Tag Archives: grandma

“Jaw With John” – Grandma Been Drinkin’ Na Naaaaaa

I need your help with a very sensitive situation with my in-laws. My mother-in-law drinks too much at family functions. We recently celebrated my son’s first birthday party (her first grandchild) and she (again) had too much to drink. She was slurring her words, wobbly on her feet and was having uncomfortable conversations with our other guests.

When my wife confronted her about her behavior (at the party), she became defensive and immediately responded that my wife is too judgmental. She used profanity at my wife and said she was never coming to our house again. She also began to act like a teenager and stomped up the stairs and slammed doors, etc. We are concerned for her safety as well as the safety of our son.

This has been a pattern for her over the past 15-plus years. I am only just coming into this situation within the last four years since marrying my wife. It seems to be a cycle where these situations occur, my mother-in-law backs off drinking for a few months and then she starts back up again.

How can we address this issue without having her feel like we are having an intervention or attacking her?

When she is not drinking she is the best mother-in-law and grandmother in the world. She is very helpful and always goes above and beyond for the family. — Concerned Son-In-Law

Dear Son-in-Law:

What kind of response did you expect from a drunk person? Of course she’s going to throw a tantrum, call you names and swear at you! That’s what drunk people do when they get defensive! There’s no point in trying to talk to them.

You answered your own question. When she’s sober, she’s great. Ergo, talk to her about her behavior then and bring up your concerns.

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“Jaw With John” – What’s In A Name?

The birth of my children has caused my father and me to reconnect after many years of no contact. During that time, he remarried (for the third time) a very nice lady who has been instrumental in getting us back on speaking terms. She always sends a gift for birthdays and Christmas. My wife and I like her.

She likes to refer to herself as “Grandma.” My wife doesn’t mind but it just doesn’t sit well with me. For one thing, I don’t want to confuse our very young kids, and for another, my mother passed away 10 years ago, and I know for a fact if she were here and got wind of this she would be very upset. Mom was a tough, take-no-nonsense fighter and she wouldn’t stand for this.

For my father’s wife to call herself “Grandma” seems disrespectful. It took years to get my dad and me to speak. I don’t want to ruin that by insulting his wife, but I also don’t want to confuse our kids or dishonor my mother’s memory. — Upset Son

Dear Upset:

This seems stupid and petty. This woman has been very kind to you and your family and you’re angry over a name. Kids all over the Earth have multiple grandparents yet they don’t get confused. I had a different grandpa, who wasn’t my Dad’s Dad, and I was told that he wasn’t my biological grandpa but it didn’t phase me and I still called him Grandpa.

Why wouldn’t your Mom “stand for this”? There is no nonsense here. It’s a name.

For homework: recall The Bard, Shakespeare, in this instance to bring to light your plight:

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet
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“Jaw With John” – You Get What You Give

I have a large family and we celebrate family birthdays at a monthly get-together with a potluck dinner. The dinner is always held at my house and I usually furnish the entree.

One granddaughter and her husband never contribute anything and never bring birthday cards for the honored family members. I have specifically asked her to bring something, and I made it easy by suggesting something simple like a Jell-O salad — but still, they bring nothing. Others are beginning to complain. Should I tell her that others are wondering why she never contributes to the meal? These two always eat.

I don’t want to alienate them from the rest of the family, as we all love them and want them with us. — Wondering Gramma

Dear Gramma:

Large family eh? Sounds like you were busy? Wink wink nudge nudge.

Stay with me here because everything will make sense, I swear. Around Christmas time my family has a saying “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive.” Meaning, if you fail to believe in Santa, you will not receive any presents. It’s a way to keep that childlike spirit of Christmas around even as an adult when you know the truth. It’s not really enforced but it’s still around.

Tell your granddaughter that if they don’t feel the need to participate that when it comes time to celebrate their birthday then they will receive what they gave: nothing. It doesn’t take much to buy a card and sign it or, hell, even buy a gift card. They are doing the least possible and need to know that it is unacceptable. This will send the message loud and clear.

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“Jaw With John” – Wrap Your Head Around This

My mother-in-law frequently orders birthday and holiday gifts for my family online, has them delivered directly to our house and then expects me to wrap them.

I don’t want to seem ungrateful — I really do appreciate that she cares enough to buy nice presents for our family. But I have three kids, a full-time job and many other obligations, and the time spent wrapping her gifts adds up.

I totally get why she wouldn’t want to have the items shipped to her, only to wrap them and pay shipping again to send them to us. However, I think if the situation were reversed, I might pay for gift wrapping when placing the order — or at least ask first whether she had the time to take care of it. Am I being an unappreciative grump? — Wrap-proachful

Dear Wrap-proachful:

I like the play on words you did with your name. Cute.

How many gifts is she sending? Is it really too much of your time to wrap a few of them?

I view two options here for you. Option 1: Ask your mother-in-law to have them wrapped by the company she bought them from. That way they will arrive at your house already wrapped.

Option 2: Open them up, remove any receipt and then wrap the box that it came in. I do that A LOT. It saves me from having to wrap an oddly shaped item unsuccessfully to wrapping a box unsuccessfully.

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“Jaw With John” – Let Me Call The Whambulance For Your Cousin

How do you deal with family over the holidays?

I have one out-of-state cousin who is the Grinch, and he’s going to be staying with us. He thinks, “If I buy you a $50 gift, you buy me a $50 gift.”

I think you buy what you can afford and not expect anything in return. If someone gives you a gift, then great; if not, then great!

I am only a receptionist and cannot afford lavish/expensive gifts for everyone.

I get my other cousins $2 lottery tickets and that’s it. Now I feel like if I do that for him, he will cry to our grandma or, worse, say something on Christmas morning!

We are all adults now and I feel like we are in eighth grade! Any advice for dealing with him? This is bringing unwanted dread and anxiety when I should be excited and happy during the holidays. I think he forgot the true meaning of Christmas. — HO HO NO

Dear Ho Ho No:

This guy goes and cries to your grandma? Uhhhhh, clearly this guy has issues that extend BEYOND gifting.

By his logic, if he bought you a .50¢ gift then you could give him a .50¢ gift. That’s just stupid. You afford what you can afford and if he doesn’t like the gift/approve of what you spent then take it back and get your money back. You could spend $20 on something that may be perfect for him but since it didn’t cost what he spent on you, he’d be mad. Who gives a shit? That’s not the point of giving gifts or the true meaning of Christmas.

One Christmas, I bought my mom a set of hand made glasses from Italy that she mentioned she liked. It didn’t matter how much it cost to me because I knew she would love it and that made me feel good to do so, no matter the cost. I did not expect her to get me something comparable in price. In fact, that very same Christmas she gave me an awesome Batman mug and it’s one of my favorite gifts that I’ve ever received.

Your cousin needs to learn this maxim that I’ve known since I was young:
Happiness is not getting what you want, but being content with what you have.

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