I love the mystery of this secret. It might be a cantankerous response to the previous postcard. The next mega-exhibition at the American Visionary Art Museum will be “The Great Mystery Show”. Several dozen mysterious PostSecrets will be included when it opens, however, this week is your last chance to see the current exhibit and secrets. If you have never been to the AVAM it is so worth a road-trip.
My family and I came across a picture that was hidden in my Great-Grandfathers wallet. He passed away 9 years ago. He was a solider in the Korean War and retired from the service after 20 years. The lady in the picture is not my Great- Grandmother to whom he was married to for 57 years. It has also come to light in the recent weeks, that he may have fathered a child while he was stationed in Fort Irwin.
My family and I are not sure if the woman in the picture is of his supposed child. However, there is a cryptic message written on the back of the photo that none of us can out how to go about translating it. We are unaware what language it is written in. My best friend told me to seek your help in finding out what the message is. I really hope you can help us!
I love his granddaughter, and I don’t want her feelings to be hurt by announcing on social media that I am expecting my first grandchild. She is 8 years old and knows that I am her father’s stepmother, but I still don’t want to hurt her. Whenever she comes over, my husband and I both spoil her (like grandparents should), but she has always favored her “Papa.”
The problem for me is that I am much younger than my husband, and I didn’t want my social media friends to think that I was old enough to have an 8-year-old grandchild.
How can I say that I am expecting my first grandchild without making her feel like she doesn’t count?
Grandma to Be
Grandma to Be: I appreciate your sensitivity about this situation, but I have news for you — you are already a “Grandma.” You have been one for the past eight years, and for you to try to find a way to deny this now that you are about to have a “real” grandchild in your life is all about your own vanity.
Your young granddaughter wouldn’t be the only person surprised (and possibly hurt) by the revelation that she isn’t your grandchild. Her parents, especially the parent you “helped to raise,” would probably be quite wounded.
I could also venture a guess that the reason your granddaughter has always favored her “Papa” is because you are signaling to her in a variety of ways that she is a placeholder for the real grandchild who will someday come along and claim your heart.
I became a grandmother quite young — at least it seemed so at the time, because I wasn’t prepared for this life stage. But family comes to you in different ways and at different times, whether you’re ready (or “old enough”) for it.
And so now the thing to do is to take to social media to announce your joy at the birth of your second grandchild.
LW, you are a textbook example of what NOT to do with blended families. As Amy says, your granddaughter (for that is who she is) probably favors your husband because she senses you don't consider her a 'real' grandchild. If you're worried that your friends will think you're "old", then it's an easy explanation: "Her father is my stepson. I'm so happy to be her grandma!" Ta-da.
When my brother and his wife were expecting their first child, I had people asking me if I was excited to become an aunt. I always replied that I'm already an aunt; my husband's family includes his sister's now six-year-old daughter, and I have considered her my niece ever since it was clear my relationship with her uncle was long-term. If I wanted to frame my second niece's birth as a 'first,' there were plenty of ways to do that: my brother becoming a dad; my father becoming a grandpa; etc. None of those slight my older niece in any way. So, LW, stop categorizing your family by whether or not they're a DNA match. You can embrace your 8-year-old grandchild without lessening your excitement over the pending one.
About three years ago, I began an affair with my old ex from university. It caught me in a cycle of desire, guilt and rationalization, which continued through my wedding. Now that we’ve been “just friends” for a while, she is beginning to fade out of my life, but I still think about her incessantly and have a constant heartache in the (admittedly relatively short) periods when I don’t hear from her.
I have not told my wife about her, but I’m sure she knows that something’s been going on. My wife is beginning to talk about having kids, but I feel that would be wrong while the Other Woman is still in the picture.
Still, every time I try to push her away, I keep thinking that I’m making a terrible mistake and that she’s the one I should be with. How will I ever know?
(Nick Galifianakis/For The Washington Post)
— In Doubt
In Doubt: “Having kids . . . would be wrong while the Other Woman is still in the picture”?
No, having kids would be wrong because you never felt “it” for your wife and married her while you were profoundly invested in someone else.
Having kids with her would be wrong because marrying her was wrong.
Cheating on her was wrong, too, but that seems to be the one wrong you’re aware(ish) of.
