Grandparents not coming to son's HS graduation- advice please...

<p>I applogize in advance for the long post. This is something that is going to bother me and I think I need some advice before I go and do something that may cause irreparable harm.</p>

<p>OK. This comes as no surprise since DH's parents have *never * visited us. However, I really thought that they might show up for our son's HS graduation. They live about 500 miles away- an 8 hour drive. We have offered them a place to stay with us or we'll pay for a hotel room if that would help.</p>

<p>Yesterday, DH talked to his mom. She called to thank him for the flowers we sent her for her birthday. He asked about DS graduation and she said that they won't be able to come- because get this.... she is having elective dental surgery the day (or week) before.</p>

<p>Here's some history (baggage)- DH's parents didn't come to our wedding over 20 years ago because we got married 3000 miles away. We were planning on getting married near DH's family home but after future MIL made racial statements about my maid of honor, we decided to get married in my home state. The excuse for not coming to their only son's wedding was- they had already done their annual travel to Las Vegas and didn't have the money to come west again. Even though they knew we were getting married 12 months in advance.</p>

<p>Flash forward 10 years- we drove 1500 miles to see DH's niece graduate from HS. DH and niece were really close, so we came to her graduation. When I mention that we are now a little closer to them and that they should visit us sometime, MIL tells me that "DH is the one who moved away, it's his responsibility to visit". We have visited his family every year for the past 10 years- going to see them for about one week. Usually this is the only "vacation" we take every year.</p>

<p>Here's my rant.... and I know this is totally me feeling this but it really infuriates me that they went to their other granddaughter's graduation (DH's niece) but won't come to our DS'. Granted the other graduation was in their state but this is too much. </p>

<p>Hubby has expected this all along and I knew deep down that they wouldn't come either. I was hoping they would make an exception this time. Again, this is no surprise. These are people that have never sent a birthday card to their grandkids. They only call them when we remind them that an important date is coming up. And no, they aren't senile- they are very young grandparents- 62 and 64 years old. When DS's announcement was sent to them, I wrote a personal letter telling them that it would mean a lot if they could come to this graduation. </p>

<p>So what do I do now? I was thinking about writing a letter to MIL- just me to her, telling her that ??? I figured this would happen, but the saddest part of all and something she may not be aware of is that her grandson "figured this would be the case". That based on their lack of involovment in their grandchildren's lives, they have missed out on something important. That I'm jealous of the time they spend/spent with their other 2 grandkids- the ones that happen to live with them because my SIL has medical issues and can't afford to live on her own? There's a lot of anger and I don't know if I should just let this go or if I should say something. I want to say something but I don't want to do any damage. ALthough at this point in time, I feel that this is a one sided relationship so what more can be damaged?</p>

<p>thanks for letting me rant....</p>

<p>any thoughts or suggestions on how I should continue would be greatly appreciated.</p>

<p>Don't write an angry letter. Just ignore them. Pretend they don't exist. They have shown over the years that they don't care. People like that don't change.</p>

<p>I can completely understand why you would be upset by this. And frankly, I don't understand these grandparents....not so much that they don't come to graduation, but more that they have never come, didn't attend your wedding, and have not sent so much as a birthday card to the grandkids. The graduation is just another thing in that pattern, but the other stuff seems even worse to me. </p>

<p>However, I would not make a big fuss because this is more of the same with them. And as a DIL, it is harder to make a fuss, than if they were your own parents. If I were you, I would simply tell them how very disappointed you are and that your son is too. I would ask your husband to say more than that if he wishes to do so. I would not go on a rant with them, but I'd make it known that your son is quite disappointed and leave it at that. Then you have at least expressed your feelings but have not done some angry irreparable damage.</p>

<p>You are mourning the fact that your son does not have the grandparents you hoped he would have.</p>

<p>It will be nice for you to be able to enjoy your son's graduation without having to deal with your in-laws, people you don't know very well and who may not be that pleasant to have around.</p>

<p>Use the money you would have paid for their hotel room to do something special for your son. He barely knows them, so I doubt he is really disappointed by their absence.</p>

<p>^
That is a nice idea.</p>

<p>While I empathize, I concur with the posters who advise that you not make a "federal case" out of this. </p>

<p>First, these are your husband's parents -- it is really for him to handle the relationship with them. IMO you can be supportive and encouraging, but you should not undermine the relationship/escalate things by complaining to them, although it is understandable that you vent to your H. </p>

<p>My husband's parents never visited us either; they too lived eight hours away. (They were older when they became parents so already somewhat elderly/retired when we married and had kids. But they were also very set in their ways.) They were the same with their other kids -- the kids were expected to visit them but they never travelled to visit their kids.</p>

<p>I used to joke that the road only went one way LOL! We would visit them for a week every summer while they were alive. Early on would go up for occasional holidays as well but once we had kids we did our holidays at home. </p>

