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My parents won't go to DD's graduation!

DD is the first grandchild for my parents. Her graduation is this Saturday.

My parents say they are not going because they don't like the 'big city'. This is very hurtful to my daughter. Both my sister and I have said they don't have to drive. We will be their drivers. All they need to do is get in the car, and be present for the graduation. Parents say it's too far. The drive would be less than 1 1/2 hours. I could understand and accept that if they were not planning to drive to the coast in June- a 7+ hour drive one way. Also my dad will go to this 'big city' if he needs to take his atv for service.

I know it's not really fair to compare. It still upsets me that her dad's mother, 2 brothers are coming from Kansas, NY, and Chicago for this. And yet my parents don't want to spend a half day (or less!) and 130 miles to see their granddaughter graduate from high school. I'm getting more upset and hurt each day to the point that my daily visits to them just haven't happened lately.

Any words of wisdom/advice beyond suck it up and get over it? 

«1

Re: My parents won't go to DD's graduation!

  • Have you actually told them how much this means to you and your DD?  Have you told them it upsets you that they dont' want to come.  Be honest.  Gently - but tell them "This is really important to us and we want you there."
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  • rori11rori11 member

    Have you told your parents that this upsets you?  What did they say?

    I would however leave the "this is your 1st grandchild" out of the conversation.  That shouldn't matter one way or another.

  • Maybe your daughter should call and ask them to come herself?
  • My grandparents didnt come to my HS, undergrad, or graduate graduation ceremonies.(ETA: although they did go to my sister's hs and undergrad) they had various reasons not too go, non of them that solid, but whatever.

    I was kinda hurt, but I got over it, and I dont really think it adversely effected my self-esteem or our relationship that much. they did get me nice cards/gifts that were thoughtful and I knew they were proud of me.

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  • yes, I've told them how much this means to DD and to me. The response was 'we just don't want to go that far and get so worn out.'

    Getting my mother out of the house beyond doctor appointments and required shopping for pantry and house requires near nuclear levels of explosives. She has not even been to see my sister's new house since it was bought almost 8 years ago. That hurts my sister tremendously. It is not a surprise that she doesn't want to travel for the graduation. My dad is another story. He can get out and about fairly easily. He's planning on this trip to the coast even if my mom does not go with him. 

    I don't want to start a guilt trip fest about missing graduation due to distance yet them making a trip so much longer in June. They are in their early 70's. I know how much they love the coast and miss being there. I don't want to cast any shadow on what probably will be their 'last hurrah' on the beach. But damn it's upsetting that they can't do this for their grandchild. Mom has health issues, she may not even be around for the next graduation in 5 years. The last couple times it's been brought up they got defensive. And they know about the other folks coming from out of state. 

  • image cravecase:
    Maybe your daughter should call and ask them to come herself?

    I believe she has asked them in person the last 2 times she came down to visit them. 

  • Do either one of them have medical issues that you aren't aware of (dementia, incontinence, paranoia)? Many times elderly couples hide conditions like that by staying home and isolating themselves from social situations. They also tend to cover for eachother to hide the problem.

    I'm just bringing it up as a possibility. I used to work with Alzheimer's patients and we'd get a lot of couples where the family had NO idea there was an issue because "dad would always finish mom's sentences" etc.

  • Mom I understand. Her health is not great, she is depressed. She tires incredibly easily. We are not entirely joking about her being 'a badger in her den'.

    Only issue on Dad that I could think of is the incontinence/frequency angle.

    The university has a valet service for those who can not walk much. There will be people with wheelchairs available to take folks from car to seat. The university provides this free of charge during events like graduations. I will be bringing that up.

    They don't like DH. We have already worked that out in that there will be separate cars if that would make a difference in my parents being there. 

  • image Myna:

    Mom I understand. Her health is not great, she is depressed. She tires incredibly easily. We are not entirely joking about her being 'a badger in her den'.

    Only issue on Dad that I could think of is the incontinence/frequency angle.

    The university has a valet service for those who can not walk much. There will be people with wheelchairs available to take folks from car to seat. The university provides this free of charge during events like graduations. I will be bringing that up.

    They don't like DH. We have already worked that out in that there will be separate cars if that would make a difference in my parents being there. 

