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Section: family, teenagers, behavior

Dear Ann Landers,
You have printed several letters from lonely grandparents who wonder why they never hear from their grandchildren. I'm a man who has the reverse of that problem. I've been happily married for 21 years and have a teenage daughter and son. Since the day our children were born, my widowed mother has shown absolutely no interest in them whatsoever. I cannot understand this. Our children are every parent's dream. They are bright, well-mannered, respectful and a joy to be around. When the kids were young, my mother made it clear she did not want to baby-sit, so we never asked her. When we make the 200-mile trip to her town, it's as if my wife and kids are invisible. She talks incessantly about her friends and social activities but never directs any conversation toward our children. The only acknowledgment she has ever given them is an annual birthday card. The one time she came to our home, she sat on the edge of the sofa and kept saying she needed to leave as soon as possible. She went home the next morning. Am I expecting too much? My mother is in her 70s and is an intelligent woman. My children would love to have a caring grandmother, and I wish I could find a stand-in for them. At this point, I no longer want to visit my mother and subject my children to her indifference. Do you have any ideas on how to get her to warm up? -- Sad Son in N.C.

Dear N.C.,
You might as well try to warm up Siberia. Have you told her how much it would mean to you if she took an interest in your children? If she is willing to discuss it, you might be able to turn things around. If not, leave the family at home when you visit your mother, and spare everyone the aggravation.

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Reader Comment
My mother was functionally indifferent to me and my children. Fortunately, my in-laws were involved and caring. You cannot turn your mother into a caring person. I kept in-touch with my mother for my own conscience sake until she passed away. With your immediate family focus on people who care about them.

Momma Reyes's Comment
Dear Sad Son, don’t lose hope. Living so far apart makes for a challenge. Continue to FaceTime, call or send videos of moments you want to share with her. Continue to do your part to include her in your life. By doing this, you will have done the right thing. Show interest in what she is doing and you may reap the reward of her taking an interest in your family. Be patient.

Reader Comment
Has "sad son" ever approached his mother to discuss why she is so cold? If she doesn't want to even discuss the matter, at least let her know how she is distancing herself from the family and she may very well find herself alone. Leave it at that. Don't force her to be a warm, loving (never happen here) mother and grandmother. There's something very wrong with this nasty person and it probably isn't worth the aggravation trying to find out just what tick is under her craw. End of story.

Andy's Comment
Dear Sad Son, do you have brothers and sisters with children of their own? Does your mother treat them the same way? My father was one of five children, four brothers and one sister. His mother was always cold and distant to her sons' children but worshipped the ground her daughter's children walked on. When I was 15 I got enough nerve to ask her why. She said that she couldn't be sure if her sons' children were really HER grandchildren, but she was sure that her daughter's children were. I chose never to be involved with her again after that. Perhaps your mother doesn't like your wife and is taking out her dislike on all of you. When my father's mother finally died, none of her sons' children bothered to go to the wake or the funeral. When my aunt and her children took us to task about not going to our "wonderful" grandmother's funeral, we all replied that we didn't know whom they were referring to, because out mutual grandmother was NOT wonderful.
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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:

Dear Readers,
, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"If you marry a man who cheats on his wife, you'll be married to a man who cheats on his wife."
-Ann Landers