Dear Abby: Two years ago, my son and his family moved a couple of hours away. He’s my only child. I know he’s busy with his wife, two children and his job, but I would like to hear from him more than every two weeks — or longer — just to know what is going on in their lives. He told me I could call him, but I feel like I’m imposing. I’d like to be more involved in their lives. I would also like to be closer to my daughter-in-law. We have had a couple of good phone conversations recently, but I sense that she wants her own space.
I’m not an overbearing person, and I’m working on expectations vs. reality, being overly emotional when my expectations are not met and fear of sharing these emotions because I’m afraid my son and his wife won’t like what I have to say. I feel they have been pushing me away. What can I do, other than wait for them to call and work on how not to get upset when they don’t include me? They have let the grandchildren stay with me a couple of weeks at different times over the summer.
I’m trying to do things with friends, but I really prefer being around my son and family because I feel happier (or used to). It has been heartbreaking.
— Working on It
Dear Working On It: Your son has told you it’s all right to call him, so you should. Because of the blessing of modern technology, there are other options as well — texting, video chat, etc. If you are unfamiliar with them, make it a point to learn.
Be grateful your son and his family are independent, and try harder to fill more of your time with hobbies and interests of your own. If you do, you will be a more interesting person to be around. Your son and his wife should not be the focus of your life the way he was when he was a child and you were responsible for him. It isn’t healthy for you or your relationship with them.