Which Grandparents Do Your Kids Feel Closer To?

Did you see the article in the New York Times titled The Maternal Grandparent Advantage? It talks about how grandchildren tend to be closer to the grandparents on their mother’s side, because mothers often act as “gatekeepers” to the grandchildren. If a mother doesn’t get along with her inlaws, she may limit the amount of time her kids spend at their house.

From the article: “Researchers exploring family affiliations point out that a so-called “matrilineal advantage” does exist. That is, daughters generally have closer ties to their own parents than to their in-laws, which leads to warmer relationships between their children and the maternal grandparents.”

Some of the examples in the article, of daughter-in-laws preventing or limiting the relationship of their kids with their in-laws, are pretty brutal. But I know it happens. The longer I’ve been married, the more I’ve come to understand how lucky I am to really love Ben Blair’s family (and how lucky it is that he loves mine).

I know many of us are getting back to work after the holiday weekend spent with extended family, and I’d love to hear if your lived experience matches up with the article. When you were a child, were you closer with your maternal grandparents or paternal grandparents? And what about your own kids?

In my own childhood, this was definitely true, but I associate it more with geography and religion, than a maternal/paternal divide. My dad converted to Mormonism when he was in college and that didn’t strengthen his own relationship with his parents. They lived in the Bay Area and we would only see them once a year or so. But my mom’s parents lived a few miles away and we would see them often.

Interestingly, as adults, my siblings have really developed our relationships with my dad’s side of the family. And these days, we probably spend more time with my dad’s side of the family than my mom’s.

For my own kids, they clearly adore both their Blair and Stanley cousins, and the biggest impact on the relationships seems to be geography. We’ve mostly lived far from our cousins, but when we’ve lived near Blairs — in Provo and Colorado — we spent lots of time with them. And when we’ve lived near Stanleys — in New York and California — we’ve spent lots of time with them too.

I think ages-of-cousins has a big impact as well. For example, there are some Blair cousins who were quite a bit older than my kids and they didn’t have much chance to interact with each other. But as my kids have gotten older, and age differences mean less, they’ve formed friendships with those older cousins based on shared interests.

On the Stanley side, one helpful thing for cousin bonding has been a “Cousins Week” every summer for the last 7 or 8 years. On the Blair side, they don’t do Cousins Week, but they’re really good at having family reunions and get-togethers.

How about you? Has your relationship with your in-laws been the biggest factor in how much time you (and your kids) spend with them? Or is it a geography situation for you? If your own parents have died since you’ve had kids, does that make you more interested in giving your kids a strong relationship with their remaining living grandparents? I’d love to hear about your own experiences with this topic.

P.S. — The image at top features my cousins on my mom’s side of the family — the progeny of my Grandpa Lloyd Pack and Grandma Lucille Evans. I’m in the middle on the top row, 8 years old with a bob and bangs.

82 thoughts on “Which Grandparents Do Your Kids Feel Closer To?”

  1. My mother has always been unfailingly kind and loving to the spouses/partners of her children. I found out this is a function of her temperament, genuine respect for those spouses … as well as a strategic decision. She told me once that to be otherwise would only hurt her in the end through less access to her kids and grandkids. No one wants to spend time around those who don’t like them.

    1. I am lucky to have a mother and mother-in-law who sound similar to your mom. I do have a close relationship with my mom but I have tried to also cultivate a close one with my mother-in-law. She has always been unfailingly helpful, generous, and kind to us and I genuinely enjoy spending time with her. I don’t know if this has been strategic on her part (she has two sons). Now that I am a mom to three boys (and our family is complete) this is something I’ve thought about many times…what decisions I hope to make the in the future to maximize my chances of having a positive, loving relationship with any future daughter (or son) in laws.

      We moved two years ago to live in the same town as my parents. This was partly a function of the work situation here and also because my parents are a bit older than my in-laws with a higher chance of needing help when health issues arise, etc. My kids see my parents on a more regular basis but we also make an effort to have them spend longer periods of time with my in-laws, who live an hour and a half away. My older two each go to spend one week with them each summer. I also try to invite my in-laws to special events and then they will come up and spend the night with us.

      This is an interesting, complicated topic. I could give other examples from my extended family where I’ve really seen this idea of a matrilineal advantage play out but I’m glad it doesn’t seem to be with my nuclear family and our parents.

  2. My experience belies the research. My young kids prefer my husband’s parents over mine, although they see them an equal amount—a few times a year each. I think it has to do with age and personality. My parents are mid-70s and don’t relate well to little kids. My husband’s parents are ten years younger and his mom adores children, and they adore her. Anyway…I do feel blessed to have two sets of loving grandparents for my children!

    1. You bring up a good point. I wonder how much age of the grandparents affect the relationship with their grandkids.

      I mean, I had my first baby at 23. I’m certainly not expecting my kids to do the same thing, but pretend they did. That means I could be a grandmother in 3 or 4 years. But my youngest will only be 10 years old and I imagine I’ll still need to focus on my own kids, not on grandkids. Which seems like it would make me a crummy grandmother.

      1. My maternal grandma had her last baby a few months after my mom had her first. And her oldest daughter (my aunt) had three children and her family was complete! I LOVED going to my grandma’s house. Though I was always confused why my youngest aunt wasn’t in cousin pictures and the like. I love that the generational lines are so fuzzy. My uncle was older and single and i hung out with him (like an older brother) in high school. His wife, my aunt, had a baby two weeks before me. My grandmother has passed on but the older siblings act a lot like grandparents to the youngest grandkids.

        It made extended family so fun! And of course, it was on my mom’s side who we saw much more frequently, despite both sides being close geographically.

  3. We moved from Boston to the Midwest to be near my husband’s family once we had children. My mother-in-law and late father-in-law were great to be around and we loved to spend time with them. I truly lucked out with a warm, loving, supportive and super fun mother-in-law. My mom has done a great job alienating the spouses of her children and, hence, did not spend much time with the grand kids or make any of us feel to inclined to visit. So it goes.

  4. My parents were divorced and my dad’s parents held that again my mom. Although we lived close to my dad’s parents while my dad lived 10 hours away, we only saw them when my dad was in town which was maybe twice a year. I grew up 4 houses down from my mom’s parents and they were a second set of parents to me. I was so close to them. I feel like my life was so enriched by that relationship. My mom passed away 6 years ago when my son was 3 and daughter was 6. They do not remember her at all. My husband’s mother lives about 10 minute from us but we hardly ever see her. Her and I have nothing in common and she may be the most self involved person I have ever met. My biggest issue however is that she treats her daughter’s kids so differently than she does ours. After almost 13 years of this,I have to admit that I go out of my way to steer clear of her. Truth be told my kids feel slower to my father in law’s girlfriend than they do my husband’s mom.

