DEAR AMY: I'm a 74-year-old grandfather with a 20-year-old grandson who lives more than 800 miles away. At the urging of his mother, I started a Facebook account and tried to connect with my grandson. He didn't seem to appreciate it. In fact, he called it "horrible." My wife and I have tried repeatedly to make contact with him, making the 800-mile trip to see him, but it has resulted in zero response. During our most recent visit, my wife and I both told him he mattered a great deal to us to stay in touch. That was a couple of years ago, and so far we haven't heard a thing. Over the years, we have consistently showed him love and support. He accepts money and gifts but can't seem to say thanks. Now this young man is getting ready to deploy overseas with his Marine reserve unit, and my wife wants to try again by going to his town and wishing him well. I'm a Vietnam vet, so the word "deployment" means something to me, but I've had enough, and it seems like a long trip for nothing. Any advice?
DEAR GRAMPS: Many 20-year-olds simply don't have the maturity to understand how important it is to connect.
I urge you to take the opportunity to see your grandson before he leaves home. Give him a photo or another small material reminder of your time in Vietnam.
As a veteran, you and he will forever share a bond of service. He doesn't realize this now, but he will -- and you want to be in his life when he arrives at this moment.
So keep those cards and letters coming.
I can imagine this young man overseas, alone and homesick and aware to some extent that he has been a jerk to some of the people who love him.
I see a bundle of cards and letters tied together with a rubber band and stuffed in the bottom of his duffel bag.
Your grandson may not find a way to express his gratitude until he is much more mature.