by Kevin Burton
What’s so grand about being a grandma?
I took that question to an expert in the field. She’s had days and days of experience so she knows whereof she speaks; my friend Tracy from North Carolina.
Her first grandchild was born last Friday in Cincinnati.
“Lucy Jane Duffy was born at 12:39 this afternoon weighing 7 pounds 4 ounces and is 20.5 inches in length!” Tracy wrote. “Mother and baby are doing well. Proud papa even sent me a picture. I was so excited. First time anyone has ever done that. Now I can show her off just like other grannies do.”
You could still hear the joy in her voice when we talked Wednesday. “I’m still very happy and excited,” she said.
Seems to me it wasn’t that long ago Tracy was 15 and she and I were kids at the Ohio State School for the Blind, dispensing wisdom as we went along.
She said being called grandma by co-workers doesn’t faze her. She’s 60 now and has earned the title.
Tracy said she sent some diapers and some storybooks that her son John and daughter-in-law Kendal can read to baby Lucy. The books are in both print and braille, so a visiting blind person could do the reading.
The diapers are being put to good use Tracy reports. With a newborn there is joy even in that, for a while, I am told.
And now on the grandma beat, we go from the sublime to the ridiculous.
According to multiple reports, a couple from Uttarakhand state in northern India is suing their son and daughter-in-law for not producing a grandchild.
Apparently there were strings attached to the lavish gifts they have bestowed on their son and daughter-in-law over the years.
“Sanjeev and Sadhana Prasad, 61 and 57, say they used up their savings raising their son, paying for his pilot’s training as well as a lavish wedding,” wrote Patrick Jackson of the BBC. “They are demanding compensation worth nearly $650,000 if no grandchild is born within a year.”
The suit was filed on the grounds of “mental harassment,” the BBC wrote.
“Mr. Prasad said he sent his son to the US in 2006 for pilot training at a cost of $65,000. He returned to India in 2007, but lost his job and his family had to support him financially for more than two years, the Times of India reports,” Jackson wrote.
“Shrey Sagar, 35, did eventually get a job as a pilot. His parents say they arranged his marriage to Shubhangi Sinha, now 31, in 2016, in the hope that they would have a ‘grandchild to play with’ during their retirement,” the BBC story said.
The parents say they paid for a wedding reception in a five-star hotel, a luxury car worth $80,000 and a honeymoon abroad.
“My son has been married for six years but they are still not planning a baby,” Mr. Prasad said. “At least if we have a grandchild to spend time with, our pain will become bearable.”
“The couple’s lawyer, AK Srivastava, told The National that the couple had demanded the money “because of mental cruelty.”.
“It is a dream of every parent to become a grandparent. They had been waiting for years to become grandparents.”
A procedural hearing on the case was scheduled for Tuesday of this week.
I have not found any comments from the son and daughter-in-law, so I will supply one: Throw this suit out and throw the attorneys out bodily, for wasting the time of the court.
Mine however is an American perspective and isn’t universal.
“Though this kind of lawsuit is rare, the topic of familial obligation has long been controversial in India, where carrying on the family line and caring for elderly parents and in-laws is often seen as a filial duty,” wrote CNN.
“It’s also sometimes a legal duty: parents can claim a monthly allowance from their adult children under a federal law that seeks to protect parents and senior citizens who may not be able to take care of themselves.”
“A number of related cases have made headlines in India in recent years, such as a family dispute over monthly allowances in 2020 that culminated in a Supreme Court judge telling the sons involved, ‘Don’t forget, you are everything because of (your father),’” CNN wrote.
The Prasads’ lawsuit primarily targets the son and daughter-in-law but also lists complaints against the daughter-in-law’s family, according to CNN.
So much for that festive family summer picnic.
My friend Tracy has no such worries, since her son John has come through. But she does have a younger son, Luke.
I asked Tracy if she would consider suing Luke if he didn’t produce a grandchild. There was a bit of a pause, and that is exactly the right response, because you just can’t put into words how monstrous an idea that is.