My wife and I have two adult girls. One lives about an hour west of Toronto with two daughters, ages eight and six. The other lives five minutes away from us. She has a small dog who she brings along when she visits us from her condo.
The married daughter and grandkids have not had any contact with us except by FaceTime. We last saw them in February before the virus.
Our other daughter has never been inside our house since the pandemic started. We meet outside and we social distance with her and the dog. We occasionally wear masks as well.
We found out from the chatty granddaughter that their other grandparents (who are also from our same city) visited without masks and with no social distancing on the weekend.
There was also contact play between grandparents and kids, we learned. My daughter’s father in-law had his hair cut by his son. No masks were worn.
Our daughter living nearby is quite careful about the sanitizing instructions and still uses a delivery company for her groceries (rather than shop in stores). She won’t enter our house or visit anyone else, especially her sister.
It was also disclosed by my granddaughter today that the other grandfather has booked a resort in the countryside for one or two weeks in the summer.
Tagging along will be my daughter’s sister in-law, with two children plus her husband.
My wife and I are very concerned about the apparent lack of safety and great exposure that the other grandfather and his wife have pushed on our daughter and grandkids.
What actions would you see as appropriate to deal with this situation? We feel that both incidents are dangerous and inappropriate.
Worried Papa and Gramma
You can speak up, and should do so with expressions of caring along with solid information backing your concern.
But there are few other “actions” open to handling this situation without creating wide rifts between you and your married daughter’s family.
She, her children and her husband are living in their own bubble which clearly includes her in-laws.
Whether her husband or his father insisted upon this, it’s a done deal. During the resort stay, that bubble will expand to include the others. A total of 10 people.
That’s the number Ontario Premier Ford said on Monday June 8th, could now gather (if living outside the Greater Toronto Area, Peel, Hamilton, York, Durham, Halton, Niagara, Windsor-Essex, Lambton and Haldimand-Norfolk).
Even if the entire province is opened up to that number of people by the date of the vacation, there hasn’t been social distancing among most of this family group for a while.
I understand your hurt feelings, and your fears. But these are adults who’ve already made these decisions, and, fortunately so far, haven’t had to deal with a resulting virus infection.
Meanwhile, you’re caring parents and grandparents. So, if you still wish to raise the matter with your daughter, I suggest you focus on the addition of the sister-in-law’s family - four added people that likely also have their own bubble with other adults and children.
Stay alert to the reports from epidemiological, and provincial public health sources, watching for changes based on where the numbers of infections/deaths/tests and contact tracing are leading us.
Either we’ll be in the next phase of the pandemic with less restrictions, or some people like your daughter, her family and her in-laws are taking serious risks.
Alert her to consider the consequences.
Reader’s Commentary “As a reader of your Saturday column, “Our sex life’s been ruined by lockdown,” (June 6), I also noted the Dating Diaries column below about a woman who found her date terrific but lost interest.
She needs to review her priorities.
My short grandmother married, and never left, a tall, good-looking, self-centred, provider-husband who was an uninterested father/grandfather.
My mom arrived at their home earlier than usual one day and heard grandma screaming in pain. Grandpa was holding Grandma off the ground by her hair.
My wiry and fearless mom, brandishing a pick axe to demonstrate that she meant business, ordered him, in the loudest and only unladylike speech of her life, to set her mother-in-law down.
And, when he did that, she let him know precisely what she would do if he ever tried anything remotely like that again.
Shakespeare said it best: All that glitters is not gold.
Tip of the day:
Grandparents have a caring role in guiding/advising adult children, but giving orders is rarely helpful.