    1. “I grew up 4 houses down from my mom’s parents and they were a second set of parents to me. I was so close to them. I feel like my life was so enriched by that relationship.”

      That’s beautiful.

  5. The research holds true in my case. My mother-in-law is geographically close enough to visit regularly. My parents live on the other side of the country. We see my mother in law about once every 6 weeks or so, usually for an overnight. My parents visit us a couple times a year and we try to visit them once a year, usually for a week or so each visit.
    But even with seeing my mother-in-law much more frequently, my kids are definitely closer to and more comfortable with my parents. But that is mostly my mother-in-law’s own doing. I get along with her, but she has a reputation among the cousins on that side of the family as “mean grandma”. She doesn’t have a lot of patience and tends toward a “suck it up, buttercup” mentality. She also definitely does not play with the kids other than the occasional board or card game. She loves them very much, but she’s just a tough old lady with a loud voice and relating to kids isn’t her strong suit. Whereas my parents are both much more nurturing, playful, etc. and just have a natural affinity for children.
    I still remember when my first child was an infant my mom stayed with us for a couple of weeks and was eager to do everything for the baby. She would change diapers, give him a bath, take him out for walks so I could nap, etc. Then my mother-in-law came to visit and my husband asked if she wanted to give the baby a bath and she was like, “No. Why would I want to do that? That’s your baby to take care of!” That’s them in a nutshell!

  6. This is not true in our family, but my husband and I have both tried to make relationships with the grandparents a priority.

    I do think it is true though that bad blood between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law impacts the grandparent/grandchild relationship. I’ve seen it with my mom and one of my SILs. My mom reads into every interaction through that lens and never feels like she’s living up to expectations. I don’t know how my SIL feels about it, but it isn’t as easy as it is with others of the in-laws for sure.

  7. I could see how this would be true, but there are so many complicating factors in my and my husband’s case (early deaths of some parents, divorce, remarriage, estrangement from siblings which led to estrangement from parents & step-parents, etc.) that it does not apply in my case or my kids’ case. I think there are also just some people who are more excited about being grandparents than others. Some people love babies and kids and spending time with them, and others quite clearly have moved on from that phase in their life and only want exposure to them in small doses. To each her own!

  8. I read this article a week or two ago and I hate to say- but it resonated with me strongly. I wish it had not. I am that DIL who prefers my side of the family over my in-laws. My in-laws are kind and generous people to their grandkids. They always want to send my husband and I out so they can take care of the kids and “give us a break”. But…but…I just always feel a little cold toward them. I don’t like the pain that my husband and his sister are still unwinding from their childhood. I don’t like that my in-laws have never taken much initiative to make things right in any way, shape, or form. They were not abusive. But she was an angry mother (so much yelling and shaming toward her kids…), and he was absent- working jobs across the country and playing good cop whenever he was home.

    Anyway, in spite of their financial generosity and their caregiving with my kids, I would still prefer a weekend with my dad and his wife. I feel like there’s too much pain there for me to truly feel warm and welcoming.

    I hope I come across as kind to them- I think I am- but there is always something there that keeps me held back from them. I prefer that my kids bond with my dad 100X over.

    1. Oh this so rings true with me as well. I read this article and thought “this is me.” I wish it wasn’t.

      My in-laws are generous with their time and money but there are so many things about my husband’s upbringing that I don’t want to recreate with my own kids and that he still feels the effects of now. Therefore I feel like I can’t let my guard down around them – I feel like I have to be hyper-aware to be sure that those traits don’t carry down to another generation. They’re nothing but kind to my kids but I just can’t help that feeling.

      Geography doesn’t help; they now live halfway across the country while my parents live in the next town over.

      Same as you, I hope I come across kind but I know my coldness shows through when they see me interact openly with others.

    2. I feel the same way: too much pain in the past to feel very comfortable with my mother-in-law now. Also, I think we need to realize that a daughter has had her relationship with her mom for decades before the one with her MIL can even begin… how can we ever expect to compare them?

  9. This is true for me and for my family. I definitely felt closer to my mother’s parents. We saw them much more than my father’s parents. My mother did not get along with her MIL at all. As for my daughter, she too, is closer to my family than to my husband’s. My MIL lives in the same town as us, but suffers from mental illness. My daughter is visibly uneasy around her at the tender age of two. My mother is our child’s nanny. Mom comes to our house four mornings a week to care for her. Our situation is more extreme than others. I honestly can’t help preferring my family for the simple reason of stability. My husband’s childhood was interesting to put it mildly.

  10. I’d probably say that my kids aren’t that close with either grandparents. My mom is interested in them but she is very hands-off; my in-laws used to be very hands-on, but things have changed with both sets of grandparents over the past 5 or 6 years. With my mom she has had some health issues and my dad passed away, and those things combined have left her mostly focusing on herself. (That sounds like I’m putting her down, but I’m understanding about it. Unfortunately the children are the ones missing out on a grandparent relationship.) And about 6 years ago my in-laws decided to live out their “dream” of owning land out in the country and living in a new home they built there. It was rather hurtful for us to discover that their “dream” did not include them wanting to spend time with their grandchildren. I have put an effort forth on both sides of the family but the grandparents aren’t reciprocating, so I’ve mostly given up. I’ve learned from them all what I don’t want to be as a grandparent myself, so that’s my silver lining.

    1. anon for this!

      My sisters and I actually keep a shared Google doc of “things to do/not do as grandmothers” because we’ve seen some examples we’d rather not emulate in both our own and in-law families (even though we’re all in families of stable marriages and fairly happy lives). One big factor for my kids preferring paternal grandparents (both sets live about a half hour away) is that my in-laws really listen to the kids, and make time for them. My parents are busy with their own lives, and their vegan switch a a few years back also means the food at that grandma’s house is pretty nasty (you think it’s chocolate cake? aha, made with beets!)–whereas other grandma always bakes cookies. It’s interesting, because my parents try (arranged grandchild dates, grandchild of the month letters), but it’s all forced and artificial feeling. The other grandparents are kind of flaky and don’t try at all in those ways, but just come across as more welcoming and loving, and that makes all the difference.

