Imagine sending your child off to visit her grandma and then
getting an itemized invoice for expenses upon your child’s return. That’s exactly
what happened to one mom who wrote to Ask Amy, a nationally syndicated advice columnist, about what to do in this situation.
Using the pen name "Burned by Grandma," the mom wrote that she'd sent her mother a $300 check in advance of her daughter's visit to cover expenses. But what happened next shocked her. Her own mother sent her an invoice for $475.50—yes, down to the cent—itemizing everything from "the cost of gas to and
from the airport to transport her (45 minutes away), train tickets to go to the
city to a museum and the cost of the museum admission."
The writer goes on to explain that she’s hurt and
angry (obviously; we would be, too). She’s also considering not sending her daughter to spend time with
Grandma anymore because the cost is too high—as she put it—"financially and emotionally.”
Now, granted, we don’t know the grandmother’s financial
situation. The letter mentions that she's a retired college professor, but
that tells us nothing about what she can and can’t afford. Here’s the thing,
though: If mom sent $300 to cover the child’s expenses, why the
funk did Grandma choose to go over that amount and then bill for extras without at least calling her daughter to let her know she'd run out of money?
If you're going to turn your grandchild’s visit into a
business transaction and charge for each and every thing, then you need to get
those expenses approved BEFORE you make them. You can’t assume that you’re
going to get reimbursed for costs that you choose to make without consulting the bank.
Plot thickener: Last winter, the grandma lived with “Burned by
Grandma” and her family for four months and paid for nothing. She even got to go on an island
vacation with her daughter's family. How would it have gone over if, after her extended
stay, the grandma had been presented with a bill? Methinks not well.
Ask Amy responded with solid advice that the writer
needs to express her concerns directly to her mother.
“Is your mother financially insecure? Is she worried about
maintaining her own lifestyle in retirement? These are legitimate concerns,”
writes Ask Amy. “But is there a legitimate reason she couldn’t stay within the
reasonable $300 budget, spending over twice that amount? Is this itemized bill
her passive-aggressive way of telling you that she doesn’t actually want to
host your daughter for such a long visit?”
It seems that Gran has a serious case of Petty AF syndrome, as she's literally asking for petty cash.
Sorry, but if money was an issue, pick up the phone and discuss it—don’t
send an invoice after the fact.
What sucks most of all in this situation isn’t how hurt the
daughter is or how petty the grandma's invoice was; it’s that a granddaughter’s
relationship with her grandmother is reduced to a transaction.
Ask Amy ends by telling
the mother that she’ll “simply have to decide whether this relationship between
grandmother and granddaughter is one you can afford to foster.”
What do you think? Is the relationship worth the cost?
One thing that can definitely make a grandmother angry is an ungrateful daughter-in-law. That’s why Jacksonville grandma Diana Costarakis is currently cooling her heels in jail. In 2013, Costarakis met with a hitman in the parking lot of a Home Depot and allegedly gave him a $500 deposit to murder her son’s wife Angela, claiming that she was a drunk and a bad mother. At a second meeting, she allegedly handed over another $1,000 toward the murder. Unbeknownst to her, the hitman was actually an undercover police officer who later took her into custody.