Am I making too much of this?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-26-2003
Am I making too much of this?
7
Sat, 07-12-2003 - 12:45am
I'm not sure where to start with my question/problem so I'll try to give a very brief history for the sake of background information. In 1988, my father and his mother had a falling out that resulted in my parents selling the family farm and the 3 of us moving away in 1990 (I have two older brothers that had already moved out on their own). My grandmother had stopped speaking to us for some time before we left and have not spoken to her since, except for maybe a handful of emails between her and myself about 2 years ago. Over the last 2-3 weeks - I have had a very strong feeling that I need to go see her and have been making arrangements to do that. My problem is that she expects me to stay with her. I have an uncle who has kept in contact and has been somewhat of a liaison between us. In his conversation with her, she said it would be "unthinkable" for me to stay anywhere else and when I told him I was not comfortable staying there, he said I needed to be careful and that this is a "very delicate situation". I know other people in this town that I could stay with, but because this was going to be such a difficult trip - I had planned to stay in the only hotel in town so I could have some space after seeing her again. I'm frustrated that I suddenly have to be very concerned for her feelings and not step on any toes when my feelings and the feelings of my brothers and parents have not been enough of any concern to her to initiate contact after all these years. The minimal contact between me and her has always been initiated by me! A couple of my friends that I told, said I needed to get over it and just stay with her, but the thought of staying there actually makes me feel ill. Am I making too much of this? Do I need to get over myself and stay there? Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 07-12-2003 - 4:19am
Im not close to my grandmother either (also dads mom). She has made us feel like second class citizens over and over and finally told me i should drop out of college to help my mom with my sister (sister is handicapped). So GM and i had it out and were very distant. My mom was ok with it because GM never spoke to her anyway. Finally a few years ago we started talking periodically through email (like you i started making contact again).

Now you know i have some personal knowledge here is my advice... go ahead and accept her offer but dont hesitate to move to a hotel if you feel she is being pushy or mean. Explain once again your reservations about staying there with her since the relationship has been strained. If she still insists let her know right off that you respect her but you expect the same respect in return and if not you are gone, whether you go home or to a hotel is up to you.

I know that the Bible says honor your mother and father but i have always felt that that and respecting your elders should go both ways. Its hard to get respect without giving it.

Good luck and i know you will make the right decision :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Sat, 07-12-2003 - 8:59am
After several years of no communication, I contacted my father for a visit - when I knew I would be passing through his home state. He offered a room for the night, but I stayed in the State Park instead (not enough money for a motel and no friends nearby), sleeping in my car rather than a bed in his house. So I understand how you feel, and no, I don't think you're making too much of this.

My best advice to you: Make this visit a very SHORT one (an hour or so) just to re-open the lines of communication and "feel" each other out. Any longer would put undue stress on both of you at a time when you two don't even know each other, plus the stress of the *family* situation. Don't even plan to spend the night anywhere in her town.

To avoid confrontation, you might try to schedule the visit in a way that does not require you to spend the night. (Sorry Grandma, I have to be in X-town by 6:00 tonight - or my schedule only allows me to visit for a few hours and I have to catch my plane, or whatever.) Heck, ARRANGE your trip so that you will have only a few hours in her town, in the middle of the day, and that you HAVE to be elsewhere later.

I think part of it is Grandma's pride - what will the neighbors and her friends say if her granddaughter spends the night in a motel or with friends instead of with Grandma? They'll think Grandma is an ungracious and selfish hostess, or that her granddaughter is a selfish and unmannerly girl, that's what. (Don't laugh - to many older folks this is important, whether we think it is right or not.) So you might consider giving her an out that lets her *save face* - an excuse for why you cannot spend the night that lets both of you off the hook.

I'll bet Grandma is as anxious about this trip as you are. Planning a brief visit might relieve her nerves, too. Then if you find the visit to be comfortable and you are having a good time, you can make plans to come back and stay longer, or re-arrange your travel plans to stay a little longer on this trip.

