Dear Carolyn: Over the years, Ive read numerous complaints about grandparents who showed favoritism to some grandkids based on gender, adoption or step situations. Each time, Ive been outraged that adults could be so unfair to innocent children.
But Im finding the situation isnt so easily resolved when it is personal. My husband and I became grandparents a year ago. We dont have a lot of money, but we cut some corners to buy gifts on the appropriate occasions.
Now my stepson has started dating a woman with two young children. The 26-year-old, college-dropout stepson has made having a family his No. 1 goal in life. He actually searched dating sites for women with children.
Hes now moving in with this woman, who only a month ago agreed to be publicly identified as his girlfriend. (This is only his second relationship. The first one lasted just months.)
Anyway with the holidays coming up, I dont know what to do. Do we spend an equal amount on these other two kids? I dont want to be a jerk to these two little girls, but I also dont want to keep diverting money from our granddaughter to a string of kids we might not see again.
Being a good grandma is about the kids, not you. Your first paragraph says you already know this. That means any gifts you give to family members are investments in them as people, vs. investments in your relationship with them. Its I want the best for you vs. I want the best out of you a fine distinction, but an important one.
When you look at these two little girls that way, then youll see that their tenuous status in your family has no bearing on the way you divvy up the gifts. So they get a third of your gift allotment, a third of your hugs, a third of your attention, and all of your heart.
Should the parents relationship crash and the girls abruptly exit your lives, then you will remain the nice lady who gave them the gift of acceptance without regard for their relative value to her. Too young to grasp that is not too young to feel its light.
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