QUESTION: My husband and I always worked very hard in our family owned business and sold it two years ago for a nice profit. Our dream was always to travel the world together. We watched travelogues and planned where we would go and what we would do. We did get to take two nice vacations before his heart condition prohibited him from travel. Now he wants to stay home and is encouraging me to travel with a family member, perhaps taking turns with our two children and grandchildren.
I don’t want to go without him and, actually, I’m concerned that something could happen to him while we’re gone and I’d be devastated. I’d rather stay home.
Any suggestions that could be agreeable to both of us are most welcome.
~ Retired Couple
Dear Retired Couple,
What a blessing that you have both made it to retirement and that you both support the other’s needs! This is often the exception not the rule in this day and age for seniors. I am often practical in answering questions like this, so I will speak to the wife.
First I will address the sentimental part of worrying if you do travel without your husband. How likely it is that something will happen to your husband while you are away? Your love and commitment are touching here. I would consult more than one doctor and ask the likelihood of another heart problem while he is home following doctor’s orders. If it is low, I seriously encourage you – travel with other family members and make memories with them!
Next a factual point we have a history to leave behind which is done through memories. You have a wonderful history with your husband and will make many more memories with him closer to home where he is safe. But think about the talks, memories, ancestry and warm moments you can share with your children and grandchildren. They will never forget these moments and pass them down to their own children one day. This is how we make history in the lives of our families and leave behind our wisdom, family stories, and just the idea of “who you are.” Your family will be blessed knowing and remembering their time with you.
You can make the trips shorter at first until you feel more comfortable. Then lengthen them and travel farther. Your husband is giving you a selfless gift. Extend it to your other family members. And enjoy.
Kimberlie Zakarian, Licensed Psychotherapist, Montrose
Two phrases jump out – “I don’t want to go without him” and “I’d rather stay home.” Is this how you really feel? If so, you need to convince your husband you truly feel this way. He knows you love to travel. He doesn’t want you to be disappointed. Would you be? Is staying home with your husband disappointing since you planned on travel?
I wonder if he feels guilty about ruining your fun. If you stayed home, would he be ruining your fun? If you two can be happy just being together, then why not just do that? While away from him, trotting the globe, would you be at peace, with his heart condition and all? Or would you be worried? Worry can put a wet blanket on the most wonderful of vacations. Maybe yours too. It sounds like you’d like to be close enough to keep an eye on your husband’s health. And perhaps your husband’s cardiologist has given you good reason to be cautious. I wonder how your husband would talk about this if he were certain that you could be just as happy hanging out with him at home. Would you be?
Rev. Jon T. Karn
Light on the Corner Church
QUESTION: Our granddaughter, who is 22, lives with us. She’s currently going to school to be a cosmetologist. Our problem is this: She told us she was going to stay with a friend while the friend’s husband was out of state on business. Well, the visit dragged on, and granddaughter told us the business trip was taking longer. We found out she wasn’t staying with her friend, and instead she is staying with a guy she barely knows. We’re angry about her lies and really don’t know how to handle this.
What can we do to make her understand her unacceptable behavior? This isn’t the first time she’s tried to pull the wool over our eyes.
~ Disappointed Grandparents
Dear Disappointed Grandparents,
I am reluctant to say too much due to not knowing all the reasons she lives with you, what the agreement between her and you is as far as living with you, and what options she has if she did not live with you. However, what I do see is your disappointment and sense of betrayal that has resulted when you found out the truth about her roommate.
I would guess your concern is born out of a concern for your granddaughter and wanting the best for her. You have taken on a big responsibility when she came to live with you. I imagine you have invested time and energy, and emotional concern for her. I am concerned with her lying to you about her true intentions. This could be for a number of reasons; it is hard to know why. But the path to take is to find a way of sitting down and having a frank discussion about her choices. You can express to her how you feel betrayed, and ask why she cannot trust you to help her through a decision like this. Then be prepared to listen and try to ask clarifying questions. She needs to have a model of how to work through this difficult time in her life and by having clear communication, without yelling and screaming at each other, can provide a good way to work this through.
You mention she hardly knows this boy, but I wonder how well does she really know him? And what would cause her to choose him to live with must be very compelling to have her lie to you and take such a big step. You may want to work out rules for staying with you and what you expect. If you need help, there are those who are trained that will be willing to work with you.
Thank you for your concern for her and for being involved in her care.
It is not always easy and God does offer us wisdom and guidance as we pray, as we talk with one another, as we study scripture.
I pray you will find your way through this wilderness experience.
Pastor Steve Marshall
CV United Methodist Church
Dear Disappointed Grandparents,
I am reminded what “Judge Judy” once said on her popular TV show: “If a teenager’s mouth is moving, they’re lying!”
As funny as that remark was, it isn’t all that funny when it happens.
There are all kinds of rationale used to justify lying but, basically, it is because children would have to explain their choices. According to God and the law of the land, up to a certain age children must be supervised and guided, and thankfully so. Having said that, at some point the training wheels must come off. The rub comes when what “we” would consider to be maverick choices begin being made then all the terrifying “what ifs” come flooding in.
I say stop right there; it’s a torturous dead end. Instead, take a fresh look at today’s relationship between you and your granddaughter because it changed when she turned 21 (some would say 18). You have a “junior adult” on your hands who can legally follow her own way. During these extended rocky times fresh out of “teenville,” I recommend you refrain from stating your disapproval any further; she’s keenly aware – or she wouldn’t be hiding her life. Begin to see and accept her as someone who is out there exercising her own ability to choose (within the boundaries of our laws), and that needs to become at least overtly okay so she can be open and more honest with you.
Young adults are going to express life their way regardless, and if you want to be included in that to any degree, you’ll need to muster the grace that won’t judge her on her path. There are bumps in the road ahead for all as we grow up; they have purpose and bring us our lessons in life. Trust this Process of life, the same Process that grew you up from a youth. I wholeheartedly recommend daily prayer along side this journey; it’s the only Power of its kind!
By this age most young adults have had a belly full of parental counsel, even if they can’t yet fully stand on their own. That’s not to say they couldn’t still benefit from it, but they want their turn at bat now. The issue isn’t so much about what she is doing, but about her being old enough to do as she sees fit, irrespective of parental approval. Adapting to the relationship perspective as one that now has adult dynamics will restructure your connection with her naturally. You are more apt to be kept in the loop of her activities in truth when she is not having to defend her choices from your disapproval. Using the wisdom gathered over time as a grandparent you can finesse guidance gently in your conversations while exploring deep listening skills on the occasions that she does open up and talk with you as friends will do.
After childhood passes, the relationship transforms and matures into that of a deep loving friendship and deserves the same mutual respect. In turn, when she chooses to share parts of her life she can return this respect by speaking the truth, even if she risks telling you something you might not want to hear. Her choices are hers to make; learning to make nice with that is the challenge you are faced with.
Lying is never acceptable, and I’m confident she’ll choose to open her life to you more and more as she comes to realize that you are just there loving her and allowing her the latitude of her experiences as she finds her way to full adulthood.
Breathe in deeply often and remember she’s the apple of God’s eye.
Kim Winders, RScP