DEAR ABBY: I have two sons I'm very proud of. My husband and I have raised them to be respectful and to make responsible decisions. However, I go to bed in tears each night feeling we have failed.
Our elder son is married and has a son, our grandson, "Charlie," who is dear to our hearts. Charlie is celebrating his second birthday, and our daughter-in-law told me they are having a birthday party for him and we are invited. She added that she feels the "secondary activities" they are having are the ones that are the most important and ones he will remember. We are not invited to participate in the secondary activities, which include a hockey game, trip to the petting zoo and family photos or videos.
We try to support our son and daughter-in-law, but we do not feel respected and loved in return. When we invite them for dinner, they arrive an hour or two late or don't show up at all. We send them text messages, but they don't respond. We offer to help and are there for them when they ask us to be, regardless of our personal consequence. What can we do? -- OVERFLOWING WITH LOVE
DEAR OVERFLOWING: When I read that your daughter-in-law told you that you weren't invited to the special events surrounding Charlie's birthday, my initial reaction was that she may have thought they would be too much for you and your husband to handle. However, when you described that your dinner invitations are treated like garbage and they don't have enough respect to return your calls and texts in a timely manner, it occurs to me that you have been so overflowing with love that you have been taken for granted.
You may have raised your son well, but your daughter-in-law appears to be running the show. Her parents may take precedence on the hierarchy of importance, and if that's the case, you and your husband need to clear the air with your son and his wife, and sacrifice less when they snap their fingers.