I’m still hearing from readers about grandparents who play favorites.
(AUTHOR’S NOTE: Hey, grandparents! STOP PLAYING FAVORITES!)
Anyway, these two letters represent the variety of responses I’ve received. Thanks to those of you who responded.
Dear Ann Cannon • You asked for feedback from readers who found themselves in similar situations to your reader who confronted the “favorite grandchild” issue without the desired result. When I discussed with my mom about her favoritism for my sister’s daughter, she actually acknowledged it but was unconcerned about it. She said that it was what it was and that my sister’s daughter was more like her own child than a grandchild.
I had two choices: I could be angry and resentful or I could allow my children to learn a hard lesson. The thing is — not every lesson our children learn about love is a happy one. And so my children learned that not everyone loves the same. That relationships are tricky. That this fact is NOT a reflection of their value but a reflection on the person doing the loving. That everyone loves in their own way. And that when it comes to relationships, they get to decide the boundaries of those relationships and articulate them in a way that brings them joy. Or not.
Fast forward 20-plus years. My mom cannot understand why my kids are not closer to her. It seems to me that it is now her turn to learn some lessons about relationships, and I truly wish her peace and love in the lesson she wrote for herself all those years ago.
— What Goes Around
Dear Ann Cannon • My paternal grandfather always showed favorites. He had a favorite granddaughter and grandson, although he had 10 grandchildren. I was not a favorite, and to my knowledge, my parents never said anything about it to my grandfather. When my father continued this “tradition” with my youngest son, at first I, too, said nothing. When he made a horrible comment about this grandson when he was a teenager (in front of the entire family), I decided enough was enough. I handled it through my mother. I told her in private that I loved my dad, but I would no longer tolerate the way he treated my youngest son, and it was my job as his mother to stand up for him, even if it created a family problem. I asked my mom to talk to my father and explain that his behavior would no longer be tolerated by my husband and me, and if it continued, we, as a family, would no longer be able to associate with my parents.
My mother explained the situation to my father and the favoritism stopped. As my youngest son and his brothers grew into adulthood, my father was able to admit just how special each of his grandsons was.
Remember how I said I’d ask my bookseller for recommendations per your requests? Here are some suggestions for beach reads this summer. Do a little investigating and see if any of these titles appeal to you.
- “Calypso” by David Sedaris
- “Love and Ruin” by Paula McLain
- “Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore” by Matthew Sullivan
- “Ransom” by David Malouf
- “Slow Horses” by Mick Herron
- “Straight Man” by Richard Russo
- “The Book of Essie” by Meghan MacLean Weir
- “The Lying Game” by Ruth Ware
- “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion
- “The Scribe of Siena” by Melodie Winawer
- “The Soul of an Octopus” by Sy Montgomery
- “The Tiger” by John Vaillant