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Feeling surplus to requirements AIBU

(93 Posts)
Armoria Tue 11-Aug-20 19:53:51

Oh dear I'm feeling pretty surplus to requirements and all over a cake. My eldest GD (my daughter's daughter) turns 18 in a few weeks and subject to CV19 rules on gatherings her family are planning a garden party/bbq.

I've been very involved throughout her growing up from child minding her for 2 days a week from the age of 3 months through to doing the school run a few days a week, taking her on holiday and generally helping daughter with her and her younger sister whenever needed. SIL is away fairly often on business and D works so I've always filled the gap in childcare.

One of my hobbies is cake making and decorating and it's been a privilege to have made a cake for her christening and all of her birthdays. Any kind of design she's wanted I've done, ballerina on a stage, fairy castle, Hannah Montana guitar, watermelon (yes that was a thing a few years ago) pair of tap shoes, replica of her favourite leotard etc. Ive always done these at my own expense too. So yesterday when I was chatting on the phone to D I happened to say about GD and no doubt she will want the usual birthday cake only to be told that GDs friend is making it. Then D said it was because they didn't know what were were doing. We are currently away in our motorhome and have been for 4 weeks and I'd sent a text last Friday confirming we'd be home this coming friday. That's a good 3 weeks before the party so they did know what we were doing!

I mumbled something about of course we would be coming back in time as how could we miss such a milestone birthday and I'd already said when we left we'd be away about a month or so.

I really am quite upset that I won't be making her 18th birthday cake. It's not like it's just any old birthday its a significant one. I suppose that sounds pathetic but if GD or D had just phoned or texted to say the friend had offered and would I mind then yes it would still be a bit disappointing but at least they'd have considered how I might feel and been good mannered enough to ask or whatever. I'm also upset, given how involved I am helping out whenever they need me to, that they could even think we would miss her 18th!

D is quite a prickly person at times and while she seems to have endless patience for her service users (she works in the mental health sector) she often gets huffy with me or loses patience if I complain about anything. I know if I tell her I'm upset that I won't be making the cake I will get the eye roll and it will be turned back on me as my fault for going away, for being childish and made to feel bad. Husband says stop caring so much and doing things for them but I'm not made that way. I should just swallow it down and move on but I can't get the feeling of being surplus now out of my head. GD has asked my husband to help teach her to drive and when he phones my D she always answers yet I can ring a couple of times and she will not pick up or phone back if she's busy but she's soon on the phone if she needs help with something.

I know as children get older their friends are more important than their parents or grandparents but I still feel like I've had a slap in the face. Sorry just needed to vent

luluaugust Wed 12-Aug-20 10:25:39

When the GC were small I always made the cakes I don't think anyone else had the time but now I sit back and enjoy some wonderful creations even those made by the GC themselves. Don't get upset life keeps moving along, turn up, smile and enjoy not having to do the hard work.

Dustyhen2010 Wed 12-Aug-20 10:27:52

I wouldn't overthink it. They were maybe not wanting to worry you about possibly having to rush to make it when you had other things you needed to do having been away. Also it may be the GD's friend has offered to make the cake as her birthday gift. Possibly the girl is starting up cake making and it will be good for her to make an 18th cake or she may not have much money but is putting in her time to make her gift for GD. It would also be very hard for GD to say no to a friend who has offered to make the cake but would likely know you as her gran would be happy with whatever she chose to do. I would not make a cake to take but I am sure, as other have said, you could contribute something equally nice for the group to enjoy. Be happy that you are included in her party and enjoy the day.

4allweknow Wed 12-Aug-20 10:31:31

Perhaps being an 18th when your GD will be viewing herself as an adult and your D will probably be seeing her role change quite significantly they don't mind a change in what has always gone before. See your role changing too, hard as it is, GC drift away into their own world. And let's face it, it's a cake, not a life support system!

sandelf Wed 12-Aug-20 10:32:16

I'm afraid part of this is the deep emotional thing we have over food being more than food. And cake being your own particular chosen hobby. The hard part of me says 'get a life' - but of course I know you have a life! Over this, you just have to smile and move on. If you ever meet the 'baker' you may make a new baking friend. At the moment it really is not about you, so try not to be too hurt and make yourself busy with something else. - Stay 'cool' in all senses!

MissAdventure Wed 12-Aug-20 10:32:43


icanhandthemback Wed 12-Aug-20 10:33:00

Whilst I can see you might be hurt that your "role" has come to an end, I think you are making too much of this. It is quite natural that your grandaughter wants to ring the changes at her 18th Birthday Party. This is her saying that she is an adult who makes her own decisions and that is fine. She is probably unaware that her decision impacts you so much but, at 18, she more than likely hasn't quite got the empathy part of her brain fully formed. For all they grow up early these days, the brain still takes until 21-22 on average to fully form in this area.
You say that your daughter is "prickly". If this is such an enormous thing in your mind, have you considered that she might think the same about you? Maybe your daughter was dreading telling you because she knew how you would react.
Whatever you do, do not make another Birthday cake. Your intentions might be good but that is the way you can easily be misinterpreted. Find another way to celebrate her 18th Birthday and look back on all you have done as happy memories to treasure. In time, you will no doubt have more happy memories to make but you have to accept as they get older, grandchildren often get more distant. It just makes the times you spend with them more special.

