The Scottish poet Robert Burns had it right: "O would some power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us."
I was reminded of that line while reading a Carolyn Hax advisory in the Sunday Washington Post. Here's the gist of the complaint: Young couple with first baby are facing out-of-control competition by grandparents for them--new mom, new dad, new baby--to come visit. The divorced grandmother resents any visits to her ex--one of the granddads. Meanwhile, the young dad's parents keep count of how many times they visit them versus one of her parents. "It has gotten so bad," the new mother [and someone's grown child] writes, "that they ask us where we are on weekends to see whether we are at another grandparent's house, and if we are, all hell breaks loose."
I know wherein she speaks. Several of my friends have voiced concern that the other grandparents get to see their grandchild more than they do, that the other set will have more influence over, gain more love from, be more important to the grand child. The feelings run deep. I've had little inklings of them myself--don't we all? Fortunately, most of us keep these thoughts and emotions to ourselves or vent them to friends. As you can tell from reading this Post clip--"how can we help them to understand how hurtful it is to be given so much guilt"--the situation there is out of control. But more to the point, there's nothing these grandparents are gaining by making their grown children feel guilty.