      1. “My sisters and I actually keep a shared Google doc of “things to do/not do as grandmothers” because we’ve seen some examples we’d rather not emulate in both our own and in-law families”

        I would love to see that list! You ladies will need to write a book.

  11. Just this past weekend, over Easter lunch, my oldest son (5) mentioned that we were going to his “real” grandparents’ house for dinner later. His “real” grandparents, to him, are my parents, his maternal grandparents. In other words, this couldn’t be more true in my baby family.

    However, in my family of origin, we were much closer as kids (and throughout our teenage years as well) to our paternal grandparents, but I attribute much of that to my mother’s difficult childhood.

  12. This is not true in our family. I attribute this primarily to geography. We live minutes from my in-laws and see them several times a week. I genuinely enjoy spending time with them. My husband often says that they like me more than they like him. :) My parents live in another state. We try to stay connected with annual visits, but it is harder.

  13. I really only had one set of grandparents in my life as my dad was a bit estranged from his parents. So I suppose I could say I was closer to my maternal grandparents, but it was a tensious relationship and my siblings and I never felt like we were good enough. I didn’t feel trusted or loved by them, even though they did things for us. It was a strained relationship. My mother has learned from that though and does not want to be like her other mother. She tries so hard to be a good grandma for my kids. The crazy thing is that my kids really, really love my dad. We live overseas right now and when we video chat they always ask, “where’s papa?” I would say they prefer grandpa on my side, and then grandma on my husband’s side (his father has passed away). My poor mother is probably the least favorite and yet, she has done the most for them. Whenever I needed a babysitter or support, it was my mom. She buys them gifts, takes them out to do things, etc. but she is just not fun, I guess.

    I have tried to be friendly with my MIL, but she is a very private person and I have never felt at home with her. I can’t tell if she doesn’t like me. She is a very nice women, so I don’t know, but I just have this feeling that I have done something that bothered her and we have never moved past that. Because of that feeling, I would prefer visiting my family more. However, we do try to balance our time with both families. Since we have lived overseas though, my family has visited. I don’t know if we will see any of my husband’s family, but I really do hope they want to and would try to.

  14. I agree about the maternal gate-keeping influence. I tried to tell my newly married daughters to remember their husband’s family. It’s natural for a young wife to put up photos of her own family, at the same time they can sometimes over-look or minimize his.

    1. Why couldn’t their husband remember or put up pictures of his family? Why would this be a wife’s responsibility? Do you imagine the husband is spending his time finding, printing, and framing pictures of his wife’s family? Why do we continue to accept this double standard–giving all the responsibility and blame to the women, while seeing the men as incompetent and easily manipulated in maintaining familial relationships?

      1. I agree whole heartedly with this (as did many commenters on the original article). Recently my in-laws came to visit and my husband asked how his cousins he rarely communicates with via Facebook were doing. His mother, my MIL, turned to me and said I should really go visit them (we’ve never met). The expectation has consistently been that kinkeeping falls on me and that is not something their family values. Very frustrating and sad.

        1. You’re both right, I did assume a woman would take these roles. I guess I see framing family photos as a part of decorating, and I think of that as a role women generally like–but maybe not.

          As far as “kinkeeping,” again I assumed, but I guess it really depends on a.) your models or b.) your personalities or c.) the outcomes you want.

  15. This is really interesting. It makes a lot of sense but doesn’t hold true for my family at all.

    My dad grew up in a children’s home with absent parents who both died before I was even born, so it’s not applicable, and I have no way to gauge how that would have played out. My mom was a gatekeeper of sorts from her own parents–she had a very difficult relationship with her mother. We were close but we could have been even closer to them if it weren’t for that.

    For my own kids, they are certainly closer to my husband’s parents than mine. Geography doesn’t come into play–I think it has more to do with his parents still being married and being retired. This means we are able to see them more than mine.

    They are also very much “kid people,” and we always feel welcome in their home (we are actually here now!). Neither of my parents have made much of an effort to shift their homes to accommodate kids–no baby proofing, high chairs, special kid food, etc. In fact, we don’t even stay with my mom when we are in town–we stay with my sister, and my mom visits us at her house.

    Now that I think of it, this doesnt hold true for my husband either–he was much much closer to his dad’s parents. Partly due to retirement ages and geography (10 min drive vs 30), but mostly due to personalities and family dynamics.

    1. “My mom was a gatekeeper of sorts from her own parents–she had a very difficult relationship with her mother.”

      This reminds me of something I learned in a marriage class when I first moved to Oakland: Once a child turns 18 or becomes an independent adult, unless there is a financial connection (like the parents are paying for college or an apartment), the child is in control of the relationship. The child gets to decide if, when, and how often they’ll see the parent(s). If the child doesn’t want a relationship with the parent(s), the child can basically cut them off — move away, ignore calls, etc..

      Obviously, the parent can make it more appealing or less appealing for the child to maintain the relationship, but the child (now an adult) is ultimately in charge.

      Maybe some people would disagree with that whole premise, but it really struck me during the class, and made me realize that I really need to try hard to have strong relationships with my teens if I want them to desire a relationship with me once they’re independent adults.

      1. I love this thoughtful comment. I am also curious to know about the marriage class you took when you moved to Oakland! Why? Who taught it? What was the basic premise/philosophy behind it? I love classes of all kinds and am just really curious!

      2. A very good point, Gabby. I had never really thought of it like that. In my mom’s case, I didn”t blame her for being a gatekeeper, but as a kid it was confusing. This perspective helps me see that dynamic a little differently.

      3. I think this is true to a point, but one thing that I have loved about my parents is that they strive to keep our connection strong even now that I am an adult! We were a close family growing up. And ever since I’ve left home, at 18 and never having lived in the same state again (except a month or two here and there in-between adventures), they have made a consistent effort to visit me, call me, send me care packages etc… so, I reciprocate:) This attention comes from both of my parents and we are close to them still, living a state away and my kids have a great relationship with them! So, my point is their continued effort plays a big role in our relationship.

  16. This is possibly true in my family purely because of geography. We live in the UK and my parents are a few hours away by car – but my lovely, kind American in-laws are in California and can only come over once or twice a year (and thus far we haven’t made it to visit them at all since our daughter was born, which is totally on us). We FaceTime every single week with my in-laws and they get lots of concentrated grandkid time when they visit, but it’s not the same as my parents who do stints of babysitting and who can pop down and visit every month or two.

