Question: Dear Luise: I really need your advice. My son is 22 years old. Last year he met a girl (who at the time was 17, he was 21) online. Within 3 months of talking to her online, he packed up and moved to Massachusetts to be with her. They were married this June and they just had a baby boy on August 13th. This is my first grandchild and I cannot explain to you how thrilled I was. I could not stop smiling. I was a single mother from the time my son was 7. He has a brother and sister, both younger. Their father was gunned down 15 years ago. I have always been very close to all three children. When my son moved away, we were heartbroken but accepted it because it is his life. We drove to Massachusetts for the wedding and voiced that we would not be able to afford to come back for the baby’s birth. Pictures would have to do for now. My second son is in the Army. He is in Germany. We live in Texas. The whole family was thrilled to see pictures of the new baby. I posted the one and only picture that I received via text to my MySpace page (with permission from my son) so that all of his family could see. Two hours after doing so, my daughter-in-law’s mother texts me demanding that I take the baby’s picture off the internet (my page is marked private as are the pictures/) After a day or so of arguing the fact that this is the only way our family can see the baby, I have now been told by my daughter-in-law that I will never see the baby or get any more pictures of him. I am devastated by this. I have tried talking to her. I have tried to call my son and she blocks my calls. He has not even called me. I have to wonder if he even knows what is happening. Advice? S.
Answer: Dear S. I know this is going to sound pretty drastic but I think I would raise the money somehow and to go see my son. I would take copies of all of the emails with me plus a record of the calls I tried to put through to him. I would get it from him directly that he is on the same page as your DIL and her mother. It is his child, too. They can’t make such proclamations independently. And she can’t be allowed to stop his communications. He has to know what is going on and agree with her or he needs to immediately take action to change to status quo.
I wouldn’t let him know I was coming and I would seek him out at work. If the door is closed, so be it. But why? You got his permission to download the picture on MySpace. How can his MIL veto that? Either he doesn’t know what they are trying to do to you, or he has changed his mind about the picture without telling you plus he’s decided not to talk to you. What are the odds? Would he really go along with your being excommunicated for doing what you got permissions to do? And please remember that it was a loving act. You have to know what he does and doesn’t know about all of this groundless hysteria and unfounded cruelty. And your DIL has to know that you aren’t so easily out-manipulated and sent packing. She can’t write your name down and draw a lie though it!
You’re the true adult here. I would suggest that you set an example and confront this. Before you head for home, make arrangements with him to call you weekly at a specific time, giving you the number where he is calling from at that time so you can call him right back on your dime. Don’t let her do this again. You can’t keep running to the East Coast and you’re his mom, for heaven’s sake!
I would also like to suggest that you bring your issue to my web-Forum for additional support. The URL is: http://www.motherinlawsunite.com It is not a DIL-bashing site; it is for problem solving and better understanding. Blessings, Luise