Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our mid-70s. Our three youngest grandchildren are 6, 9 and 10. They live in another state, and once a year our son brings them here for a week. The whole time they are here, my husband and I are full of anxiety and anger over the lack of respect, boundaries and discipline. I got anti-anxiety medication to take during their most recent visit. I am constantly reprimanding them for throwing chips all over the floor, breaking things, opening and closing A/C vents and so on.
My son and his wife are overwhelmed by these kids, but we do not want them visiting anymore. How do we tactfully tell our son? I have hinted about the exhaustion and frustration his kids cause, but he loves these kids and does not see what their visits do to us. It has begun to affect our health. Could you suggest a way to get this across to him without hurting his feelings? — Had Enough
Dear Had Enough: Your grandchildren are an extension of your son and of you and your husband. Banning them is not an option, but setting ground rules is. Have a frank conversation with your son. Tell him you need his help with discipline. Keep in mind that you are complaining about one week a year and your son is clearly living with poorly behaved children all the time. A mother's job is never done.
Dear Annie: My mom updated her will just before she passed and left everything equally to her kids (five of us) and her husband (my stepfather).
The house is to be occupied by her widower as long as he wants but owned by all six remaining beneficiaries. The issue is that an old, obsolete handwritten will was also left in her home in a location known to one child, "Christy."
Christy secretly asked our brother "Carl," who was staying at the house, to take the obsolete will and give it to her. Carl figured that because he knew where the old will was, he was entitled to take it. I still think what he did was wrong. Once Christy got the will, she made a point of letting all of us know that she had something we didn't.
It has been a year and a half since our mother's death. Despite my being polite to my brother, hosting him and his family for several days, when I asked for a copy of the will, he outright lied; he said he didn't think he had a copy, when we all knew he did. I have given and been so gracious to them. Am I wrong to be insulted and hurt?
I think he owes people an apology. He doesn't. I am ready to tell him to no longer contact me if this is how it will be. — Fed Up in Canada
Dear Fed Up: If you're worried the will isn't obsolete and might cause issues with the settlement of the estate, contact an attorney. If the will is definitely obsolete, why does it matter so much to you who has a copy? Their pettiness derives its power from your reaction to it. So rise above. Be too big for all the little drama.
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