    It’s actually more noticeable with our siblings than our parents – our daughter adores my sister, brother in law and brother and has a great relationship with them. She barely knows who her Uncle on my husband’s side is, and his wife really isn’t a kid person so they just don’t put the effort in. Maybe it’ll change if they have children further down the line – but I admit I do feel a sense that they’re not ‘my’ family and if they don’t put that effort in it’s not really my job to pursue that relationship on my husband’s behalf.

    1. “his wife really isn’t a kid person so they just don’t put the effort in”

      Reading that line reminded me that often, I’m not much of a kid person either — which I know sounds weird as a mother of six. : ) I guess what I mean is that I’ve had an easier time connecting with and bonding with nieces and nephews when they are teens or young adults than when they were little kids.

      Who knows, maybe your sister-in-law will turn into a favorite aunt as the kids get older.

      1. Yes I think that’s very possible! She’s a lovely person, they’re just currently in that early 30s child-free phase where they enjoy their independence and their adult-centric life and small children are cute in small doses but very distant from their current lifestyle.

  17. Growing up I was/am much closer to my dad’s family. We lived next door to his parents which was a large factor, but the biggest reason was that we shared faith and family values with that side of the family. My mom’s family only lived an hour away, and we saw them fairly often, but our families were so different that we never really connected. I was blessed to marry a man who’s family has the same faith (which shapes our family’s values) and my children seem to be equally close to both sides of the family.

  18. Thanks so much, Gaby. This research triggers a painful time in our family. When my brother was married, my sister in law did not like my parents and limited their interactions with my grandkids, to such a degree that my parents saw their granddaughter only ONCE between the time she was born and when she turned a year old. They weren’t even invited to the baptism! (Not was I). I think it was less about limiting the kids exposure than limiting her own interactions with my parents. (Often my parents would visit when she was out of town). Now that they are divorced, they get to see the kids a ton! My brother invites them over all the time. It has been the most joyful result of a hard experience.

    For my family, geography plays the most important role, as my inlaws live really close and take care of my kids once a week. I love it, although it took some getting used to. We try to counterbalance with Skype calls, a weeklong vacation in the summer with my parents and my brother’s family, and by inviting my parents to fly out for important events and birthdays.

    I think the key for daughters in law, at least for me, is to have patience and spend time with your inlaws. We don’t agree on everything, but we do agree on loving our children. I found time and proximity has helped build our relationship. We had kids pretty soon after getting married, (and got married pretty soon after we started dating!) so we didn’t have a shared history. But I will say it’s hard for relationships to improve if you don’t talk to each other.

  19. I was fortunate to have close relationships with both my maternal and paternal grandparents. I lived in the same town as both for ten years, and one pair for 22. My grandma and I met regularly for lunch while I was in college, and spoke on the phone often (and visited of course) until she died three years ago. Our kids have never lived in the same town as either set of grandparents, and aren’t terribly close to either, which makes me sad. My kids have always hated talking on the phone, so I never pushed them to phone, which I should have. BUT, neither did the grandparents call them, so I am making note of how to behave with my grandkids, should I ever have any. I THINK they are closer to my parents, simply because my parents have always treated them respectfully, and have been interested in them as people. My husband’s parents seem to have unrealistic expectations of the kids, and expect them to be who they WANT them to be, rather than who they actually ARE. For example, my mil asked me if our daughter liked dolls. I told her she did not, but she proceeded to get her a lovely American Girl Doll for Christmas anyway. You should have seen the look of disappointment on her face when our daughter thanked her politely, but was clearly not excited about receiving a doll. If she’d gotten her something nature related, she would’ve been thrilled. And then there is their unfortunate habit of monopolizing conversations, and not asking anyone else more than one question about the other person before they go off on their own tangents. They are nice and good people, and I love them, but the relationship with the kids (who are now in their twenties) will probably never be what any of us would like.

    1. “My grandma and I met regularly for lunch while I was in college, and spoke on the phone often (and visited of course) until she died three years ago.”

      I have to say, I’m really loving the descriptions in the comments of what a good relationship might look like. It also makes me realize that though I only had positive interactions with my grandparents, and think of them fondly (they’ve all passed away now), I wouldn’t say we were really close — even with the grandparents who lived across town while I was growing up.

  20. I’ve always been closer to my mom’s parents. BUT I also think that had a lot to do with the fact that my dad’s mom died young, when my older brother was only 6 months old. My dad has often said he thinks we would have been very close to his parents if his mother had lived. I also agree that distance plays a big part- my mom’s parents and my dad’s father and his wife both live in the same town I grew up in. But my mom’s parents were just around the block while my paternal “grandparents” lived across town, requiring a car. We could, even at young ages, walk by ourselves to see my mom’s parents, and remain close to them even now (and are incredibly lucky that they are in their mid-80s and still in fantastic health overall!).

    In terms of cousins- I’m also closest to my two (and only) cousins on my mom’s side. They lived only two hours away and the older one and I were born just 5 days apart. Her younger sister and my sister are the same age as well. I think we’d be closer to our cousins on my dad’s side if they had lived closer (we are close to one of them, who grew up in our area), but most of them lived 14+ hours away by car so we saw them maybe once a year.

    1. Cousins who live far from each other can be hard. This is one case where social media has been a real game changer. My kids have different texting groups and Instagram messaging groups with their cousins — most of whom live far away — and it’s been an amazing way to keep relationships up even if they don’t see each other much.

  21. Proximity is key. I grew up in the same house with my mother’s parents, and I was super close with my grandmother. My grandmother was close with her own mother & grandmother. My mother’s older sister (who was 15 years older than my mother) was close with her grandmother, but sadly, she died before my mother was born.

    I think because my mom missed out on the grandma relationship when she was a child, she was always envious of how close I was with my grandmother. My mom was close with her sister, whom because of their age difference was like another mother to her. Sadly, my aunt died before I was born. So my mom was very eager to have the grandma relationship with her grandchildren.

    Due to logistics (geography and the fact that she isn’t retired) she couldn’t be around in the everyday care giving manor that she would have liked. Nor could she be the “hey, let me pay for summer camp/dance lessons/take everyone on vacation kind of grandparent due to financial limitations (her expectation, not mine.) However, last year she moved to our town and has been trying to catch up on 10 years worth of babysitting.

    My husband’s family lives several hours away and his mother is much older. My kids are her #10 & #11 grandchildren, and she has 3 great-grandchildren. I would definitely say her daughter’s children are really close with her, and her other son’s children are closer than my kids are. She’s a very kind woman and my kids would have a stronger relationship with her if we lived nearer, but it would look different that the very involved ones with the grandchildren who are 10-20 years older than my kids.

