Dreading sibling visits
Dear Annie: I am the youngest of five siblings between the ages of 63 and 72. Our parents are deceased. There was much stress over the loss of our mother four years ago. We each received a big inheritance. However, there was much tension over the money.
They all come here to vacation, and this is where my mother lived. It is stressful for me because they do not consider anyone else’s desires when it comes to how we spend time with one another. This year, my husband had a dental abscess, and we wanted change dinner plans to accommodate his eating, yet they refused. We met them at their restaurant and accommodated them.
They then say we are the ones who do not meet their needs. This happens every year, and it makes me think that perhaps I should not be here when they come. It makes me very upset. It takes me a while after they leave to regroup. This year, I received two not-very-nice emails from my sisters telling me “it is all about” me. These visits never end well. There does not appear to be any concern or love from them. Am I wrong to feel this way? Is it me? -- One of Five
Dear One of Five: You are the captain of your own feelings’ ship, so I will never tell you not to feel a certain way. But it does appear that every year, you are getting upset about your siblings’ visit. All relationships require compromise and really listening to the other person’s needs. In this case, you didn’t feel that your husband’s needs were met because of his dental emergency, and your siblings, especially your sisters, didn’t feel that their needs were being listened to or met.
It would be nice to take a vote in the future to plan your dining and other activities. That way, there are no surprises. No family is perfect, but we only get one. Try to find the positive and loving experiences in your visits with them.
Dear Annie: This is the first time I have written to you. I just wanted to say something to mothers who gave up their children for adoption, though I know there are many different reasons for doing so. I want to thank them for giving me two beautiful children, a son and daughter. I gave up a really high-paying job that I loved in order to bring up my children. My child-rearing days were the happiest ones of my life, bar none. My late husband loved them both dearly, and they loved him.
They have continued to enrich my life, and I am very proud of them and love them dearly. My daughter is my rock and support, and my son is also there for me. I am the proud grandmother of my son’s two children. I have had a full and interesting life but still count the days when they were babies as the most special days of my life. -- A Mother
Dear Mother: Thank you so much for writing. Your letter touched my heart, and I’m so happy to pass along your message to all the birth parents of adopted children. Congratulations on bringing up your children to become such strong and loving people -- and on becoming a grandmother, too.