Occasional Visitor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-02-2013
Problem with grandparents

My parents were supposed to attend an event my 10-year-old son's school was having.  They were substituting for my in-laws, who are definitely the more involved set of grandparents, but who were unavailable because they are dealing with the death of my father-in-law's sister on the other side of the country.  The event was in 2 parts--a presentation put on by my son and his classmates and then a reception in the cafeteria afterwards.  I had explained to my parents as much as I knew and definitely told them they would be having refreshments with my son after the show.  I figured details would be explained to my parents once they got there.


I come to find out that my parents left straight after the presentation and my son was left as the only child at the reception with no guests to host.  He said he would look up excited every time the cafeteria doors would open and didn't understand where my parents went.  When I spoke to my parents--and scolded them for abandoning their grandson--they said all they were told was that the children were going back to their classrooms and that there was a reception for the guests, so they figured what was the point in staying.  What they didn't know was that during the reception my son would be doing an activity with them that would become a little book that the school would mail to the grandparents as a "souvenir" of the event.  I didn't know this until the night before the event, but I didn't think I had to tell my parents about it since I assumed they would go to this reception and find out when they got there.


I have always felt guilty that we involve my husband's parents in our children's activities much more than mine, but mine are so high maintenance--they don't like driving anywhere, they don't like to socialize, and even though they are only 72 and in relatively good health, they act like they're 90 and about to drop dead at any moment.  I thought attending this event would be a wonderful chance for them to be involved for once, but it seems it would have been better if my son had just had nobody--then at least he wouldn't have had his hopes up.


I am so angry with my parents right now and heartbroken for my son.  He seems to have gotten over his disappointment now, but it's the weekend, and I don't know if hurt feelings will resurface come Monday when he's back in school.  My parents say they feel bad, but I get the impression they don't feel they are really to blame--that it was miscommunication on the part of the school that's at fault.  My 12-year-old daughter was at the assembly and said there was no mistake that an announcement had been made that the 5th graders would be going back to the cafeteria with their guests for a reception in their honor.  My parents insist they never heard it.


I really just don't know how to handle this situation, other than knowing in the future I am not going to even bother making an effort to involve my parents in any of my children's activities if they find it such a burden.  I tried looking on the internet for some advice--like what things I can say to my son that will help ease his sadness about what happened--and all I find are things about grandparents' rights to spoil their grandchildren and how parents shouldn't be so hard on them.  Which only upset me more.


I hope there are others out there who have had similar situations and can let me know how they handled it.  I want to be able to lessen this horrible sick feeling in the bottom of my stomach every time I think about it.


Thank you.