Okay, within all the extraneous commentary is buried a little sentence that gets us halfway to the answer: “You don’t even say if your daughter-in-law wants you buzzing around when she gives birth.”
Well, maybe you should ask her. Your son’s wedding is important, yes, but it will go on and be wonderful with or without you. Yes, your grandchild will be around a lot longer than the day of his birth (God willing, of course), but labor and delivery is excruciatingly difficult for any woman – is she counting on your support? If yes, then you are making the right decision to be there for her.
On to the next one –
Any or all of a few different things are accomplished by complaining about a spouse:
1) Validation in feeling irritated
2) Venting so when you do approach your spouse later you aren’t angry
3) Enjoying the intimacy of marriage, including the fact that you see all the wrinkles of another person
I think Prudie’s advice is good – give the other women the validation they seem to be seeking. And don’t think too much of it beyond that – complaining about a spouse isn’t ALWAYS the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad habit some people think it is.
Last one –
This one is a pretty heavy one. I don’t know what it’s like to raise a special needs child, so to the original letter-writer I say: you and ONLY you know how much you can handle. You may be wrong about how much you can handle, so I would emphasize what the second poster said about making sure you have resources lined up to help you.
However, I do know what it’s like to have a special needs sibling. I have a brother with severe autism who is two years younger than me. I remember being young, playing with my brother, thinking that it’s fine that he can’t talk to me yet because he’s still a baby. That’s okay, though – I just have to be patient. He’ll grow and learn to talk and before I know it he’ll be able to play with me. I waited a long time. It never happened.
At 30 years old, he can say any of several memorized phrases to express himself, but he doesn’t string words together on his own. This progress didn’t come easily – my parents’ entire lives were spent trying everything to encourage his development. Everything was about what he needed and what would help him. It really did feel like my needs were a distant afterthought, if they were even a priority.
But here’s the thing – I am a functioning adult. I am not a slave to a developmental disability like my brother is. At some point I have to say to myself, “Sure, I do feel like I got shafted out of getting some actual attention from my parents, but so what? They are only human; they can only do so much. It’s not ideal, but I do have the ability to make up for lost time; essentially, to raise myself as an adult.” That’s the approach I’ve taken and the approach I would recommend to fellow adult siblings of special needs children.
I hope this letter-writer and her husband are able to decide what is best for their family.
Agree? Tell me in the comments. Disagree? Go eat a rock. Kidding! Tell me that in the comments, too – nicely.