Dear Annie: My sister-in-law of more than 40 years has again done something that I feel is disrespectful. She has taken one of my granddaughters under her wing. What's wrong with that?
A few years ago, our then-21-year-old granddaughter moved in with us to save money. We gave her three months, rent-free, to get on her feet; her grandfather also cooked lunch and dinner for her, without cost. She agreed to save $1,000 a month and use it to rent an apartment and eventually it became a down payment on a house.
She ended up living with us for almost two and a half years. During that time, she should have saved more than $20,000. Instead, she invested thousands into a scam business by a boyfriend.
We were ready to ask her to move out late last year, but then she learned she was pregnant. We agreed to support her until the baby was born. She agreed she would have her own apartment before the baby came but stay with us till she went into labor.
Well, she never actually went to look at apartments, just found excuses why none of them would work. One day, I found one she could afford, in a good neighborhood, not too far from her work. She refused to even go look at it, and over the next hour or so, in text messages, she became belligerent. When she said: "You're stressing me out! If I lose this baby, I hope you commit suicide!" That was the last straw.
We packed her stuff, put it on the porch and changed the locks. (We're in our 70s, we weren't prepared for an angry 20-something.) On that day, she had probably $7,000 in savings and could have easily rented an apartment.
Now, enter my sister-in-law, "Mayra." Mayra basically gave her a get-out-of-jail-free card and undercut everything the independence that we were trying to instill in our granddaughter. Mayra lets her stay there with her sometimes. She babysits for her. She lets her use her address for mail.
Meanwhile, our daughter lives in a group home provided by a church she never went to, has lost her job and blames us for all of it to anyone who will listen.
I don't want to confront by Mayra because I don't want to implode the family, again. But I don't want to pretend that nothing is wrong. So I've just been avoiding talking to her. How do I handle these two relationships, or better, how do I NOT? — Peeved Parents
Dear Peeved: You were wise to push this overgrown birdy out of the nest so that she might learn how to fly. Now, let her learn. Don't track her every move from your perch up above. If your sister-in-law chooses to take her under her wing, that is between the two of them, and it's in no way a personal affront to you. Once you unburden of the illusion that you can control your granddaughter's life, I think you'll find the resentment toward your sister-in-law starting to melt away, and you'll feel much lighter for it.
Dear Annie: I was surprised your answer to "No Thank You in North Dakota," who didn't want strangers buying him or her drinks at bars, did not include anything about the wisdom of sitting in a bar during the pandemic.
I understand the writer is a DJ, which I suppose could allow for social distancing, but sitting at a bar does not. This is no time to be sitting at bars. — Missing the Bar in Pennsylvania
Dear Missing the Bar: I missed an opportunity there; you're right. I implore all my readers to refrain from going to bars and dining indoors until we've gotten the virus under control with a vaccine.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]