Don't Shy Away From Good Fortune Dear Annie: My husband and I are the youngest of our siblings, now all in our 50s with nearly grown children. Despite having the same opportunities, my husband and I are the only ones to have finished college, stayed married and kept the same jobs. …Read more. Find Family Beyond the Family Tree Dear Annie: Since childhood, my mother has told me she never wanted me. I now have two children of my own. At one point, I became homeless, and my parents took me in. But I became ill and needed major surgery. While recovering, my brother's son came …Read more. Age, Energy and Employment Differences Under One Roof Dear Annie: My boyfriend and I have been together for two years, and he moved in six months ago. "John" is 25 years older than I am. He has always been supportive and helpful, but now he is displaying passive-aggressive behavior. John was …Read more. Dissing Aunt Marsha Dear Annie: My 58-year-old mother has a best friend whom she has known since they were both 5 years old. We call her "Aunt Marsha." She's been at all of our weddings and holidays. She is still friendly with her ex-daughter-in-law, who …Read more.more articles
Thorn in the Family Side
Dear Annie: My husband and I were both widowed before meeting. We are now 70 and have been happily married for six years. We both have grown children.
Everything is good in our blended family except for my son's wife. "Stacy" has been a thorn in my side from the day they married 20 years ago. My former husband and I always managed to keep her quick temper under control. But since he died and I remarried, she's gone completely overboard. She has stopped my son from having any contact with our family, including his brothers and me.
Stacy has been unable to hold down a job because she can't get along with others. She's judgmental, critical and short-tempered. She is often jealous and has many unresolved issues from her childhood. She is keeping us away from her family, and none of us has seen my grandsons in three years. She says we aren't trustworthy, but that isn't true. We are not deceitful in any way, and our word is good.
The rest of the family continues to get together without my son and daughter-in-law, but we miss them very much. Our blended family is kind and loving toward one another. But those two grandsons don't know us, and it looks like that won't change anytime soon. My son is overwhelmed with Stacy's control issues, so he just goes along with whatever she wants.
Cards, letters, phone calls and emails go unanswered. Do you have any suggestions? — Grandma with a Broken Heart
Dear Grandma: We are so sorry that your son and his wife have chosen to exclude themselves from a loving family. Without your son's insistence, it is unlikely Stacy will come around. We understand that he is reluctant to rock the boat and possibly damage his marriage, but he shouldn't be isolated from his family in order to placate his wife. It is a form of emotional abuse.
Please continue to send cards, letters and emails without expecting replies.
Dear Annie: My father's secretary of many years smokes a pack of cigarettes every day in her office. The ceilings are low, and the ventilation is poor. The secondhand smoke is detrimental to my father's health, which is already compromised by other medical conditions.
My siblings and I have asked her many times to try to get help for her addiction, and to smoke outside or on the office balcony. Do we have to let her do as she pleases, even though it hurts to see Dad breathing in her fumes? — Montreal Fan
Dear Montreal: We have to wonder whether this secretary harbors some hostility toward Dad. Nonetheless, your father is the one who needs to speak up, and apparently, he is unwilling. So put in some fans, smokeless ashtrays and other helpful devices that will minimize the damage.
Dear Annie: I was bothered by the letter from "New Yorker," who volunteers at a nonprofit that provides homework help to neighborhood school kids.
Her assumption that many newer families are "stable and affluent" could be wrong. We have friends and family who are struggling, yet they try to maintain a proud face. This after-school program might be the saving grace for a woman working two jobs.
"New Yorker" should find another way of volunteering in the community if she finds some children unworthy of her charitable works. — M
Dear M: You make a good point. These after-school programs can be a true blessing to families and an educational boon to children regardless of income levels.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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