Best of luck to you, whatever you decide to do. And please come back here and let us know how it turns out!

Msfit


                  &nbs

Avatar for cl_starrzz_n_moonzz
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 07-12-2003 - 9:23am
Well here are my two cents. I think you should do what you feel comfortable doing. Whether this is staying with your grandma or staying in a motel. Like your uncle said this is a "touchy" situation. I would(if I couldn't stay with her) let her know that you are not ready just yet to go as far as staying with her and you would feel more comfortable elsewhere. If you go for the visit and sit and talk with her maybe things will not be as bad and then you could decide to stay with her, but I would have other plans until I seen what was going to happen. Things like this is best to take slowly(IMO) because if you rush things and the problems aren't cleared up we sometimes tend to sweep them under the rug and they come out eventually. So take your time and let your grandma know that there is no disrespect in not staying with her just that you don't want to take such a giant step after all this time. I am sure you will make the right decision in the end and I hope that you can get two can work out and freely talk about what happened in the past. I am sure you will gain alot of knowledge you didn't know and this will be a growing experience for the both of you. Please let us know how things go and how you are doing. Until then~~~~~Michelle
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-26-2003
Sat, 07-12-2003 - 2:20pm
Thank you for all of the suggestions and support! I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but I still have a few days to think about it.

Thanks, again -

Kristi

Avatar for cl_2and1more
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Mon, 08-04-2003 - 3:49pm
Kristi,

I was not here when you started this post but having read it, I wondered how it worked out for you. Where did you stay? Was the visit good? What are your future plans?

I hope to hear back from you so that we can all learn from your experience.

Melissa

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-26-2003
Wed, 08-27-2003 - 9:14pm
I'm sorry for taking so long to respond. The trip was very difficult. My husband and I planned to leave Saturday morning and drive back Saturday evening (it's a four hour drive to a very small town in Western Kansas - no airport - one icky hotel in town) and my in-laws were going to keep the kids. Well.....Friday afternoon, my MIL called to say that she had hurt her wrist earlier in the week and thought it might be broken and wasn't up to keeping the kids. Needless to say, I was more than a little upset. We ended up taking the kids (ages 7 and 3), and still planned to try to come back the same night, even if only part way. We didn't want the kids to know we might be staying the night somewhere, because it's always such a treat to them, but this trip was so stressful, the thought of staying was just too much for me. I tried to explain to my DS (the 7 year old) that I had a grandmother he had never met and why he hadn't met her. He was also told that this trip was going to be very difficult and possibly sad for me and that he needed to be on his best behaviour. Anyway - to make a long story a little shorter, DS saw the suitcase and announced that we must be spending the night. He made such a scene at my grandmother's house, that there was no way we could leave that evening without making the situation worse. Nothing about the visit was terrible, but it was very sad. She never asked about me, or my children, or my parents - no one. She talked the entire time about "her kids" this and "her kids" that - meaning her other two children. She showed me a picture taken a couple of Christmas's ago of her and her other two children and their kids and had the nerve to say to me that it was all the family she had left. I didn't sleep at all that night and couldn't wait to get out the door the next day. Right now - I feel like I can be through with her and have no regrets and it won't bother me anymore that she's not in my family. For my dad's sake, though, I will be polite and continue to keep some kind of contact with her in the hopes that she will come around and make some sort of reconciliation with my dad. I'm glad that I did it, but I don't want to do it again! Thanks for your support.
Avatar for cl_2and1more
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Thu, 08-28-2003 - 2:22pm
Thanks so much for updating us and letting us know how the trip went. I'm glad that you have peace about the trip and you can see a clearer now that it is over. Honestly, when the babysitting fell through, I would not have went. You showed a lot of courage to "make it happen".

Watever choices that you make now about your relationship, you can have a peace about it and not let anyone push you.

The best to you,

Melissa