For me, Christmas will be a time to say sorry

Over the years, I’ve had some great Christmases, but for the last 5 year,s it’s been hell. Nothing make me

Over the years, I’ve had some great Christmases, but for the last 5 year,s it’s been hell. Nothing make me feel more anxious or incredibly upset than the prospect of another Christmas alone. So this year I’ve decided that I want to bury the hatchet with my daughter-in-law who has caused me grief.

It took me many years (as you can see) to get to this point, and I didn’t do it easily. I’ve fallen out with my son and my grandchildren and while I’m not completely over it, I feel I should share my story so that perhaps other grandmothers who are in my situation can know that saying sorry is better than living like I, or we, have been.

Five and a half years ago, I had a big fight at a family barbecue with my daughter-in-law. She was holding my grandson in her lap and was smoking with the other hand. He was liable to fall off her knee if she wasn’t careful, and at 9-months-old, I couldn’t have that happening. I swiftly snatched him off her. I could have left it there but I yelled and said she was a bad mother. Understandably, she was very upset. There were so many things wrong with the situation from my point of view, especially the smoking, but she felt it was time for me to leave.

My son called later on a yelled down the phone at me while his wife shouted in the background. It was incredibly upsetting and a few months later I sought counselling to deal with my depression. I called my son time and time again to explain my side of the story but they didn’t want to hear it. I missed my grandson’s christening, and devastatingly I also missed the birth of my granddaughter. What had I done?

The more I tried to explain and say that she wasn’t a bad mother, the more I was pushed away. It’s been five years since it happened, and it’s felt like eternity. For a grandmother to not be able to be the matriarch and be around her grandchildren is heartbreaking, but so is losing your own baby.

After many moments of reflection, I realised the one thing I hadn’t adequately said was sorry. I hadn’t sat down and written a letter and apologised. I’d never said sorry that I intruded or sorry that I judged your smoking, or sorry that I embarrassed you in front of your family. So I decided this year it was time.

I wrote that letter, and I got a response. My daughter-in-law said I could come to their family Christmas for the opening of the presents if I wanted to. She was curt in her response but she seemed as if she had moved on, finally.

In less than two weeks’ time, I’ll be able to say the words I never could… and I’m hoping it works.

Wish me luck.


Tell us, have you been in this situation before? Have you been shut out of your family for a mistake you made?

  1. I hope you have a lovely family christmas . It takes a big person to apologise. Even thou I don’t think you did the wrong thing , U were looking out for your grandsons welfare. All water under the bridge now . Merry Christmas

  2. Sometimes we have to back off and let our children make their own mistakes after all it is their life but it’s not always easy to do that I wish you all the best and hope you have a great time because life is far to short to waste time on bad moments my most wonderful moments ate when I have all my children and grandchildren round me and yep it doesn’t always run smoothly

  3. Have a lovely time , I have learnt the painful way just to visit when asked ,pick your words , and be glad to be included ,after all that’s all we want

    • how sad that we have to be glad for any crumbs thrown our way-where is the love and respect we showed our elders-we visited them and took their grandchildren to see them. We didn’t want them to be lonely and time with them was a gift to our children. The lack of respect for the parents of adult children is a very sad reflection on our society.

  4. Jude  

    Another way of handling that situation would have been to have asked her if you could give your grandchild a cuddle in a calm manner while she had a cigarette. There are always many ways to handle any situation and I think your way was unwise.
    You humiliated her and by doing that alienated both her and your son.
    Saying sorry is a start and if you are sincerely sorry she will pick up on that. Remember we all have our own ‘life maps’, accept that you and her think differently about some things and best wishes for your future happiness with your grandchildren.

  5. I have also had to swallow my pride even though I had done nothing wrong I might add, my daughter in law just doesn’t like me because my son loves me. Many many times I have bitten my lip when I have worn insults and again I have recently done so as my grand chdren have the right to know me no matter what she thinks of me. You are very brave to apologise and it was the right thing to do.,, all the best..,

  6. It’s good that you finally have a chance again with your family! While in essence it was not good her smoking with her baby so near. You could have handled it a lot better. Perhaps even offered to hold the baby. Calling her a bad mother! Well you know that was wrong. I hope you have a nice Christmas. Get to know your family again!

  7. I am also sorry for trying to be kind . For trying to make there lives easer . For trying to do things to help & not get in there way so they could have a good life , as my Mother & Father did for the family & we all love them for it .

  8. Enjoy your christmas with your family. If apologizing brings you back into the family then thats what you have to do. It doesnt matter who is right or wrong harmony comes first. Merry christmas

  9. Good luck, God be with you. Sometimes we have to just bite out tongue & move on. We’ve reared OUR families, if advice is not wanted, or accepted, not much we can do, if we want to remain in the Family Circle. Times have changed ! Sometimes it’s hard to stay quiet, but we learn the hard way ! 🙏

  10. You have travelled a huge emotional and spiritual journey.All you need to take to the family gathering is a heart full of Love and Big Hugs. Nothing more is required of us as Grandparents,and that’s the best part! Have Blessed and Wonderful Christmss🎄

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