Dear Annie: I am hurt that my children and grandchildren do not include me when they have family get-togethers. They say they would have to clean their houses if I came, or they don't know when I am available. They expect me to call when I want to see them. They swear they aren't upset with me, but they never initiate a call. When I invite them to my house, the conversation revolves around recent outings and get-togethers at their homes to which I haven't been invited.
I have taken my grandchildren on many vacations over the years, but they are teenagers now and too busy. They don't want to go unless I include their friends, which I cannot afford. I recently decided not to call them and have had no contact in more than three weeks. Should I just go on without them in my life?
-- Hurt in Florida
Dear Hurt: We agree that their excuses seem flimsy, but they do not need to include you in every get-together or outing. It's perfectly OK for them to have these events with just their spouses and kids. You also know teenagers tend to be busy and that family obligations are not high on their list of priorities. We don't believe anyone is being intentionally hurtful.
We hope you will continue to call, email and invite them over. You don't need to take the kids on expensive vacations, but a special few hours with Grandma a couple of times a year — dinner at a nice restaurant or watching their favorite rock band together — would be lovely and help cement the bond. Think of ways to make the relationship warmer, instead of focusing on your hurt feelings and blaming them because you aren't closer.
Dear Annie: I have a suggestion for “Your Private Pool Owner,” who complained of people assuming an open invitation to swim.
When I was a child, a neighbor used this system: He posted a pennant when the pool was available. Green signaled adult supervision would be provided, and blue meant children had to be accompanied by a responsible adult. We children kept a close eye on that flagpole all summer long.
-- Susan in Baton Rouge
Dear Susan: We wish the adults would be as conscientious as the children.
Dear Readers: Don't forget to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms when you set your clocks back one hour.
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