Still, the bigger wrong was to follow through on some misguided, dutiful impulse to marry someone you didn’t (and still don’t) want, even as every cell in your body gave you the message that this wasn’t the right woman for you, and when all of those cells were regularly in bed with a different woman who apparently was/is at least closer to being right for you. You’re several years in and you continue to resist that message, even as smart + kind + beautiful has stubbornly refused to = love. You’re committing one of the most serious emotional crimes there is: Cheating? No. Wasting her time.
I can’t speak for your wife, but if I were in this marriage, I would want the truth so that I could get out as soon as possible and get on with the business of building a new life on terms that are not secretly undermining me. Threat to life and limb aside, I can’t think of anything worse than living with someone who doesn’t really want me there.
Because there’s such a large gap between what suits you and what you actually do, and between what decency demands and what you actually do, please give a hard think to counseling. A good therapist could help you understand your own impulses, which could then bring some badly needed alignment to what you think, feel and do — which could then help you clean up this three-person mess you’ve made instead of, yikes, adding more people to it.
I have no sympathy for people who get married when they know they shouldn't. Yeah, it's a difficult thing to break it off with someone who's been a big part of your life, but if you're penis-deep in another person, there's no excuse, none at all, for going through with a wedding. Do your wife a favor and get out of her life. And for God's sake, don't add a kid to this mess!
My husband's parents always favor his brother. No matter what we do.
I have encouraged my husband to spend more time with his parents, as you never know when they could pass away. We have tried to set aside time with them, just the four of us, and we are always included with the brother.
On top of that, we have had trouble conceiving and it has been a painful situation for us. So when we are with my brother-in-law, who has a 2-year-old, it becomes about her, and they ignore my husband, cut him off, etc. And they never inquire or ask how we are doing or how our baby plans are coming. On top of the fact they give his brother more time and attention, they help him out financially while we struggle.
I have tried for years to have a decent relationship with them, as has my husband, who recognizes the inequality. What should I do?
You should stop pushing for an outcome that has no foundation in reality. "[His] parents always favor his brother. No matter what we do." So, accept that.
The parents have been absolutely consistent, at least according to what you've shared here. They favor the brother, they've always favored the brother, they bring the brother in whenever you try to see just the parents, and your husband knows all of this.
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So why, why are you "encouraging" him to spend more time with the people who only torment him?
On the list of "No matter what we do" efforts, has there ever been an effort toward simple acceptance that these parents will never give your husband his due? Toward choosing not to keep trying to curry favor that has never been, and likely will never be, forthcoming? Toward helping him recognize -- if he doesn't already, which he well might -- that his parents' favoritism has nothing to do with him? That it's about their emotional shortcomings, not his?
Again, given what you describe: All of your trying involves trying to change other people's minds. I humbly submit you'll be a lot more successful at changing your own mind and just giving up on getting anything different from these people. Please recognize that you have neither the power nor the standing to change what they put into their relationship with your husband.
That acceptance will change the one thing you can change, which is your own actions. Acceptance will improve what you give to your husband.
I suggest you give him, wrapped in a big red bow like in those obnoxious luxury car ads at Christmastime, the gift of 100 percent support for him in however he chooses to handle the parents who so persistently and consistently fail to appreciate the wonderful person you know him to be.
Focus on your little family. You're going through a tough process with infertility, I'm sorry, so it's more appropriate than ever to invest in what works. Attempts to wring attention from the in-laws do not work.
As for your they'll-die-someday worries, your husband may feel relieved. Or angry. Or an awkward mix of things. Prepare yourself by resolving not to judge him by any preconceived ideas of how he "should" feel. Instead, simply follow his lead.
Carolyn hit a home-run on this one. LW stop. Just stop. You know who his parents are and they aren't going to change. Stop trying to make them something their not. And the whole 'they could die' thing applies to you as well. I mean it would be awful if the last memory you had of your husband was dragging him to yet another torturous dinner with his negligent parents. I know a bit harsh but you should have better reasons to visit people who treat you badly then 'the specter of death haunts us all'. Just focus on your family now and let you husband set the date for visits, accepting that NO visits may be his choice, or greatly reduced visits in the meantime.