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Home > Columnists > C.E. Marraffino
May 21, 2012

All Grown Up and Ungrateful

Dear Annie: My husband and I have five adult children between us, all making a good living. Some of our children expect us to pay their airfare to come visit us, in addition to picking them up at the airport, being their taxi service so they can go out drinking at night and letting them use our car. At no time does anyone put gas in the car or even treat us to a cheap breakfast.

During a recent visit, we made reservations for dinner with one son, his girlfriend, their daughter (who lives nearby) and the daughter's boyfriend. That morning, my husband drove them to the beach (10 miles away). They then called to say they ate a late lunch and asked that we push back the reservation and that my husband pick them up from the daughter's house and bring them home to change. It seems the daughter didn't want to drive the 10 miles to our house.

I adamantly said no to my 74-year-old husband. These "kids" are so self-absorbed that they think nothing of forcing us to accommodate their schedules with no thought to ours. I have told my husband that from now on, the kids must rent their own car when visiting. I'm tired of being their private chauffeur. Am I overreacting? — Selfish Guests No Longer Welcome

Dear Guests: Of course not. If your children are old enough to have kids of their own, they should not need to be driven around by their parents. But we recommend a tactful approach. For the next visit, simply say, "We wish we could pick you up at the airport, but it won't be possible. We suggest you rent a car so you can have your independence." You also can mention how nice it would be if they treated their folks to a meal once in a while to thank them for their hospitality.

Dear Annie: I am a divorced woman in my 50s and the mother of two beautiful daughters. When they were born, we chose to pass on my first name to both girls as a middle name. It's been a family tradition for the past four generations.

Recently, my eldest daughter informed me that she legally replaced her middle name with her maiden name. I was stunned that the name I passed on to her with pride was cut out entirely and forever. We are on good terms, and I don't believe she intended to hurt me. And I don't have a problem with her choosing her father's surname. Normally, I'm pretty laid back, but this one stings.

I'd like to ask why she made this choice, but I'm afraid it might make her think I'm too sensitive and she won't share future decisions with me. I keep hoping there is a sensible, rational reason that would relieve some of the hurt. Perhaps if I get it out in the open, I can let it go. Any thoughts? — Name-Dropped

Dear Name-Dropped: It's OK to ask, as long as you don't get teary-eyed and make her feel guilty. Or perhaps she confided her reasons to her sister and you would feel more comfortable asking your younger child. But be prepared to accept with equanimity an answer you may not like.

Dear Annie: "Wondering" wanted to know how to ask his parents about his inheritance so he could plan his retirement accordingly.

Recently, our son demanded his share of his "inheritance." The ramifications of this have been heartbreaking. Because of money already given to him, we made the difficult decision to exclude him from any further inheritance at our death. He received a paid-in-full statement that said, "This is your share that you demanded via an attorney, notarized and recorded through the courts."

So, "Wondering," let sleeping dogs lie. You will get yours (if anything is left) at your parents' death. Prepare and plan for your future yourself. — Sadder and Wiser

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

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This arictle keeps it real, no doubt.

Olga


03/28/2014
Hi Heather, I know this is years too late and I don't know if you will see this but I couldn't help myelsf. My best friend who has been reading your blog for years recently sent me a link to Mike's post On the Wings of a Nightingale . I am a NICU nurse and I cannot express how much I love my job. After reading Mike's beautiful words I went back and started reading your story from the beginning during the few minutes of calm that periodically arise during a night shift (needless to say it took me weeks to get through Maddie's time in the NICU!). It took all of a split second for me to fall hopelessly in love with you, Mike and Maddie. Despite the fact that I am meeting your incredible family years after these posts were written and I knew from the beginning that your time with Maddie was far too short, her passing was still shocking to me and I have to admit that I have spent the past few days sobbing as I work through your grief with you. I'm certain that three years later you know this already, and I hope that as I continue to read your moving words I will find a post that details your reconnection with your nurse, but I need to be sure that you know this: your angels are our angels and they change our lives as they change yours. Your nurse has never, and will never, forget Maddie. We remember every smile, every tear. The giggles and the snuggles are imprinted on our hearts and we cherish them as you do. Last year I had the privilege of caring for a little man that wasn't as lucky as Maddie. He lived only three months and never got to leave the hospital. Most importantly, he didn't have amazing parents like you and Mike. As a result I spent more time with him than anyone else in the world. He became my life and he changed me irrevocably. Tomorrow would have been his first birthday. I have thought of him and sent up a prayer for him every one of the last 364 days. I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, your nurse thinks of Maddie, and of you, all the time and is thankful that she was able to be with you when you needed her so terribly.

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