Grandparent intrudes into family time

Dear Annie: My 33-year-old daughter has been married for three years and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl five months ago. Because my husband and I live 700 miles away, we've seen the baby only three times. On the other hand, my daughter's father-in- law, "Dan," is at their home constantly.
Dan is unhappily married and very close to his son. Recently, we were all together for the baby's christening, and while I was holding her, Dan reached out, grabbed the baby, and said, "Baby needs some Grandpa time," and took her from me.
My daughter and I were quite upset by this. My time with my granddaughter is rare and precious. But whenever we visit, Dan manages to be around under some pretext. My daughter has asked her husband to talk to his father about breathing room and allowing us to have private time with them, but so far my son-in-law has avoided the problem. He says he doesn't want to hurt his father's feelings, although I suspect the problem runs much deeper.
I am afraid if Dan does not stop intruding, their marriage will suffer. It is not my place to speak up, but it is so difficult to stand by and do nothing. I am writing for your advice. Empty-Armed Grandmama
Dear Empty-Armed: Your son-in-law should be willing to speak to his father, but if he is not, your daughter must do it. If Dan is intruding in their lives, it is better to set the boundaries as soon as possible. These situations do not get better with time. Hopefully, those limits also will help when you are visiting with your granddaughter, but if not, you can find "Grandma time" by taking her for long walks and having the family visit you.
Dear Annie: Some time ago, you printed a piece that, in essence, was about a woman regaining her self-worth after a failed relationship. I had recently divorced and it helped me so much. I now have a co-worker in the same situation and I would like to share it with her, but I cannot find my copy. Could you please help? J.
Dear J.: Here it is, one of our readers' most requested pieces:
After a While
By Veronica A. Shoffstall
After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn . . .
E-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie's Mailbox™, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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