Nortsat Wed 12-Aug-20 10:34:16

Oh dear, I can appreciate how you feel.

You could ask your DD if she’d like another contribution for the celebrations ... cupcakes, brownies etc.
Or perhaps make DGD a cake at another time in the near future ... an ‘off to University’ cake, or a ‘new job’ or Halloween (it’s only a couple of months away).

Try not to let this upset you ... we’re all a bit more stressed or jaded during this wretched pandemic. I am sure you’ve got a nice gift and card for your DGD.

I hope it works out well. ?

Rosiebee Wed 12-Aug-20 10:35:11

Step well away from the cake. Say how lovely for her friend to want to make a cake for her. Then, LEAVE IT at that. You have a lovely GD and you will be there to help her celebrate her birthday - and even bond with her friend about the great cake she has made. That will give you kudos if that's what you want. Enjoy your GD and enjoy HER day x

Violettham Wed 12-Aug-20 10:36:55

I was always very involved with my Grandchildren.. I made a point of not often offering advice except when asked.Did things the way my daughter did. I have an excellent relationship with all my Grandchildren. Really dont know whether it is luck or the way I behaved.

Harris27 Wed 12-Aug-20 10:41:57

I think it will be hard as you’ve had such a proactive part of her life. However life changes and you will probably be watching more from the sidelines as they get older as we have done. Maintain a silence and just try and adapt so you won’t be left behind that’s the only advice I can give to you.

sarahellenwhitney Wed 12-Aug-20 10:48:13

Don't take it to heart or let D know of your feelings although I understand how you and many others who have been in a similar must be feeling.

jaylucy Wed 12-Aug-20 10:52:23

i think it's lovely that GDs friend is making her cake !
18th birthday celebrations are for the one celebrating, not for the rest of the family these days - doesn't mean they no longer love you!
I never expect to be invited to younger relatives parties or even weddings these days - I can remember when I had my 18th and 21st birthday parties ( had both as next door neighbour died on my actual birthday) I only had my immediate family and friends. For my 21st, I only had 1 cousin as a guest and that was because he was the DJ!
There will be plenty of other birthdays that you can make her a cake for. Just take your husbands advice and let it go with grace.

Susieq62 Wed 12-Aug-20 11:01:04

Blimey I would feel relieved not to have to make a cake but just sit back and enjoy the day.
GC do move away from grandparents but always love and respect them . Yours does and will. Be grateful for the relationship you have with her. Maybe you could take her out for a special lunch/ afternoon tea just the 2 of you to celebrate ? I know that’s what my daughter would have enjoyed with her beloved Nana! Life’s too short to dwell on the little things.

whiterabbit01 Wed 12-Aug-20 11:06:43

As a few community members have already said or implied, above, as your grandchildren grow older they will inevitably withdraw. My mother in law sounds a lot like you and she did so much for our children as both of us worked, however over the last few years since she turned 16, she increasingly became less interested in visiting as regular as she used to, same with our son, who is now 21; I can relate to this exactly as I went through a similar process when I was a teenager. My grandmother had a stoke around the time I was born and she always said I was the one who pulled her through that.

My father worked away from home, (we'd see him at weekends once a fortnight apart from his annual leave), for most of his working life and my mother was of that generation that survived on 'mothers little helpers (as the Stones so aptly named Valium/diazepam). She had three children between April 1955 to Feb 1959 while my father was serving in the Army when National Service was still compulsory, so she was left on her own and suffered many nervous breakdowns over the first 20 years of my life and was in and out of psychiatric hospitals throughout that time, so I virtually lived at my grandmothers for most of my childhood and early teens; and used to go away on vacation twice a year with them.

Yet I remember not visiting as often as I did from around the age of 17 onward. I would still visit once I left home at the age of 18 (I had a shotgun wedding), but those visits became less and less frequent, simply because life got in the way. That said. I always cherish the time I spent with my grandparents; if it wasn't for them, I would not be in the situation I am in now as they always introduced me to new things and were (IMO) responsible for my successful education (B.Sc, M.Sc and several diplomas) as well as my love of reading (though my English Literature teacher also had a hand in that), plus photography (my grandfather had a darkroom that he would take me to regularly as well as gave me my first decent camera at the age of 8) as well as many other interests that my grandfather introduced to me (e.g. chemistry and music). My grandmother passed away the same day as John Lennon (Dec 1980) and my grandfather passed away while I was training to be a teacher in 1992, but I still think of them both regularly, and when I do I miss them so much.

