Dear Annie: My husbandís parents are wonderful people in their late 70s, but I am concerned that their kindness is being abused by my brother-in-law, ďDan,Ē and his wife, ďJane.Ē
My in-laws have always been involved in their grandchildrenís lives, but lately it has become taxing for them both physically and mentally. Dan and Jane call on them for baby-sitting day and night. Often they drop the three kids off the evening before. My in-laws always oblige, even though the youngest is not even a year old.
Last spring, Dan lost his job. He now is home all day, but the kids are still with Grandma and Grandpa a lot of the time. Twice in the last two months, Dan and Jane strolled in well after 1:00 a.m. and my in-laws had to drive themselves home in the wee hours.
Saturday, Dan dropped the kids off at Grandmaís while he went golfing with a neighbor. Yet he complains that they donít have enough money to hire a sitter. I have taken Danís kids when my schedule allows, but I think it is irresponsible for them to expect his parents to be their childrenís caregivers. I have been biting my tongue, but it is obvious to everyone that they are taking advantage of his parents. Should I speak up? I donít want to cause a family feud. ó Fuming Over Freeloaders
Dear Fuming: Your husband should talk to his brother, explaining that itís becoming difficult for Mom and Dad to take care of such young children, and urge him not to count on them so often. You are a caring daughter-in-law, but to a great extent, this is up to your in-laws. Until they decide theyíve had enough, thereís not much you can do.
Dear Annie: My brother ďTimĒ passed away from cancer two months ago. He had never married.
Within hours, my younger brother and his wife actually went through Timís house and took what they wanted. My own mother kept all the money from his sympathy cards instead of using it to help pay for a headstone. Even before the funeral, several family members took over Timís house and property and went through his personal things. Whatever they didnít want, they handed to whoever was around.
I live several states away, and right now, I donít ever want to speak to these relatives again. Your thoughts, please. ó Itís Hard Enough To Lose a Loved One
Dear Hard Enough: Some people behave in appalling ways when a loved one dies. What seems like greed could also have been a way for family members to keep something of Timís to remember him by, although your motherís behavior is hard to excuse. Please try to find a way to forgive them.
Dear Readers: Happy Halloween. Please dress your trick-or-treaters in flame-retardant costumes that donít obstruct walking or vision, and be sure an adult accompanies them. And when you tuck them into bed, donít forget to change your clocks back one hour and replace the batteries in your smoke alarms.
Annieís Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annieís Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annieís Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.