Dear Amy: My grandmother is 91 and lives on her own. Her husband died a year ago.
Although she has a few other grandchildren locally, I have always been her favorite because I was the first grandson.
My mom lives less than a mile away and sees her almost daily, and my grandmother talks to her neighbors, so she isn’t totally isolated.
I am in my 40s and live 20 miles away.
Ever since I learned to drive, my grandmother has asked me to come over for dinner. She often tries to lock me into a date for the next dinner before the one I’m eating is even finished.
This has always been annoying.
Over the years I would jokingly complain about it, but let it go.
This past year, with her living alone, this has gotten worse.
Now she expects me to come at least twice a week and complains if she doesn’t get enough one-on-one time with me.
She also has been complaining that “It has been a while” since she last saw me when it has only been a few days.
I cringe when she calls or texts because I know I’ll be asked to come over for dinner. Then I have to come up with some excuse – or cave.
I could visit three or four times a week and it still wouldn’t be enough! I don’t want her to stop inviting me over, I just don’t want to make it a part of every conversation.
Without sounding selfish or uncaring, how do I tell her that this kind of behavior is annoying and makes me not want to answer the phone?
— Favorite Grandson
Dear Favorite: I do not give you permission to give your 91-year-old grandmother the brush-off.
One solution is to have a “standing date” once a week with her. Every Sunday afternoon, you will drive over to see her. If you can also see her at other times, that will be a bonus for both of you.
If she agitates about the next date, remind her: “Sunday is just four days away. I’m looking forward to it!”
Your grandmother was widowed last year. She has been through a lot. Her memory may be failing.
Come on, man! You can handle a little annoyance. Show up.
Dear Amy: I appreciate the support you show in your column toward extraordinary fathers.
You ran a question from “Conflicted,” whose father always gave her spending money whenever she went on vacation. (Conflicted’s husband was offended by it.)
In 1941, my dad was five years old when his mother passed away.
One week later, his father dumped all eight children onto the state to grow up separately — being used as farm hands at various locations across the state.
It was a lonely, abusive, and sad childhood.
When he was 13, he ended up at a home next to my mom’s farm, and the two kids fell madly in love. It really was an incredible love story.
My father spent his entire life giving everything he could to our family.
Every Mother’s Day after I became a mother, he gave me money to buy flowers for my yard and vegetables for our garden.
Every scratch ticket he won he put in a card and surprised me for no reason. Every event, every vacation, and every holiday he made extra special with all the wonderful things he did.
The void that has been left in our lives since this wonderful man died is enormous.
The legacy of his selflessness and generosity lives on, as I am my father’s daughter, and I have passed these lessons on to my own children.
Conflicted’s husband should be proud that his wife has a thoughtful and generous dad. It’s a beautiful attribute.
— Missing My Dad
Dear Missing: Thank you for this tribute to the tremendous power of love to overwhelm adversity.
(Excuse me now, because I seem to have something in my eye…)
Dear Amy: As someone who grew up with alcoholism running rampant on both sides of my family, “Disgusted”left me truly disgusted.
Amy, your advice was spot on. Disgusted’s friend has an addiction, and addiction is a disease.
It’s not a huge ask to support this friend by removing her access to alcohol.
If not enjoying alcohol socially is so inconvenient for Disgusted, her friend would probably have better luck with recovery not having a “friend” who would shame her for relapsing.
— Addicts in the Family
Dear Addicts in the Family: I appreciate your insight and awareness.
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