Dear Annie: I am distraught by my mother-in-law and father-in-law. My husband and I have been happily married for more than 20 years, and we have three great boys. My in-laws make no effort to see our family. My kids' sporting events and accomplishments go unrecognized. What makes it harder to deal with is that they are involved with all their other grandchildren. My husband is an absolutely amazing father. Any mother would be proud of him. I try so hard to be a good wife and mother.
How do I continue to have a relationship with my in-laws when they show no interest in having a relationship with me or my kids? I call my mother-in-law; she doesn't return the calls. We hand-deliver the boys' game schedules; she says she never gets them. We give gifts, and she doesn't even acknowledge them. And she will "forget" to invite us to family events.
I know that my husband is hurt and wonders why he isn't good enough for their attention. I'm afraid to talk to my mother-in-law because, knowing her personality, it would make waves with the other siblings. The other daughters-in-law love her.
To my mother- and father-in-law, I'd like to say: Our boys see all their teammates' grandparents at their sporting events and know that you choose not to come to cheer them on. And when we go to their cousins' games and see you there, it hurts them.
To all you parents and grandparents out there: Don't play favorites.
-- A Family Left Out
Dear Left Out: It's not so much that you are being left out as they are missing out. Your sons and husband sound wonderful.
You might encourage your husband to stand up to his parents and express how hurt he and his family are by their indifference. Perhaps there is some long-held grudge they're holding that would come to light if he confronted them. In any case, don't worry too much about what they think. Any parents who intentionally play favorites with their children or grandchildren are not worth trying to curry favor with.
Dear Annie: I'm 81 years old and still fairly active. I'm in fine enough health.
My problem is that I wake up at night and worry about what to do with all the stuff in my large house. My daughter used to help me, but she is busy with her own life.
I need to talk with a senior counselor who can help me work out a plan and direct me to resources that can help me dispose of my items. Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
By the way, I think many seniors are struggling with different issues that aren't dire but cause sleepless nights. It would be a great service to encourage seniors to send questions that are about their lives, because there are more and more people who are moving into the senior years and don't know what to do.
-- Tossing and Turning
Dear Tossing and Turning: The National Association of Senior Move Managers helps seniors downsize their possessions, whether they're actually moving to a new location or they're staying at home. Contact the NASMM at 877-606-2766.
I'd like to echo your sentiment. I would love to hear from more seniors about the issues they're facing. Please write.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.