It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Trying to Keep the Family Harmony,” who wrote in six years ago (!) and whose letter I re-posted on Facebook yesterday. She noticed said link and decided to write with an update.
In her original letter, she explained that her step-daughter had recently left her husband and moved in with another man, relinquishing custodial rights of her kids to her husband. The LW wanted advice on whether or not to dis-invite the son-in-law to the family vacation they’d planned prior to the separation. She and her husband were in disagreement over how to proceed, especially considering how much they wanted to retain a strong connection to the person who would be the primary caregiver, and main access point, to their grandchildren. So much has happened in the past six years, and the pandemic has played a big role in how everyone in this family is doing today. The LW’s update, below:
How surprised I was to see my letter posted on your Facebook page. I wrote about how we started a “tradition” of heading to Florida each spring with our adult children and grandsons. My step-daughter had decided to end her marriage, but our son-in-law still wanted to come on our vacation.
As it turned out, he did join us because Marie had a change of heart and wanted him to join us. She was adamant the marriage was over, but she wanted to remain good friends with her husband. It turned out to be a fabulous vacation as everyone was happy to be together. Our tradition of family vacation continued for several years and it worked out well. Our son-in-law always joined us as we have continued a great relationship with him. The grandkids were always happy to have everyone together.
Then, starting more than five years ago, Marie and her husband began an on-again/off-again relationship. It was horrible for everyone. Marie was in and out of the house. She had many different relationships. Everyone else in the family was confused as no one could determine if Marie and our son-in-law were over or not. The kids really struggled. Marie suffered from drug addiction and alcohol abuse. As parents/grandparents we did everything we could to support/help (maybe enable??). And then something went down which I am not privy to (and it is probably just as well ), but it resulted in Marie being forced by Family and Child Services to get counseling. The counseling was very effective. She got clean, and she developed parenting skills which much improved her life and, most importantly, the kids’ lives.
And then Covid hit. While Covid has been a horrible thing around the world, in Marie’s world it caused continual quarantines where the children went back and forth between mom’s house and dad’s house. They solved the problem by agreeing to have Marie move in with her ex. They thought it was going to be for just a few weeks. Ha! That was more than two years ago. In that time they have reconciled and are a close and loving family now.
Our son-in-law never gave up and Marie finally got the help she needed. While I wouldn’t recommend the wild ride of the years between breakup and reconciliation, it worked out.
And no more family vacations in Florida. Initially they stopped with the arrival of Covid. Now I don’t know if we will ever go back because of the political situation. The boys are busy with hockey and we spend vacation time in rinks! And we are loving it!
I’m so glad to hear this positive update and that a silver lining in this awful pandemic was found in your family. Thanks so much for the update!
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
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