As others have advised, please do not make a big thing out of this as it will only create negativity, which your grandchildren will remember. They will NEVER forget all of those wonderful cakes you've made and their memory of you as they grow older and you become dust will be forever positive and cherished.

Lupin Wed 12-Aug-20 11:09:05

Forget the cake, and celebrate her birthday and that you are invited to the party. Let her fly free as the independent adult she nearly is. You have had a good run with the cakes - time to graciously hand the job on if that is her choice.
All the care and attention you have given her over the years will surely not have fallen on fallow ground.
I understand your hurt though, but this is a sort of right of passage as times change for her and she pulls away to make her own choices and decisions.
I hope the party is a great success and that you all enjoy it.

Gwenisgreat1 Wed 12-Aug-20 11:09:20

I can sympathise, I would feel hurt in those circumstances. May I suggest, Armoria you put your skills to making cup cakes? If you can find the theme for the party, you could make 18 cupcakes in that theme?

MissAdventure Wed 12-Aug-20 11:13:36

I think the cake idea is best forgotten.
Insisting on still baking a cake, any cake, seems a bit churlish to me.

Bixiboo Wed 12-Aug-20 11:19:39

I’ve always been of the opinion that everything changes, and this is one example.As grandparents we have to sometimes put on a smiley face and just get on with things even though we might be annoyed. I’m sure no one meant to upset you Armoria, the younger generation are of a different mindset and honestly don’t think. Enjoy the birthday celebrations, it’s not worth spoiling a good relationship over a cake.

Humbertbear Wed 12-Aug-20 11:20:47

I made birthday cakes for my DC and wedding cakes for both my sisters. I have three GC , the oldest is 15, and I have never been asked to make a cake. At the end of the day, it’s a cake. Just relax and enjoy the party. Your GD is growing up. Both of my DC celebrated their 21sts at uni. It’s time to let go a little. You should be pleased that your GD has such a good friend.

Helen2806 Wed 12-Aug-20 11:23:33

Why don’t you buy a really special bottle of champagne for the party now that she is an adult.
I’d keep away from any kind of cake, it looks a bit petty.
So sorry you are feeling hurt xxx

Apricity Wed 12-Aug-20 11:29:43

Grandchildren, like our children grow up, move on and have other special people in their lives. This is the cycle of life. Be grateful for all the lovely times you have enjoyed together, nothing will take those away but it's time let go.

It's your granddaughter's birthday, she's a grown up now and it's up to her to choose who makes the birthday cake. You don't own the birthday cake franchise and please don't turn it into a competition with alternative cakes or cupcakes. Just cherish that you will always be part of her life, and you will continue to share special celebrations over the years but it will be different from now on. Don't jeopardise that future for a cake. ?

oldmom Wed 12-Aug-20 11:31:21

However nice and mature they are, the average 18 year old doesn't know their parents have feelings, let alone their grandparents.

Your Dgd probably considers herself an adult, and us probably consciously breaking with childhood traditions. No matter how wonderful your cakes were, for now they've probably been classified as "kid stuff". Adults of course make different choices.

Let it go. Don't let on that you feel hurt about it. It will not do you any good. You don't want to be labelled as needy and possessive.

mumstheword86 Wed 12-Aug-20 11:40:55

Don’t worry just make a cake anyway everyone likes cake and it won’t go to waste am sure you could say I shall make a cake for family your friend can make the cake for the party’s so all good Enjoy the get together xx !!!More cake the better in my opinion!!!!!

Coco51 Wed 12-Aug-20 11:41:04

Bloody cakes! My sister and I made our brother’s cake for his first wedding. That fell apart and for his second wedding he asked my sister to decorate the cake made by his MIL to be. Cue sister: “I can’t decorate it if it isn’t level, I can’t get to the wedding it’s on a Friday, I don’t know how I can get the cake to them on the day’ Months of whining to me.
As time grew short brother asked if I would decorate the cake because it would solve all the problems my sister had moaned about. I said to brother OK, but make sure it is OK with sister, I didn’t want to tread on her toes. He didn’t ask her and when she found out from my mother ’I’ had betrayed her! Going forward I was excluded from family gatherings, when my sister and brother were there, and according to my mother ’everyone’ thought I should apologise to my sister. The pathetic wimp that my brother is, never owned up to what he had done and I was ostracised from the whole family. My mother made my brother and sister executors to her will and they ganged up against me, stole from the estate cooked the accounts and seven years later have still not given me the money my mother left me. They’ve badmouthed me all around the family. What I find hurtful now, is that knowing how badly I have been treated, both my ACs are friendly with my brother and sister and don’t offer the slightest sympathy, let alone support. The moral of the story is: be careful of doing your best to help out because it will be turned back as a stick to beat you with!

GrandmaCornwall Wed 12-Aug-20 11:43:28

I would do as Grandmabatty suggested make a smaller special cake for her for when she comes to see you next. In the same situation I too would feel put out, but it is something we have to accept our services are no longer required as they once were.