<p>The up side, I always figured, is that I never had to deal with my mother-in-law being a guest in our home. The last time they were even invited to anything was for our first child's christening, and my H was deluded in thinking they might consider making it. After that we accepted the way it was.</p>

<p>They were interested and did care, though, as expressed in phone conversations and letters, and when we were with them.</p>

<p>While I did envy friends who had great involved in-laws (one of my friends is best friends with her mother-on-law!), I realize that is often not the case, and sometimes over-involved in-laws can be worse. I always got along well with my in-laws, and they liked me, but we were not close and they were not close to any of their grandchildren. My own mother was involved with our kids so they had that grandparent relationship. (My dad has been deceased for decades.) Also, my husband's sister and her family are closer to us, both geographically and personally, so I am glad for that relationship on my H's family's side.</p>

<p>My parents-in-law have now been deceased for some years and I am glad we got through with no friction between them and me -- that would only have hurt/been a stress on my husband. So I was always willing to visit them in the summer and supported H going to them any additional times he wanted/needed. He was very helpful arranging things when my mother-in-law was very ill in her last years, and I am glad for that. IMO we never regret doing the better thing.</p>

<p>However hurt you are by this, your H probably hurts more. </p>

<p>Focus on the joy of your child's accomplishments and your own family. Don't let bitterness over this detract from your child's event.</p>

<p>If there are any significant older adults in your son's life then invite them to sit with you during the ceremony and invite them to the graduation celebrations. We had our son's sax teacher who is like a grandparent do this and son was quite pleased that he came to his graduation.</p>

<p>thanks for the advice. The strange thing is - when we visit they are great- funny, personable. It's such a dichotomy.</p>

<p>As for our son not being disappointed.... we told him in advance that "don't be surprised if your GPs don't come". So I think that's why he's not showing too much disappointment. </p>

<p>Oh well. It's their loss. I just want them to know what they're missing. Maybe I'll write a letter and not send it. That usually helps. </p>

<p>I also think that this may be the year that we don't go for a visit. Although we do have a 14 year old daughter who still thinks the sun rises and sets on her GPs and not visiting will break her heart. Go figure.</p>

<p>I feel for you and I know it's very hard, but you do need to let go, as everyone has said, nothing will change. </p>

<p>My SIL didn't come to my older daughters' Bat Mitzvah over Thanksgiving weekend because they couldn't make the turkey dinner if they wouldn't be home to eat the leftovers (they're in VA, we're in NY). Can't remember the excuse for missing my younger daughters Bat Mitzvah. Yet, when she comes north with the two kids (haven't seen BIL in 15 years) to visit my MIL we have to drop everything and spend at least one or two days with them. Plus my husband has to pay for everything - hotel, meals, car rental, Broadway tickets! This woman makes a really good living, her husband is a stay-at-home dad.</p>

<p>We agree to at least a day for my MIL. My side of the family is very large and close, we get together all the time and my MIL is basically the only rep from my husbands side so she is so happy when her side is all together. But it does really peeve me and it's hard to let it go. I fight with my husband about not planning our summer vacation around her schedule when she couldn't even figure out how to come for our daughters Bat Mitvahs. </p>

<p>It's not your fight and, given their attitude, you're better off enjoying your day!</p>

<p>You have received some great advise. It would be nice if they were willing and able to make the trip happen, but having no expectations of them - even for a mailed card and gift - shoud help you all to avoid disappointment. I'm sorry for this void in your lives.</p>

<p>This is just the way it is. As disappointing as it is for you...I'd just let it go. My parents came to DS's high school graduation but that was it. DH's parents have been to the two high school graduations...and MIL is coming to DD's college graduation. At this point, it is going to be very complicated for her to make this trip, do all the walking and schlepping around with us for three very busy days. </p>

<p>Some families get together and others don't/</p>

<p>My MIL was the same way and, in some ways worse, because they were completely local to us. They always had an excuse. Once when I was 31 weeks pregnant with D2, I got off the express bus (literally) in front of their house and called them from a pay phone to ask if they could drive me two blocks down to the doctor's office as I was bleeding. They refused. It was always something like that, they'd promise to come and we'd wait and they would just not show up. As my girls got older and more successful in their lives, they simply didn't care or have any interest in their grandparents. Why should they have? My FIL died unexpectedly and my MIL got even busier, traveling all the time, doing whatever she wanted (as was her right) until she got cancer and it was me who drove her to the chemo appointments. Just before she died, she sat down and told me how sorry she was and how much she regretted not being a part of her grandchildren's lives. She said it was the deepest regret of her life that they wouldn't remember her very much. Sadly, she was right, there really was no one to mourn her. So, that's what the OP's in-laws are up against. They made a choice and the consequences will be theirs for eternity.</p>

<p>jyber209 Wow- we could have had the same in laws. The funny thing is, my hubby isn't hurt by this. It's what he expects. He has been treated like this by his parents forever.</p>

