Limits and Larry, Sr.

A post that Jadegirl wrote made me think about my own situation with my kids’ paternal grandfather, Larry.

Larry has always been an asshole. My husband did not have an easy childhood; his parents divorced when he was young, then remarried; Larry was a drug addict, often unemployed and often cruel to my husband and his brothers, and to his wife, Alice. They divorced again in the mid-90’s when my kids were toddlers. Larry left Alice for another woman, Pat, who he had been seeing for many years. (Larry is/was a truck driver and often away from home, Pat, apparentally, was basically his second wife in another state; Now I’m sure there’s a “new Pat” that “old Pat” knows nothing about.)

Chris was really upset with his dad about the divorce, nevertheless, he maintained a relationship with him. We met Pat and she seemed okay; a home wrecker, but polite. Pat and Larry married and decided to live near her adult children in Texas. Larry would occasionally come through our area for work and would stop and visit us.

One such visit lead to a near total estrangement between my husband and his father. Larry wanted Chris to go on the Par-A-Dice with him. Chris wanted him to come to our house for dinner so that he could see the kids and we could all visit. Larry was adamant that they should go on the boat. Chris said, no, he had to work the next morning, and didn’t want to be out late, plus, we had two small kids and really couldn’t afford to gamble. (I’m sure Larry thought “that never stopped me!”). Larry went on the boat. Chris stayed home. And they’ve barely spoken since.

Chris spoke to Larry once after that happened; Larry said he no longer considered our kids to be his grandkids. (Bastard, that’s probably the most needlessly hateful thing I’ve ever heard anyone say.) That Chris “knew what he did.” Uh, yah, I was there, too, is not wanting to gamble, is wanting your father to spend time with his grandkids a horrible thing?

Several years ago I heard my daughter discussing grandparents with a friend and she said “I only have one grandpa, I think the other one is dead.” It broke my heart for her. And really, for Larry, too. My kids are wonderful. They are funny, smart, loving, and kind. They haven’t had an opportunity to know their grandpa and it kills me that he has rejected them, through no fault of their own.

I decided to try and contact Larry, and obtained his email address from another in-law. I emailed him an update of the kids’ lives and pictures of them. We had a brief email correspondence before the negativity set in. Larry started making comments about my husband, about how the estrangment was all his fault, how the divorce was all Alice’s fault, needless vitriol.

We have had no contact with Larry since then. It’s hard to invite someone so emotionally destructive into your life but it’s also hard to accept that my kids will never have a relationship with him, that my husband is unlikely to see his dad again, until his funeral.

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4 Responses to “Limits and Larry, Sr.”

  1. Chef Kevin Says:

    I can sympathize with you and your kids. I didn’t have a rocky relationship with one set of my grandparents, I had no relationship. Why? They lived in Germany; I met them twice. They spoke no English, I spoke little German. They never visited the US to see my father; their son. We always got a birthday card and a collective Christmas card every year, which of course had to be translated (Grandma wrote in old German, which looked more like Chinese or something). I know dad wrote frequently and he called every-so-often. I guess one extreme is as bad as the other: he’s around (or could be) but is a jerk. Mine weren’t around and couldn’t converse with them anyway. I think we’d be in the same room together and wouldn’t know what to make of each other. I don’t think I could describe to a police sketch artist what my grandfather looked like and as far as I know, there are no pictures of him.

  2. diane vespa Says:

    Jen, I know its hard, but I think you should count your blessings that Larry is out of your lives. Setting no example is preferable to setting a bad example to your children, and further, it isn’t good for Chris and his emotional healing to continuously have this pompous ass barging back in to try to ruin his life. Some people are just bad people.. and even if they are “blood”, it is best to not have them in your life. Your children will be fine, especially with stable loving parents like you and Chris. One final comment… I really admire Chris for his strength in overcoming the lack of parenting he experienced during a very vulnerable time of his life. It really says a lot in regards to his quality and goodness as a human being.
    [hugs]

  3. HollowSquirrel Says:

    Wow, well said. We are sort of going through this with my father-in-law, but the estrangement started only 2 years ago. Before my mother-in-law died, I adored my husband’s father. But his choice in marrying this complete nutjob who hates us for being his family? I can’t stand by that. I just don’t want her negativity near Jojo or me or my husband. And since my FIL has chosen her over us? I don’t want that either. He came 1.5 hour late to Jojo’s birthday party last month and didn’t bring a gift or card (not that I demand that, but hello? Your one grandson!)…but he did manage to stay 3 hours total and take back this printer and scanner he had loaned us (since his new wife wanted it). Nice.

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