Originally Posted by lach
You didn't answer my earlier question: what exactly do you do for them that you feel entitled to such lavish attention to them? We already know that you don't provide a place for them to sleep (and I know that my parents are not as young as they once were, and an air mattress on the floor is not something that they would be comfortable sleeping on), familiar food for them to eat, or even a couch for them to sit on. That when they visit, you demand that they buy you things and that you micromanage their schedule with demands. When they do buy your son presents, you are ungrateful to the point where you send them back.
Is there something else that you do do for them which would make them want to spend time with you? If the answer is no, then respectfully I have to say that I think it's pretty obvious why they don't want to visit you for overnight stays.
But a quick clarification: I don't demand things and I don't micro-manage their schedule.
To answer your questions:
One, I'm not looking for lavish attention. I am looking for them to show the same attention to my son as they do for their other grandchildren, the same age. It is very, very lopsided and has been for years. I do have a very nice place for MIL to sleep and I have always put out fresh sheets, blankets and pillows for her and go to the grocery store before her visit and get good things (just not meat) and usually I order pizza or other take-out for her and she chooses what she wants. More often than not, DH and I pay for it.
Two, what have I done for them.
I send them pictures of their grandchild, and lots of information on what is going on in their grandchild's life.
I used to send lots of cards (for things like Father's Day/Mother's Day, etc). For years. I send them art projects from school, drawings, etc.
I invite them for field trips, for birthday parties, for playgroups. For holidays. For visits in general. I always extend the invitation to them both.
I always offer to pay for things like take-out, pizza we order, the admission to places we go. More often than not, DH and I do pay.
I take MIL out for lunch, and pay. I take MIL out for coffee, and pay.
I ask what they would like to do first. I ask for their ideas about agendas. What would you like to do? What do you enjoy? Oh, I don't know. Whatever is fine is always the reply. But they always say it's a problem or snipe about it after the fact.
I used to buy them gifts, special ones, from their grandchild - keepsakes, personalized things, special and meaningful books, framed photos, grandparent journals, etc. I made a real effort on that kind of stuff for about 4 years (my child is only 4.5).
I have gone to visit them when they've requested over the years: holidays, Mother's Day, if they have relatives in town, family reunions.
I've not complained and agreed it was necessary when DH had to go to their house, use his very limited vacation from work, and help them when they've had a few emergencies and other episodes. We're the only relatives close, and we do that for them and have for years. Granted, they don't ask for help often but when they have, we've been the family to do it.
I reached out to MIL and helped in every way DH asked me to and which I felt was appropriate without overstepping my bounds when MIL's mother passed away. We stayed with them, sent cards, called on the phone. That's what family does.
When I go to MIL's house, I put up with their smoking and their lack of a guest room, and the tv being on loud into the night in the same room they set up the air mattress for me, DH, and DS. The last time the tv blared all night and other family members were watching it and DS (3 at the time) stayed up until 1 a.m. crying. I try to overlook things when at their house, within reason.
I've tried to give MIL and FIL as much information to make things they don't understand as easy on them as possible.
I don't know there's probably more.
In return, I am asking that they be fair and spend an equivalent amount of time and money on DS as they do on their other two grandchildren the same age who happen to live much further away.
I hope that answers your questions.