  22. Wow, I really disliked this article. I found it to have such a sexist message. Why do women have to be the “gate keepers” for her husband’s family? Why are daughters-in-law so commonly blamed for the relationship between a man and his own parents? I would never think that it is up to my husband as to what kind of relationship I or my kids have with my parents. So why should I be in charge of his?

    This reminds me of how my husband and I separated doing the thank you cards for our wedding–I did them all for my side (which was the majority of the wedding), and he did them for his side. I don’t nag because my husband is a grown man, and I am not his mother. However, I did hear that his actual mother was upset with me because “I” neglected to send thank you cards to her cousins.

    I don’t understand why men get a pass, and women are supposed to do basically everything when it comes to familial relationships. And I am not immune to this. I buy all the presents–birthday, Christmas, mother and father’s day–for both my side and my husband’s side. I write and send out our Christmas cards to both sides as well. However, I do 100% resent this notion of the daughter-in-law being a gatekeeper (and getting ALL of the blame for any relationship flaws). Why can’t we expect men to carry their own weight with their own family? Why can’t we expect men to carry the same responsibilities that women do?

    1. Additionally, in regards to the specific article, there were a few red flags in the mother-in-law’s account. Why didn’t she really know her daughter-in-law before her daughter-in-law had a child? Was she uninterested in having a relationship with her until she produced a grandchild? Also, why did she assume that if she picked up and moved across the country to be near her grandchild, that her son and daughter-in-law would need (or want) evening childcare? That is many working parent’s only time to spend with their baby. Did she ask her son if this would work for them or communicate this at all? It just seems kind of odd.

    2. Thank you! I had exactly the same response! “Gate-keeper” makes it sound as if women are keeping their children from their in-laws. But really, in lots of families, the wife/mother does all or nearly all of the emotional work and family contact planning. I decided early on in our marriage that I was absolutely not going to be the cruise director: I don’t buy presents or send cards for anyone on his side of the family or plan visits to/with them, and I refuse to feel guilty when his siblings’ kids don’t get presents or we see my parents more often. I suppose that could feel in some families like “score keeping,” but for me it was a really important way of establishing that we are both grown ups.

      1. Hannah, I hear you on the cruise director thing. Ben Blair has always been the main one to maintain relationships with his family. Though I confess, he’s also better about maintaining relationships with my family too — he talks to my siblings way more often than I do, and he gets excited for visits to my family, while I often find them stressful.

        I imagine some of it comes down to one-on-one relationships. If you happened to become best friends with someone on your husband’s side of the family, then I imagine you’d be eager to plan visits with them and wouldn’t think of it as a duty or burden.

        For me, I’ve found this to be especially true regarding my relationships with grown nieces and nephews. I have personal relationships with several on “Ben’s side of the family” and pursue those relationships because I care about them as individuals, and have developed friendships with them — not out of familial duty.

    3. Katie – I completely agree with you. This was exactly my reaction to the article, and every mention of it I have seen on the internet since. I really resented the idea that the job of maintaining ALL relationships lies with the woman. It makes me weirdly angry every time I think about it. Why is it not the man/father’s job to nurture his relationship with his parents (mother and father) and facilitate their connection with his kids?

      1. I don’t think it’s weirdly angry, I am rationally and justifiably angry that this crazy double standard seems to be accepted across the board. Maintaining long term and close relationships is complicated and arduous work. Putting it all on women to prioritize not only her family, but also shoulder her husband’s is so unfair and wrong.

        I am actually quite disappointed that Gabby, who I usually find pretty aware of the various constraints of misogyny still very much present in modern time, presented this article as a scientific study proving that daughter-in-laws favor their own parents without mentioning the emotional work that women are just expected to take over for their husband when they marry.

        What I think this article actually proves is that women work harder to maintain their many relationships, and people find it very easy to blame her when her husband fails to do the same.

        1. “What I think this article actually proves is that women work harder to maintain their many relationships”

          I’m actually really crappy at maintaining relationships, and don’t spend much time on it, and my husband is really good at it, so I don’t know that I would generalize like this.

          1. The article makes the same generalization:

            One possible explanation is that women still shoulder more of what researchers call “kinkeeping” …

            “Women are more active in maintaining those relationships,” said Jan Mutchler, a sociologist and gerontologist at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. “When you have mothers and daughters, then you have two women working on it.”

          2. Right. And as I described in my post, the article didn’t really ring true for me and my experiences — which of course is one of the reasons I wanted to discuss it.

            It’s been interesting to see how many people commenting relate to what the article says, and how many feel that their experience has been different. I’ve also really appreciated comments like yours that find the article obnoxious or upsetting. I didn’t have that reaction at all, and it has me thinking about why that might be.

        2. Also, I agree it’s ridiculous that it’s assumed women will shoulder the responsibility of maintaining relationships with their in-laws. I would hope that assumption is fading — I know I rejected it in my own marriage.

          I need to go re-read but I think there was a line in at the beginning of the article where she assumed couples were more equal and enlightened these days and was surprised that the research seemed to show otherwise.

          The assumption also makes it sound like husbands aren’t able to disagree with their wives regarding family relationships. So if the wife doesn’t want the kids to visit her in-laws, the husband doesn’t get to disagree and claim some time for his family?

          UPDATE: Here’s the part of the article I was referring to —

          “You hear this often: Paternal grandparents tread very carefully, mindful that a daughter-in-law might not appreciate their overtures or their frequent presence, anxious that she could limit access to their grandkids.

          I thought it an old stereotype, possibly never accurate and certainly now outmoded.

          But researchers exploring family affiliations point out that a so-called “matrilineal advantage” does exist.”

          To be clear, no one is arguing the “matrilineal advantage” should exist or is a good thing. I think we’re just discussing whether we’ve seen such a thing play out in our own lives, and why or why not.

          1. What I read inthe article and was responding to was not whether an advantage existed, but rather who the blame fell to. The article pretty clearly placed the blame on “gate keeping” daughter-in-laws who were preventing access to grandchildren. This is the aspect I so strongly disagree with. I do not think a daughter-in-law should have the responsibility of the blame regarding a relationship between her spouse/children and her spouse’s parents.

          2. I understand that your interpretation of the article is that it’s focused on blaming daughters-in-law. And that may be the correct interpretation. I guess I don’t read it the same way.

