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Missing son despite moving closer

Dear Annie: I moved here a year ago from another state to be closer to my son and daughter-in-law, but it seems that was not a good idea.

I only see them once a month when they come to my home for dinner. I realize they have jobs and a home to tend to, but I am pretty sure they spend more time with her family (10 members) than they do with me. I was alone for Mother’s Day, and I have asked my son four times to go to lunch on his day off, which is Monday every week, and I have been turned down four times. He also is very snarky with his reply to not have lunch, as he said in the last text message to me, “So on my day off I am supposed to drop everything I plan to do and do lunch with you? Nah … I am busy.” I told him I would bring lunch to his home, and he still said no.

They are going to have a baby in December, and I seriously doubt if I will see the baby as much as I would like because of her large family. I suspect that she will want to be with them more.

I must tell you that for my 70th birthday she thought I would want to go to a pizza joint with her entire family, and this pizza joint was really chosen for her four nephews, all under age 6, so they could run around and play video games. They did not get me a cake either, which was an OK thing to do at this pizza joint. I was just appalled and very hurt since I had told my son and daughter-in-law that I wanted to go to a seafood restaurant for my birthday.

I feel that I made a big mistake in moving closer to them and am asking for your advice. — Soon-to-Be Grandma

Dear Soon-to-Be Grandma: Instead of guessing if you made a big mistake, why don’t you just ask your son directly? It is obvious that your expectations are not being met, so perhaps you could lower your expectations and instead be happy with what your son and daughter-in-law invite you to. Or you could have a long conversation with your son about your feelings.

The fact that he is snarky with you could be a few things. Sometimes it could be displaced frustration. For instance, if he is really mad about work or his wife, he might feel it is safe to be snarky with Mom because you will always love him no matter what. Or it is possible that he really has other obligations and does not have time for lunch. Regardless, your best bet is to ask your son how you can help him and his wife and her family instead of asking him how he can help you. He has a wife and a baby on the way. As a mom, try to take off some of that pressure by not demanding that he does things your way. You might be surprised that once you shift your expectations, he might invite you over more often, even if it’s with her family as well.

Editor’s note: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.