    You can keep trying to convince them to go with all these reasons, but do you think they (or your dad) will change their mind? At what point are you willing to accept that they dont want to go? Is there some other way that would be acceptable for them to celebrate with DD (dinner, etc)?

     

    Some people really dont like graduations. if it's outside, it can be hot, or rainy, its crowed, etc. Also, graduations are typically boring. I was bored at my own! If they have already made up their minds, then they have already made up their minds.

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  • Sue_sueSue_sue member
    5 Love Its

    I'm sorry. You're taking this way too personally. Your parents are old, ill, exhausted, depressed, and cannot hold their urine. And they don't like your dh. It is exceptionally unlikely that they are going to get better than this; it is more likely that this is a downhill slide,and a year from now , two years, etc, they are going to be even more insular and isolated and have an even longer litany of ills and aches and pains and problems. Some of which are physical and some of which are mental and none of which you can help.

    And are going to bail from more and more things. Not because of you, personally; or your daughter, personally; but because they are old, tired, and pee themselves. You're hooked on the 'they should want to come and they should want to exert themselves and they should exert themselves and since they haven't it means they don't love me and they don't love my daughter and how could they do this to us and and and and".

    Quit expecting them to give you what they cannot give you; and start looking for other ways to either include them in (by skype on the computer for the grad party, or whatever) or not. But quit tormenting yourself by setting up these tests whereby you KNOW they are going to fail and then getting furious at their failures.

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  • Sue_sueSue_sue member
    5 Love Its

    Oh, and quit pushing. As unreasonable as you think they are for not coming, you've asked, and your daughter has asked, and the answer is no. If you and she are too sensitive to accept no for an answer, then you're too sensitive to issue invitations. It's an INVITATION. Not a subpoena.  Let it go.

     

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  • I'm going to let them know there is a valet service if they are concerned about having to walk miles. Also that I'm available to be their driver up until the second I am on the road and past the exit to their house. To my knowledge there are no incontinence issues. I'm guessing frequency/urgency may be a concern for dad. He's never said anything about it. I'm not going to put him on the spot about that.

    DD really is down that they are not coming. It's not going to ruin her day, but does put a dent in it. Her grad party isn't til Sunday. I'm working so I won't be there for it. 

  • I dunno, maybe my family is not the norm, but my parents came to my graduation, and that was it.  I don't think even my siblings were there.  Regardless, I don't remember one way or the other, TBH. 

    Graduations are boring.  They are crowded, hot, inevitably too long, and generally not enjoyable for anyone except for the actual graduates (and even that's questionable).  My graduation was an achievement for ME, and it's the kind of thing parents are into because it's their kid, but... no one else cares.  Sorry to sound jerky about it, but it's true.

    I agree with suesue, you're taking this way too personally.

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  • Sue_sueSue_sue member
    5 Love Its

    What are you going to do when your daughter starts doing to you what you're doing with your parents? Trying to make you feel bad for not doing what she wants you to do?

    I'd tell the kid to buck up; it's not like you never see these people; and stop encouraging her by example to spazz over unimportant things.

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  • Maybe choose another day to celebrate her graduation with them. How much time would they actually get to spend with her during the graduation? Graduations in my family are not that big of a deal. I had to convince my own parents to go to my graduation when I get my bachelors and masters. 
  • image Sue_sue:

    I'm sorry. You're taking this way too personally. Your parents are old, ill, exhausted, depressed, and cannot hold their urine. And they don't like your dh. It is exceptionally unlikely that they are going to get better than this; it is more likely that this is a downhill slide,and a year from now , two years, etc, they are going to be even more insular and isolated and have an even longer litany of ills and aches and pains and problems. Some of which are physical and some of which are mental and none of which you can help.

    And are going to bail from more and more things. Not because of you, personally; or your daughter, personally; but because they are old, tired, and pee themselves. You're hooked on the 'they should want to come and they should want to exert themselves and they should exert themselves and since they haven't it means they don't love me and they don't love my daughter and how could they do this to us and and and and".

    Quit expecting them to give you what they cannot give you; and start looking for other ways to either include them in (by skype on the computer for the grad party, or whatever) or not. But quit tormenting yourself by setting up these tests whereby you KNOW they are going to fail and then getting furious at their failures.