            Though the research concluded the relationship with the daughter-in-law is key, I thought the author was careful to acknowledge exceptions and account for individual circumstances, and was hopeful for change in the future. As a daughter-in-law, I wasn’t personally feeling blamed. But I can imagine how someone else might feel differently. And it certainly doesn’t bother me if people don’t like the article.

            I agree with you that it’s not fair that daughters-in-law should be the default responsible party for the relationship between her kids and her in-laws. But though we agree it’s not fair, the research cited in the article seems to show that daughters-in-law are currently taking on that responsibility. Maybe we need better research, or need to ask different questions during our research.

            Either way, hopefully by discussing it we can shine some light on the topic, and with more discussions, perhaps we’ll see a cultural shift.

          3. “To be clear, no one is arguing the “matrilineal advantage” should exist or is a good thing. I think we’re just discussing whether we’ve seen such a thing play out in our own lives, and why or why not.”

            This seems to be a common theme that I am seeing popping up in discussions of women’s roles–the difference between the ideal (from a more feminist perspective) and the reality, which can be very different. I think people like Gabby (and I) go into it assuming it the reality is not the ideal, but if we don’t actually say it, other women are quick to think we are siding with the traditional roles view of the world, when in fact, we are so NOT on that side, that we don’t even think to say it out loud!

  23. While we lived close by to my parents when my children were very young, and they probably spent more time with my parents by virtue of physical proximity-they felt close to both sides of the family. Even though my MIL could be challenging, ahem, I felt like it was important for my kids to know her and have fun experiences with her. We would spend a lot of our vacation time staying with her so that my kids could enjoy a close relationship with her, and my BIL and SIL who I adore (plus they all live in Chicago-a city I love-so visiting was great.) As my kids have gotten older and we’ve moved to an entirely new area, spending time together has been a bigger challenge. My MIL also met and married a really nice man who my younger kids think of as “Grandpa” but it has changed our family dynamics quite a bit. While MIL used to be quite happy to jump on a plane and come for a weekend, she’s much less likely to want to do that unless her husband can come also-and his schedule is more demanding, he has a lot of food issues that make the visit more challenging, and she very much dotes on him vs hanging with my kids like she used to do. Also, my teens feel really close to my parents because they “meet them where they’re at”-they make it easy to want to hang out with them when they stay with us, or if we stay with them it’s relaxed and fun. MIL has a lot of emotional baggage that makes it difficult now for my older kids to feel close to her-so there’s that.

    1. “My MIL also met and married a really nice man who my younger kids think of as “Grandpa” but it has changed our family dynamics quite a bit.”

      I wonder if this is unavoidable. I certainly saw it in my family when my mom remarried after my father’s death. We adore her new husband and he is an awesome Grandpa to my kids. And I’m so grateful she’s not lonely — she was only 50 when my dad died.

      That said, her relationship with her kids definitely changed when she remarried. It takes a lot to make a marriage work and she needed to keep her attention focused there.

  24. I have 4 sons and I have been thinking about this a lot. I have had a uniquely beautiful relationship with my mom but she is getting old and I know that sweet mother/daughter relationship will soon no longer be a part of my life. That’s hard to imagine. It’s an even more complex loss when you don’t have a daughter. I have always been so happy and content raising all boys but lately, as I’m looking at this next stage of life, I can see what enormous value daughters bring – like close relationships with grandkids. I would love to have daughters-in-law to be close to so I can keep that important part of life alive. I actually look forward to having these women in my life. I just hope they can be open to having a good relationship with me. I know this is easier said than done. I hope I’ll find SOME way.

    1. I appreciate the sweet words you use to talk about your relationship with your mother. I know not everyone feels that way about their mother (or father). It’s like I almost feel like we need to give a cheer when we see someone who’s figured it out and has a great parent-child relationship.

  25. And…I agree with the comments. I am trying to teach my sons that women are not the only family gatekeepers – men are a part of a family too and need to take responsibility for those relationships. It is interesting how society views a woman who is close to her parents differently than a man who is close to his parents. The whole “mammas boy” thing.

    1. I hadn’t thought about the “mamma’s boy” idea. I feel like our society has painted a picture that a man can put his marriage at risk if he maintains a strong relationship with his mother.

      You’ve got me thinking: What should a good balance look like of a man who prioritizes his wife, but has a good relationship with his mother?

      1. Hmm, I think that if a man has a good relationship with his mother there might always be some tension there. And I think this goes for anyone–I have felt tension between prioritizing the needs of my mother/father/sister family and those of my husband & children. I will admit that this is a very real struggle for me, as it is for my husband too (who has a great relationship with his mom and is close to his sisters too).

        My husband and I have talked a lot recently about the difficulty of this particular stage of life–when you have young children who need you and are pulling you one direction, but also parents who are aging and need your support in other ways. This feels very relevant right now, as I have two young ones, while simultaneously trying to help my father (who is undergoing cancer treatment), while also being present for my husband and his family while they mourn the loss of the “patriarch” of their family. Point being–maybe this is another “balance” myth?

  26. Growing up, both sets of grandparents lived within a mile and my family of five kids was equally close to our maternal and paternal grandparents. They were active participants in our lives. In fact, our grandparents became best friends with one another, so it wasn’t unusual to go over to a grandparent’s house and find the other set there as well! It was absolutely the best way to grow up.

    For my own kids, it isn’t as easy. We just moved back to my home town after living on the other side of the country for their entire lives. They are close to my mom (my dad passed away when I was in college). My husband’s parents are Spanish-speaking and live in another state and my kids only speak marginal Spanish. Also, a ton of childhood issues with my husband (and I’ll admit, some cultural differences) makes me very cautious. They work hard to be close to my kids, and I try my best to oblige.

    1. I love your comment so much. I love hearing about an ideal situation like that. I like having successful models to learn from.

      Can I ask if your parents are only children?

  27. Growing up, I was closer to my paternal grandparents in large part due to proximity. My father’s parents and my family lived in Southern California and we saw each other at least once a month, usually more. My mother’s parents lived in southeast Utah and we only saw them once, maybe twice a year. My mother is also incredibly close to my grandmother (her mother-in-law). My grandmother usually calls my mother before either of her two daughters and my grandmother currently lives with my parents.

