Q: I am retired and live alone. Although my daughter lives nearby, I rarely see or hear from her. If I text her a question, she will usually answer in as few words as possible. A phone call is very rare.
She works full time and is very busy with a husband and four kids. I realize she has a lot on her plate and is probably doing the best she can. Should I just give up on ever having a closer relationship with my only daughter?
Close but Far Away!
A: Disclaimer first. This answer isn't for purists or believers in the doctrine of "should": A daughter should make time for Mom. Loved ones shouldn't have to be useful to be included. Etc.
Why? Because if my two choices are to be included or to be right, I'll take included, thanks.
So in your place, whether my daughter was too busy for me or too fed up with me for past mistakes, I'd offer myself up as a way to make her life easier. Who can I pick up from day care or soccer?
Or, date night — I'll come baby-sit every Friday. If you think I lack the patience or mobility to wrangle all four (it's okay to say that to my face!), then I'll recruit a fellow-grandma friend and we'll team-baby-sit our grandkids on alternate weeks.
Is there something useful, my beloved busy daughter, that I overlooked? Suggest away.
And while in your home, I will not give you unsolicited advice. I will not look at you funny when you do things differently from the way I used to.
I will not ask you so many questions on what to do next that I just become one more thing for you to manage. I'll either be helpful by your standards or get out of the way.
I will not complain once, not even in pointed-sigh form, that you don't call enough.
If it's too late and I've squandered your trust: I'll admit my errors — citing specifics; then back off to prove I'm sincere.
Good luck, and good Grandma.