tag-alongs. We had dinners together at restaurants without our kids, similarly, bought tickets for special shows and some sports events.
Now, that close connection seems about to end. Our children are getting divorced.
Our son’s reasons are couched in unclear references to their having become “more like roommates.” We asked directly if he’d talked to a counsellor about this and were shut down.
Our friends - in what may be one of our last close conversations - said their daughter suspects there’s more to her husband’s desire to “move on.” Our son then told us it was “none of our business.”
We’re shattered and the other couple has said likewise. Do WE get counselling for a friendship breakup? How do we deal with our daughter-in-law in the future, since she openly suspects her husband of being dishonest about his reasons for separating?
How do we maintain closeness with our grandchildren as the parents go their separate ways, and perhaps bring new people into the “family?”
First, be supportive to your own adult child who’s likely reeling from the events that led to the word” divorce.”
Then, without being too intrusive - they are adults - ask if they’ve had professional counselling?
If your son dismisses your right to ask, be clear that you’re not telling him what he can or can’t do in his life but thinking of counselling for both parents to get advice regarding the grandchildren’s best interests.
Meanwhile, stay close to those youngsters any way you can, especially during this time of drama, stress and other potential changes in their home life.
If your daughter-in-law stays in contact with you, be kind and as supportive as possible under the circumstances.
As for the friendship with her parents - if things settle to a new pattern that allows for in-law-family contact, model what civility looks like for your children and grandkids: If you host a future Christmas for example, insist on inviting the “other” grandparents, if possible.
Encourage each parent to invite the other one to their children’s birthday celebrations. It’s possible for those arrangements to work between separated parents who put the kids’ adjustment first.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose relationships with men never delivered the “unconditional love” she saw in her parents’ relationship (December 4):
Reader – “Her parents and herself were three persons who gave her unconditional love and taught her to believe she deserves to get what she’d never think to give.
“Her lover’s moving for a better career slot that he’s worked hard for, educated himself... and she feels left out?
“Follow him. Give out what you want back.
“She should forget about married men who are “just about to leave” their wives.
“If he’d do it to his wife, he’ll do it to you.
“Booty calls? And you expect an exclusive relationship from that?
“Maybe the wife looks the other way, if she has the four- bedroom house, and legitimacy in the community.
“You've tossed away some opportunities already. I think it’s YOU who doesn’t want to commit.”
Tip of the day:
Marriage break-up affects even the in-law parents/grandparents caught in the drama.