    The same is somewhat true for my kids, they are closer to whichever grandparents we live near. For the first part of our marriage, when we lived in Utah or California, we saw my parents more. For the last 5 years we have lived on the East Coast and see my in-laws, who live in Kentucky, more. Although not a lot more now that I think of it. I have 2 siblings also on the East Coast so my parents try to come out at least once a year to see us. My in-laws have never made much of an effort to see us. We have to go them. Nor have they ever really helped us, even when we asked for it whereas my parents willingly fly across the country to help. (And this is not because I am the daughter, my mom frequently helps my brother and his wife as well.) We are moving to Washington (state) this summer and again we will be seeing more of my parents. But both my husband and I are really sad that we will be so far away from our siblings (he has 5 siblings on the east coast as well) and the cousins, we spend more time with our siblings and their families than the grandparents.

  28. My husband has always had a fairly rotten relationship with his mother, and she was always openly disapproving of our relationship back to our early dating days. So it’s hard to plaster on a happy face and spend every holiday with her now, so she can take pictures with my husband and kids (and not me) to put all over Facebook. If it weren’t for me facilitating, I don’t think my husband would have much contact with her at all.

    I found the NYT article’s tone really obnoxious. Evil daughters-in-law depriving loving, available grandparents. My MIL’s idea of a great activity is for us to drop off her preferred grandchild for a sleepover and pick her up the next day, which requires us to drive 4 hours for the 2 round trips, while excluding our other kid. And she keeps my kid up way too late watching movies and eating snacks that I find inappropriate. My kid ends up a tired, cranky mess. And since I work all week (unlike my retired MIL), I want to be with my kids on the weekend, not send them to her. When they are home on school vacations with the baby-sitter would be a great time for her to see them, but she’s too busy with her own recreational activities.

    1. “I found the NYT article’s tone really obnoxious.”

      And clearly you’re not alone. I didn’t find it obnoxious and I wonder if the difference is that I don’t have a hard relationship with my in-laws. If I did have a hard/strained/stressful relationship with my in-laws, I can imagine the tone of the article would have felt very different to me.

  29. perhaps an interesting perspective, our father stayed home with us and we’re closer to his parents. though, my mom got along better with them as well, and her family was quite a distance from us. my mom’s whole side of the family barely acknowledged our existence, so it was only my dad’s parents around anyway.

  30. I find it fascinating that the onus is never placed on the older generation )or the men, but that’s another debate!)

    Growing up I was absolutely closer to my maternal grandma, but had no idea why. Both grandma’s lived in the same city and we saw them both regularly (neither grandpa was in the picture). As an adult I’ve been informed that my paternal grandma basically didn’t like my mom or us kids because of my mom’s “uppity” middle class background. Ridiculous! But she kept a barrier to the point of denying having a middle name when I was born – she was keeping it for her own daughter’s daughter. (She was Roman Catholic, so Marie was pretty darn common and could have been used over and over!)

    1. I hope the responsibility for maintaining family relationships is becoming equal between men and women — though I’m sure there’s a ways to go. There have certainly been some good discussions lately about emotional labor and how it too often falls to women.

      As far as putting the onus on the older generation, it reminds me of something I learned in a marriage class when I first moved to Oakland (and I commented this above, so sorry for the repeat): The teacher told us that once a child turns 18 or becomes an independent adult, unless there is a financial connection (like the parents are paying for college or an apartment), the child is in control of the relationship. The child gets to decide if, when, and how often they’ll see the parent(s). If the child doesn’t want a relationship with the parent(s), the child can basically cut them off — move away, ignore calls, etc..

      Obviously, the parent can make it more appealing or less appealing for the child to maintain the relationship, but the child (now an adult) is ultimately in charge.

      I suppose this only matters to parents who want to have good relationships with their adult children — and as we’ve all seen, not all of them do.

      Any thoughts on that premise?

      1. That is a very valid point and I absolutely agree that it’s the choice of the now-adult child to allow the relationship with their own parents. (Parenting never gets easier, does it?!)

        However that is not the same as a person marrying into a family and not being wanted/welcome by the older generation. There’s not much you can do about your in-laws disliking you because of who your parents are, or how much money they do or don’t have, and that doesn’t even touch on race or religion. And it’s very sad when that dislike gets automatically passed on to the kids.

  31. Growing up, I lived physically close to both sets, but was much closer to my maternal grandparents (and saw them nearly every day). My paternal grandparents were divorced, which also made things more complicated.

    As for my own kids — my in-laws moved to a neighboring state before they were born, and while I get along with them fine, I’ve always been sorry that they’ve made little effort on their part to see my children or establish a close relationship. That’s not all their fault — financial reasons, MIL’s terror of flying — but, it put the onus on ME (the vacation planner in our house) to make sure we travel to visit them every couple of years. Now that my kids are teenagers, I think the chance for a deep, loving connection has passed, and I’m sad for that — but ultimately, my in-laws have done very little reaching out on their end, & I do harbor some resentment for their lack of effort.

  32. It’s very natural to me that I feel closer/more comfortable with my own parents than with my in-laws. We are amicable and I love them, but we’re not close. And of course I blame them, because from my perspective I’ve done what I thought would naturally build a friendship & they haven’t. But it didn’t take long to realize they might think the exact same thing of me. We are pretty equal with spending time with both families, and we live 2000+ miles away from any relatives, so it has to be intentional for us.
    I know parents-in-law have it hard- how to balance that comfort level with your own child and the sometimes near stranger they married? I hope when the time comes I get it right, and in the meantime I’m grateful for the superficial, but friendly & drama free family ties we have now.

  33. The dynamic between families in our lives is very different. My mom tries to see each of her grandkids as individuals and do things just for them. But my mother inlaw just counts all the grandkids the same. And actually, I am fairly certain my FIL forgot my daughters name once. But my inlaws come from a family that has epic family reunions and we wouldn’t miss them for anything. We joke that these reunions are Woodstock for kids. I am fairly certain my kids only eat Doritos and dirt for three days. So we really get both sides of a family. But in who my kids are closer? It would definitely be my parents because they see my kids as individuals thus my parents work harder to cultivate personal relationships. I don’t see my inlaws as people that care to have that.

    1. “My mom tries to see each of her grandkids as individuals and do things just for them. But my mother inlaw just counts all the grandkids the same.”

      That’s such a good observation. I’ve never thought of it that way, but I think I’ve seen that way of “counting all the grandkids the same” quite often. Maybe especially because I grew up around families with a ton of grandkids.

      Just thinking. My own kids are each 1 of 33 on Ben’s side and 1 of 31 on my side. How much does number of grandkids affect the relationship?

