Ask Ellie: Daughter’s in-laws prompt virus fears

Advice columnist EllieDear Ellie: My wife and I have two adult girls. One lives about an hour west of Toronto with two daughters, ages eight and six. The other lives five minutes away from us. She has a small dog who she brings along when she visits.

The married daughter and grandkids have not had any contact with us except by FaceTime. We last saw them in February before the virus.

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Our other daughter has never been inside our house since the pandemic started. We meet outside, socially distancing. We occasionally wear masks as well.

We found out from the chatty granddaughter that their other grandparents (in our same city) visited without masks and with no social distancing on the weekend.

There was also contact play between grandparents and kids. My daughter’s father in-law had his hair cut by his son. No masks were worn.

Our daughter living nearby is quite careful about the sanitizing instructions and uses a delivery company for her groceries (rather than shop in stores). She won’t visit anyone else.

It was also disclosed by my granddaughter that the other grandfather has booked a resort in the countryside for the summer.

Tagging along will be my daughter’s sister in-law, with two children plus her husband.

My wife and I are very concerned about the apparent lack of safety and great exposure that the other grandfather and his wife have pushed on our daughter and grandkids.

What actions would you see as appropriate to deal with this situation? We feel that both incidents are dangerous and inappropriate.

Worried Papa and Gramma

You can speak up, and should do so with expressions of caring along with solid information backing your concern.

But there are few other “actions” open to handling this situation without creating wide rifts among family.

Your daughter, her children and her husband are living in their own bubble, which clearly includes her in-laws.

It’s a done deal.

During the resort stay, that bubble will expand to include the others. A total of 10 people.

That’s the number Ontario Premier Ford said could now gather (if living outside the Greater Toronto Area, Peel, Hamilton, York, Durham, Halton, Niagara, Windsor-Essex, Lambton and Haldimand-Norfolk).

Even if the entire province is opened up to that number of people by the date of the vacation, there hasn’t been social distancing among most of this family group for a while.

I understand your hurt feelings, and your fears. But these are adults who have already made these decisions, and, fortunately so far, haven’t had to deal with a resulting virus infection.

So, if you still wish to raise the matter with your daughter, I suggest you focus on the addition of the sister-in-law’s family — four added people that likely also have their own bubble.

Stay alert to the reports from epidemiological and provincial public-health sources, watching for changes based on where the numbers of infections/deaths/tests and contact tracing are leading us.

Either we’ll be in the next phase of the pandemic with less restrictions, or some people such as your daughter, her family and her in-laws are taking serious risks.

Alert her to consider the consequences.

Ellie’s tip of the day

Grandparents have a caring role in guiding/advising adult children, but giving orders is rarely helpful.

Send relationship questions to ellie@thestar.ca.

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