Dear Annie: At a recent family party, after not eating all day, I drank too much alcohol. At some point in the evening, I slipped and fell in front of everyone, including my grandchildren.
I was so mortified, all I could think was to get out of there. I was way too drunk to drive, but I was practically hysterical about leaving. Someone took my keys away, so I started walking home. One of my children picked me up and drove me the rest of the way.
I swore to myself that I would never attend another family gathering because I was so embarrassed by my behavior. Both my daughter and my ex-husband are teetotalers. They were also at the party and haven't spoken to me since. I know they strongly disapprove of me.
Unfortunately, there is an event coming up that was planned a long time ago, and I already bought expensive airline tickets to attend. Those two will be there, and I don't want to see them. What should I do? Go and not drink and be paranoid that I am being watched all the time? I would not enjoy myself. — Would Rather Drink
Dear Like: You only see your daughter's disapproval, but we think she is also concerned about you. (Your ex-husband's opinion is irrelevant.) If this is the first time your behavior has been out of control, we urge you to hold your head up and attend the event, but abstain from alcohol so there is no repeat performance. Don't worry about what others may be thinking. Prove them wrong.
But if this drunken behavior has happened before and you find abstaining to be difficult, it means you have a serious alcohol problem that interferes with your happiness and your relationships. Please look into AA for help. Today. Your family would be proud of you for taking this step.
Dear Annie: I have a step-granddaughter who will be 3 years old in a couple of months. She lives with her dad. I'm concerned about the child because I have heard her say only a very few words, maybe five. At this age, shouldn't she be speaking in short sentences?
I think she needs speech therapy, but her father keeps putting things off. She is home with him all the time. She doesn't attend daycare, nor does she come into contact with babysitters. She is an only child. I want her to be ready for pre-school. What can I do? — Grandma
Dear Grandma: Between the ages of 2 and 3, most children are putting words together to form short sentences. While speech deficits are sometimes due to a hearing impairment, in this instance, it is more likely a lack of stimulation. This little girl doesn't seem to be exposed to a lot of conversation. Would your stepson allow you to take his daughter to be assessed by a speech-language pathologist? Can you spend time with the child and read to her? Can you take her to the park or zoo and talk to her, listing the names of everything she sees? Even watching quality children's programming on TV would increase her vocabulary. If your stepson refuses to do anything, his daughter will be assessed once she begins school, and speech therapy will be required.
Dear Annie: I'd like to comment about names that are difficult to spell or pronounce. I have one of those names. I was a teacher for 35 years. Not one child had difficulty learning how to pronounce my name. My students learned that most of their names derived from a variety of languages. This helped make them individuals and gave the rest of us an opportunity to recognize diversity in a positive way.
What's wrong with a little individuality? We should celebrate differences and make an effort to enjoy them, not try to find excuses to homogenize everything. — Happy with My Difficult Name
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.