Dear Amy: My 21-year-old grandson, who lives in another state, has let it be known to everyone that I'm responsible for his mother facing a murder charge.
When the police phoned to inform me that my daughter was missing and was being sought in a murder case, I answered all of their questions truthfully, fearing that she might have also been shot.
I was in shock and volunteered some information that I should not have, such as that my daughter had previously made threats against the victim.
I had no idea my comments on the phone were being recorded. Now they are part of the pretrial transcripts, and my words will be used against my daughter in court. My grandson, who is almost like a son to me, always looked up to me as a role model.
That he would now denigrate my reputation among family members is extremely hurtful. I'm already devastated that my daughter would commit such a horrible act. Should I try to make him understand that I thought I was doing the right thing at the time, trying to give the police enough information to help locate his mother before the unfolding tragedy was compounded further?
Or, should I not try to explain myself and hope time will heal this rift?
Heartbroken: You are not responsible for your daughter facing a murder charge — she is.
I hope you won’t apologize for telling the truth to law enforcement. Please, think of the victim, here. That person’s family — at the very least — deserves the truth, and for their family member’s accused murderer to face justice.
Granted, to a large extent, you are all victims, because (if she is guilty) your daughter’s actions have destroyed two families.
Understand this: Your grandson is acting out. Reach out to him, and tell him that you understand he is hurting, because you are hurting, too. Remind him that you love him — that you always have and always will — and that you cannot understand or defend his mother’s actions. Tell him that you know that he loves and is loyal to his mother, and that his love and loyalty will help her. Reiterate that you told the truth to law enforcement, because it was the right thing to do and that you don’t regret being honest.
Face this with as much courage as you can muster. You are all going to need it.
Dear Amy: My partner and I have created an unplanned but very wonderful child who will soon be a year old. My partner's family has invited the three of us over several times, and each time I have to say no.
Their home is disgusting. It reeks of smoke, it is crammed with junk from wall to wall and it is filthy. To make matters worse, the constant neglect of their many animals borders (if not crosses) the lines of abuse. The "man of the house" is a drunk who tells perverted jokes and is always angry.
I cannot and will not subject my baby to these conditions and while my partner understands, it does hurt him. His mother is unwilling to visit us for more than a few minutes before darting out the door.
She also shoots down every invitation to meet for coffee or at the park.
Should I approach this bluntly, or should I continue trying to skirt around the true problem out of fear of offending and ruining the minimal relationship we do have?
How do I let them know that my child comes first?
Mama Bear: From the clues you’ve dropped, your partner’s folks might be dealing with more than the man’s drinking. His mother might be agoraphobic, or struggling with another illness that makes her anxious to leave her own home for long.
Tell her, “The pets and cigarette smoke are too much for the baby to handle, but I’d love to meet you anywhere, any time — and of course you are always welcome here.”
You or your partner should try to intervene concerning the animal hoarding in their household; these animals don’t have the power you have to simply stay away. Deal with your partner lovingly and without harsh judgment.
Dear Amy: "Curious" wanted to know if it is okay to take sample-size toiletries from the hotel.
The answer is yes, as you noted. I donate my extras to our local homeless shelter.
Well Traveled: Many readers made this excellent suggestion. I will do the same with my extras.