Q. Ever since my stepson announced his engagement to a lovely lady, his father and I have been treated like third wheels.
First, my stepson told his father that he shouldn’t bother showing up at the rehearsal dinner, but told us which part of the rehearsal dinner we could pay for.
His mother, “Jocelyn” (my husband’s ex), took charge of the location and arrangements.
Now married, the couple is expecting a son soon. The bride’s parents are utterly awesome and, like us, want a big, happy family who loves and supports each other.
Jocelyn comes from a huge family with sisters, nieces, nephews, and babies galore. She seems to be hellbent on diminishing her ex’s role in both the son’s life and, now, the joyous gift about to be brought into the world.
What her motives are won’t change how awful I feel both for my husband and for myself: Due to severe beatings by an alcoholic first husband I never could conceive children.
I had prayed that I could transition from everyone’s favorite aunt to bonus grandma. My husband is somewhat resigned to his ex’s controlling behavior, but both of us hope to have some equitable quality time with our future grandbaby.
Moving forward, the next steps are unclear.
A. I can’t explain or excuse your stepson’s behavior, although if his mother is a bear, she will be even more bear-like and possessive during these big life-moments. He is quite obviously choosing the path of least resistance. So is your husband. Nice job, guys.
Yes, the next phase of your family’s life is unclear. You should enter it with an open and enthusiastic attitude. Your new daughter-in-law and her parents sound like nice people. I assume that their dealings with Mama-Bear-in-Law may already be challenging; you should be opposite. Befriend them, include them, invite them to get to know you better, and be a loving, generous, and low-pressure “bonus” grandmother.
Your husband needs to find a new way to advocate for himself.
Q. I love your column dearly and read it faithfully. Something is bugging me: People have the right to choose whatever orientation they want to be (gay, lesbian, or whatever).
What is bothering me is this:
1. Why would a gay (male) couple adopt girls?
2. Why would a lesbian couple adopt boys?
I deeply respect your feedback. Thanks.
A. That sound you hear is me, ever-so-gently banging my head against my desk. Fortunately, the volume of reader mail provides a nice cushion.
I’m publishing your question to illustrate and highlight my own frustration. If you have been such a faithful reader of my work over the years, I would hope that you’d have picked up a thing or two. Evidently you have not, and so I’ll restate:
People don’t choose their sexual orientation. Their orientation chooses them. People do choose how they want to identify themselves within the gender/sexual spectrum.
Your question implies that homosexuals see children as sexual objects. They do not — any more (and perhaps less often) than heterosexual people do.
Lesbians adopt or give birth to male (and female) children because they want to have and raise children.
Gay men adopt (or father through surrogacy) female (and male) children because they want to have and raise children.
I hope this clears things up for you.
Q. “Just a Grandma” reminded me a bit of my mom. My mother will complain about anyone knowing anything about any of her children or grandchildren before she does.
I know some people do rudely post publicly before notifying family of important life events, but I think most people still try to make the big things special first in private, then in public. If people aren’t sharing things with you it may be because you don’t know when to keep it to yourself.
My mother is very active on social media and shares things that are not hers to share, whether the people involved want it out there or not. It’s as if she needs to post to prove to her Facebook friends that she’s the matriarch and integrally involved in all our lives.
My siblings and I often keep info about ourselves and our kids to ourselves, or between each other, in order to keep it all from being blabbed on social media.
A. Public oversharing is a scourge, negatively affecting relationships. One consequence is that it can compel people to become overly cautious.Amy Dickinson can be reached at email@example.com.