On Call

Couple on plane.jpg

Myrna and James McCauley have what can best be called a “transactional” relationship with their daughter-in-law, Gina. Gina is barely civil to them unless she wants something, and right now what she wants is for them to babysit her two young teenage boys—and cart them to all their activities—while she and their son take a trip abroad. Although Myrna and James dearly love their grandsons, they do not want to suspend their own activities, fly 1,000 miles from home, and spend two weeks in Tulsa, where they know nobody. They deeply resent the expectation that they will, of course, drop everything when Gina snaps her fingers although she’s perennial ungracious to them. What should the McCauley’s do: Respectfully decline and risk alienating their son? Say yes but let Gina know they don’t appreciate her attitude? Just fly out and zip their lips?

The Panel Weighs In


Sue: They know they’re going to do what they always do: Say yes, grouse to one another, and then paste on big smiles while they arrive in Tulsa.

James: There’s no sense talking to Gina; her attitude is never going to change. The McCauleys just have to wait it out until the boys grow up and they can have a direct relationship with them instead of going through their mother.

Paul: They should kick Gina to the curb.

Cindy: The McCauleys certainly shouldn’t bring up Gina’s crummy attitude with their son, who will defend his wife to the death, as he should. Luckily, they have each other.

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