  34. My mother has mentioned this. She says, “It’s just something about it being your daughter’s baby. It isn’t the same with your son.” I’m not super fond of my mother-in-law, and even after her watching our second daughter for most of the first year, she will be moving back to the midwest again in a couple weeks, and I don’t expect there to be any magical relationship between her and my youngest daughter (now 14 months). Partially geography. Partially, she can be sort of a nasty person (to me), and I’m not keen on my girls really engaging too much with her.

  35. Divorced mama here, and her father and I each live with our respective mothers (thanks economy!). I think the relationship she has with each of her grandmothers is a reflection of the relationship she has with us and how we were raised: my house is relaxed, messy, open, loud, emotional. His house is buttoned up, tidy, a bit more reserved. If something ever happened to him, though, I’d 100% make sure she still spent time with his mother.

    Growing up, only one grandmother (my dad’s mom) was alive when I was born, and she’s still around. We were very close when we were younger, and drifted a bit as we got older, she moved states away, I realized how much their family was disappointed with my mom. My dad died when I was 9, and I was thankful my mom and grandmother put aside their issues so we could see them during the summers.

  36. I have a situation that I feel like is pretty unusual, but I haven’t read all of the comments yet, so maybe it’s not. I am closest to my husband’s step-mother, and my kids are as well. My father-in-law died shortly after our oldest was born and she channeled her care-taking of him into being (almost) completely available to us for help with the kids and just generally. She also realized really early on (after a rocky relationship with my husband and his siblings when they were kids) that she was going to not judge or even comment on our parenting and that has helped to make our relationship really great. She is the first person that I call when something goes wrong or right, and she has become a great friend to me, in addition to a wonderful mother-in-law and grandmother. It definitely doesn’t hurt that she lives close and is in great shape in her late 60s.

    My relationship with my own mother is not easy. She is a jealous person who casts herself as the victim in every scenario. While I was pregnant, and after the birth of my second child, for whatever reason, I became the perpetrator of her victimhood. It’s taken a lot of therapy, but I now understand that this is related to her deep depression, but I am still in mourning for the relationship that I do not have with my own mom. It definitely affects the relationship that my kids have with my parents, but I grew up with my mom bad-mouthing my father’s parents and it made having any relationship with them totally impossible, so I am always positive about them with my own kids and encourage the development of their relationship. They live far away, so it’s harder, but I don’t want this history to repeat itself again with my own relationship with my children so I think it’s important to try hard in this area.

  37. I didn’t have a maternal grandmother as she died before I was born, but I agree with the maternal advantage. My children think of grandma as my mother. The other lady is fine, but mom is NOT going to spend a prolonged amount of time there under any circumstances. My MIL is a good person abs definitely not a meddling kind, but the bond is weak. My own mother didn’t like her MIL at all.

  38. I’ve been thinking about this a lot today — our kids will never know their paternal grandmother because she passed away right before we got married, and I often think about how different things would be if she were around. She made me feel welcome and a part of the family even when my husband and I were first dating and she was a wonderful, wonderful woman who would have delighted in our kids. I think she would have been their favorite, even though (like some other places I’ve seen in the comments) it’s likely my mom would have done the most physical caretaking of all the grandparents. (She is great at cooking and caring for kids but doesn’t play with them as much as a “fun” grandma would.)

    I mentioned this article to my husband (mentioning to him that I see him as different because he regularly calls his family members, even more than I do!) and he responded that actually it’s not a natural state of affairs for him and he doesn’t consider himself “good” at relationships, it’s just that his mom always told him to call grandma growing up and when he went off to college, his dad reminded him to call at least once a week, which he still does about 15 years later…

    While I agree that women do most of the relationship-status-determining (for better or worse), I think we all need to do a better job raising our boys not to be so emotionally stunted. That’s on us as a society and we are worse off for it.

  39. My two sets of grandparents became good friends after my parents got married, and we saw them each weekly if not more often. We were all quite close.

    My partner’s family objected to our marriage, and are pretty transparent about the fact that they’re proud of themselves for being civil to me. They live a thousand miles from my parents, who embraced my partner from day one. It was not a hard decision to move to the same town as my parents so our kids could have a close relationship with them. We see my partner’s parents a few times a year. Grandma on that side has mentioned that she understands exactly why. Grandpa still pretends to be baffled.

  40. I grew up in a town that was the same distance away from both sets of grandparents. We saw them both at every major holiday and in between, we would see my Mom’s side of the family more often. They were a tight knit, very large family of immigrants (my mom became a citizen when I was a little girl) with a few of the siblings who never married. Those aunts stayed living and caring for my grandparents in the same house they are still in today many years after my grandparents have passed away. I felt more comfortable there in some ways growing up because they were more easy going about kids running around and I had so many cousins to play with. We didn’t get gifts there at Christmas because of how many kids there were and because material wealth/possessions were not valued at all in that family. We got dirty, played in the nearby river and climbed trees to our hearts content. At my dad’s parents house, everything was in its place and needed to look a certain way at holidays. My Grandma was meticulous in her cleaning and keeping of house and I didn’t feel comfortable or lie I could every really relax there when I spent a week there every summer. My Grandma was always correcting me and trying to make me more ladylike or proper. I remember one time scraping my knee and her getting upset over me touching the cotton part of the bandaid. She threw it away and said I had ruined it by getting germs on it. I wasn’t close to my cousins not hat side of the family either as we grew up Christian and they walked around cussing as small children with no correction from their parents. I know my mom was not comfortable there either so I think I sensed that and took on her discomfort. What’s funny is from all my childhood memories of playing with my cousins on my mom’s side and her big immigrant family, a shift happened in the family when I was a preteen and we have never been as close. My Dad’s parents ended up moving in with us when I was 15 and that changed the trajectory of my life in so many ways. My prim and proper Dad’s mom became such a different person after my Grandpa died and she and I became so close. She was there for the birth of my first born and one of the first to meet my foster daughter and celebrated her adoption like no other. She adored my youngest and she championed me as a mom and spoke so much hope and joy and beauty in my life. We lived less than 10 minutes from her retirement home and visited with her weekly. My husband adored her and she adored him- he often would visit with her on his own. She loved me so well as a young adult and mom and I would have never expected our relationship to ever be that close based on my childhood memories of her. Her death this past year was so painful to me because no one has ever adored me or been so delighted with me than my Gram. She lit up when I walked into a room and was always so eager to introduce me to ever single server or worker or resident of the retirement home. I loved laughing with her, caring for her and being in her presence. It was the best feeling and such a gift to be loved by her so well. She taught me so much about how I want to love my future grandkids.

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