Ask Amy: Parents’ offer to move nearby may be too much for stressed daughter
June 18, 2021 at 9:00 p.m. PDT
Dear Amy: My 46-year-old daughter "Janet" has had a difficult life. One
of her children was born with a severe illness. It was traumatic for all
of us to care for this child during the years that she clung to life.
Janet suffered most of all, forced to leave behind a very promising
career as she stayed home to give her child round-the-clock nursing care.
My husband and I desperately fought to move the 1,000 miles to be close
to them to answer their call for help, but the Great Recession made it
impossible for us to sell our house. The best we could do was to make
two- and three-week trips every couple of months. We worked on many
projects to make their living circumstances better and helped with their
two other children.
Fast-forward 14 years. We were finally able to sell our house to move a
few miles from them. We were shocked to find out Janet had told others
she hoped we wouldn't relocate near her. She refuses to discuss this
She might worry that we would be too domineering. When she was a child,
we often had to twist her arm to get her to sign up for art classes or
go away to camp. Apparently, this was too much.
It is true that we have strong opinions and express them, but we have
always respected the decisions Janet and her husband have made.
Although we treat them like the adults they are, apparently, they can't
help but feel like the children they used to be.
Their enduring grief complicates everything.
Meanwhile, all the wariness has spilled onto our two grandchildren,
denying us closeness.
Is there anything to be done?
— Grieving Grandma
Grieving Grandma: Yes, you can change. If you have been too domineering
or opinionated in the past, you should stop being that way.
You should develop your own interests and friendships. Attend your
grandkids’ school events, but don’t twist their arms to do things you
want them to do. Get to know them on their terms, to whatever extent you
Even though you have been very involved in the life of this family, I
venture that you really have no idea of what they have been through.
Do your best to be a humble, supportive and positive presence.