Dear Annie, I admit that I am a controlling daughter-in-law. I suffered many forms of abuse during my childhood and am deeply reluctant to entrust my children to others, especially men.
My father-in-law sets my alarm bells off in a bad way. He does not suit women and children.
I could list all the warnings that have been said and heard about him. He and his eighth wife (!) really want to be grandparents, and there’s no way I would leave them alone with my children.
My husband agrees when they’re not there, but once his father arrives, he’s a completely different person. Luckily we live in a different state than his father. Just thought you might want to get a “bad” daughter-in-law’s perspective. — Another controlling daughter-in-law
Dear daughter-in-law: Don’t confuse a controlling daughter-in-law with a protective daughter-in-law. You sense a real danger from your father-in-law and your instinct is to protect your children. Good for you!
Being a protective mother when you sense a real danger to your child is not controlling at all. It is loving and caring. It sounds like your father in law doesn’t deserve the right to be with kids and you just take care of your kids.
Dear Annie, I want to tell you about a wonderful encounter I had with someone who had Alzheimer’s. It concerns my mother, whose decrepitude has become so severe that in the last five years she has even lost the ability to speak. I took some time off from my marriage and flew to Florida to help my dad take care of her. She was my best friend growing up and an amazing mom.
Three years after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my husband needed open-heart surgery, so I brought my parents home. In those five years, my mother didn’t recognize my father or me. But the way her face lit up every time we walked in was such a gift. She had played the piano and music was in her soul. Day and night she hummed and tapped the rhythm on her chest.
She was truly adorable and my siblings and children had the opportunity to experience her joy in every way. Taking care of her together helped mend a dysfunctional relationship I always had with my father and we became best friends. That was another gift she gave me.
My husband has been so supportive the whole time. I will never forget that he made sure I always had enough money to help them with their bills. All three are gone now and I would give anything to have just one more chance to be with them. Hearing that buzzing sound when I wake up at night.
Towards the end, my husband was a little confused at times, but he responded to stories from the time. You were special to us. Alzheimer’s, senility, and any confusion doesn’t mean the end of time with those we love. It just changes it a little. – Changes only
Dear Changes: I am so sorry for your losses, but I am overjoyed with the beauty you lived in during difficult times. What a big heart you have and a wonderful perspective on difficult situations. Thank you for sharing such a heartwarming and loving story.
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