    Exactly.

    We say it on the boards all the time, "no" is a perfectly acceptable answer.  We see MILs who set expectations about visits and family participation and DIL who just don't want to or can't.  Your daughter is going to graduate - surrounded by people who love her.

    Find another way to include your parents that makes sense to all of you.  Most especially them.

    And to be honest, if they said yes at this point YOUR trip would be miserable.  You'd be taking care of two people who quite clearly don't want to be there and some real limitations on being able to be there.  I'd consider it a blessing that they are being honest with you and not going under crushing, guilty obligation.  You are free to enjoy yourself, make giddy phone calls about the fun and enjoy yourself.  Don't knock it.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • Sue_sueSue_sue member
    5 Love Its

    I'm just wondering how you got all the other people to come. Is it possible to decline an invitation from you without having to demonstrate physical incapacity to attend?  Did any of them say no first and did you get them to agree to come?

    I'd be shocked if anyone in my family travelled from states away to see a high school graduation. Or college.

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  • edited August 2013
  • edited August 2013
  • IMHO, you're putting undue stress on your parents.  It's a HS graduation.... 

  • This isn't about your daugher.  Your parent's are older, your mom has issues leaving the house, your dad has incontinence issues.  They probably wouldn't go if somebody asked them to something else either.  This is absolutely no reflection on you, your DH, or your DD.  Stop bugging them.  Let it go.  They probably already feel bad enough.

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  • At this point- you asked, and they said no.  It's not the answer you or your daughter wanted to hear, but it is their answer.  

    I also am wondering quite what the crux of the issue is for you.  Is it because her dad's relatives are coming from other states and you don't want your side of the family to look like they don't care by comparison? Is it that you think grandparents "should" go to all their grandchild's "big events", come hell or high water, or be distraught if they can't? Is there another issue (i.e., them not liking your husband) that bothers you, and you're interpreting their not coming as another Statement of that issue? 

    I have been to nine graduations in the past ten years, and declined three others.  Graduations are long, they are crowded, if they are outside they are often hot, the speaker is typically hard to hear, and the graduate is often being pulled in many different directions on the actual day- I've traveled for a college graduation and barely got in a word with the graduate, who was being grabbed for various pictures, saying goodbye to many friends, and being mobbed by all the other people who came to see her.  Driving 1.5 hours to sit for several more hours to get a breathless hug and a photo before another 1.5 hour drive back- that's exhausting to me now, and I have no health problems and frequently make long drives.  If you're looking for your parents to show your daughter that they are proud of her accomplishments, or that they love her, or that they are excited she's graduated high school- I feel like they can do all those things in much more realistic and reasonable ways.  You could all go out to dinner on a different day.  You could have another graduation party at home for your family.  Etc.  

  • *shrug* my grandparents didn't come to my graduation, either. High school graduations aren't huge events everyone needs to witness. I don't even think I invited them, or that my high school would have issued tickets for grandparents.
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  • What's wrong with you? Being driven and having a valet service is not going to solve their problems. They are physically uncomfortable and having to manage illness. And insisting they have to sit through a God-awful boring high school graduation is only going to stress them. 

    And by the way, if your mother can barely get out of her own house and move about the community she lives in, how do you expect her to manage sitting through graduation? You can't manage her anxiety. She hasn't managed to deal with her phobia, illness or anxiety, whatever it is.

    And don't get me started on Dad. I've dealt with my share of digestive issues and I don't care how many public restrooms I have available, it's still too stressful to deal with. Always wondering when I should get up, do I need to get up, how long will I have to wait to use a toilet. And the frustration of having to think about these issues only exacerbates the issue.  

    Not feeling well is simply exhausting. And yes, I think that 7 hour trip to the coast is a wonderful idea. It's a vacation, it's something they (or at least your Dad) wants to do. You can't compare the two.

    And another point, they already raised their child. Anything they were expected to attend on your behalf, they did. That's the beauty of being a grandparent, they pick and choose what they will engage with. They are no longer obligated to make an appearance at an event unless they choose to.

    Your daughter shouldn't be devastated over this. Your daughter should have been raised to understand that aging family members are not always able to physically meet all of our social requests. And that they are still loved, though they can't be there.