<p>I have always been the one to nudge him into visiting his family. I guess it's the ever hopeful and positive thought that one day..... one day they will realize ?</p>

<p>The good thing is that our son does have one GP that will be there (I hope). My mom is in a rehab facility about 3 hours away because she fell on a mini-vacation with friends. Ended up fracturing her hip and having hip replacement surgery. She is trying everything she can so she can come home and see our son graduate. Has even asked me to look into a wheel chair rental in case she can't handle all the walking.</p>

<p>So I guess I'll take a deep breath, write a letter that I won't send and enjoy my son's graduation from HS. He's a great kid, and nothing like his dad's parents. :)</p>

<p>thanks again for all the words of advice. You are all correct. there's nothing I can do or say that would really change anything, so I'll leave it be. </p>

<p>let's just hope they won't need elder care in the future..... :rolleyes:</p>

<p>"OK. This comes as no surprise since DH's parents have never visited us. However, I really thought that they might show up for our son's HS graduation. They live about 500 miles away- an 8 hour drive. We have offered them a place to stay with us or we'll pay for a hotel room if that would help."</p>

<p>What do you do? You enjoy graduation with out them. Meanwhile, I'd bet that neither your husband nor your son is that disappointed since your husbands parents have never visited your family. There's nothing surprising about your inlaws' actions now.</p>

<p>Enjoy your son's graduation and enjoy the people who come to celebrate with you.</p>

<p>Spending a lot of energy on this is a drain- go ahead and write the letter if it makes you feel better, but don't mail it.</p>

<p>My mother lived about 45 min away and my inlaws are in our end of town for my oldests' graduation- my mother brought a friends and my inlaws came, although neither they , nor my husband sat with us. ( this was the first time my inlaws had come to anything- except for a performance at the opera house when D1 was in ballet when she was 8)</p>

<p>When my younger daughter graduated from high school, my mother had given away her car ( to a niece), and she needed someone to come get her. I really did not have time to do so and my mother said she had a ride- but she decided not to come/couldn't get a ride. My H said his parents were coming- but they didn't - no explanation, no apology.</p>

<p>But it could be worse- they could want to go everywhere with us!</p>

<p>My local BIL and SIL planned a party on the day of our son's graduation, we even hosted a graduation party that evening. My BIL works with my husband and I had told my SIL when my S was graduating, because of some percieved slight they decided to do this, sadly the people hurt the most were my in-laws. I expect nothing from them, neither does my son. My husband was offended and that upset me. Since BIL pretty much works for my H it made things even more awkward.</p>

<p>I am going to take a different approach then most of the others.</p>

<p>This day is a lot about you, as parents, but more about them. We get wrapped up in the Norman Rockwell picture of how we want it to be, without ever including them in how they envision it. </p>

<p>My In Laws are not as drastic as yours, but if you asked my DD if she cared that they were there, the only reason she would say yes, is because she would not want to hurt her father's feelings. My Mom OTOH is a different story. </p>

<p>They are no longer kids. Unfortunately, your in laws lost a chance for love, because to your child they are probably no more family than the stranger on the street. I highly doubt he is heartbroken. You even stated he does not receive birthday cards, to him this is just to be expected and water off a ducks back. He probably feels relieved that he doesn't have to pretend that they are soooo close in front of people. Like I said, they are no longer kids, they can see people for who and what they are, you can't try to hide it anymore.</p>

<p>It might sound strange, but the fact that they are not going to be there may make the day more enjoyable. I say this because you won't feel the strain or stress of awkwardness, you will all be able to enjoy the day with those that know the triumphs and tribulations it took to reach this milestone.</p>

<p>It's a personality weakness. They don't go out of their way for others. </p>

<p>My in-laws are similar. Yet, my MIL expects EVERYONE to travel for HER birthday every year, which my H insisted that we do. I finally put my foot down because my older son has the same birthday and he needed his own bday celebrated. </p>

<p>Seriously, people like this aren't missed. Even if they were to come, it wouldn't be with the frame of mind that they were happily celebrating your son's graduation. Instead, they'd likely be complaining that they didn't sleep well in a strange bed, etc, etc, etc.</p>

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Yet, my MIL expects EVERYONE to travel for HER birthday every year, which my H insisted that we do. I finally put my foot down because my older son has the same birthday and he needed his own bday celebrated.

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<p>Are you sure your MIL isn't mine?</p>

<p>My MIL has driven me insane for yrs regarding her birthday. She is the only person I know that throws herself a big blow out every 5 yrs...starting at her 50th, this has included 3 times being held at a catered facility. Meanwhile, my FIL who is now approaching 77 has never had one party. (It would have been 4 times at a catered, but it had to be cancelled due to 12" of snow). The 5th time she decided to have a girls vacation for a week with her 4 sisters and left my FIL behind.</p>