    Stop bothering them with this nonsense. Enjoy your daughter's graduation and make it a great day.

  • image Myna:

    yes, I've told them how much this means to DD and to me. The response was 'we just don't want to go that far and get so worn out.'

    Getting my mother out of the house beyond doctor appointments and required shopping for pantry and house requires near nuclear levels of explosives. She has not even been to see my sister's new house since it was bought almost 8 years ago. That hurts my sister tremendously. It is not a surprise that she doesn't want to travel for the graduation. My dad is another story. He can get out and about fairly easily. He's planning on this trip to the coast even if my mom does not go with him. 

    I don't want to start a guilt trip fest about missing graduation due to distance yet them making a trip so much longer in June. They are in their early 70's. I know how much they love the coast and miss being there. I don't want to cast any shadow on what probably will be their 'last hurrah' on the beach. But damn it's upsetting that they can't do this for their grandchild. Mom has health issues, she may not even be around for the next graduation in 5 years. The last couple times it's been brought up they got defensive. And they know about the other folks coming from out of state. 

    if this is the case with your mother, then I wouldn't be hurt by her behaviour. This is a bigger issue than whether or not you are important to her. She clearly has issues with leaving the house.

    If you parents are anything like mine, then it would be very uncommon for one of them, ie your dad, to go somewhere without the other.

    It sucks that they can't/won't make the trip but I would let it go because it doesn't sound like they are doing it to hurt you, but rather have their own issues. 

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  • image KateLouise:

    If you parents are anything like mine, then it would be very uncommon for one of them, ie your dad, to go somewhere without the other.

    It sucks that they can't/won't make the trip but I would let it go because it doesn't sound like they are doing it to hurt you, but rather have their own issues. 

    Nope, he's going to the coast with or without her. They have taken separate trips in the past. That is not unusual. 

    If they want to go they can call me. I'm not discussing it anymore with them. The ones coming from out of state have planned on being at the graduation for a long time. There has been no pressure to 'make' them show up.  

  • Let me ask you this: do you want them to come because you want them to come, or do you want them to come because you think they'll enjoy themselves?

    Reason 1 is a selfish, self-centered reason. Reason 2 has already been negated -- they've said they don't want to go. Leave it alone. And maybe this is a good lesson for your daughter -- you can't always get what you want, and no is a perfectly acceptable answer.

    Forcing anyone to do anything will only foster resentment and anger, and will likely end up kicking you in the butt later on. You're trying to 'solution' your way out of an issue that has no solution -- it's not about logic, it's about desire. And they don't have it.

    Find another way to celebrate your daughter's graduation with your parents. A dinner, a phone call... anything. But don't force them to go, even if you're willing and eager to help them out. Consider their desires and respect them, and stop pressuring them.

  • image Myna:

    I'm going to let them know there is a valet service if they are concerned about having to walk miles. Also that I'm available to be their driver up until the second I am on the road and past the exit to their house. To my knowledge there are no incontinence issues. I'm guessing frequency/urgency may be a concern for dad. He's never said anything about it. I'm not going to put him on the spot about that.

    DD really is down that they are not coming. It's not going to ruin her day, but does put a dent in it. Her grad party isn't til Sunday. I'm working so I won't be there for it. 

    So your are not going to your own daughter's graduation party?  Am I understanding that?  That is very strange.  And you are giving your parents a hard time for not coming to a boring ceremony when they are old/in ill health?

  • I was my paternal grandparents' first grandchild, and at the time I graduated high school, they actually lived in our town.  They didn't come to my HS graduation, and I didn't care.  They had medical issues (like your parents) and I saw no reason to put them through the torture of a graduation ceremony.  In fact, if I could have come up with a decent reason not to go, I would have skipped it myself.

    You need to back off.

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  • doglovedoglove member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker

    I'm confused - if you're parents have been like this for a long time (8 years did you mention?), shouldn't your daughter be well aware that they do not go anywhere? What's up with you and her expecting something out of your parents that they simply cannot give? I agree with Sue_sue, stop expecting things out of them that they cannot deliver. You set yourself up to believe they "should" do something that is out of character for their actions as you know them and then get disappointed and upset when they don't perform said action(s).

     

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