November 8, 2019

By Marcy Sugar

By Kathy Mitchell

November 8, 2019 4 min read

Dear Annie: My 42-year-old granddaughter is currently living with me. She has been evicted twice for not paying rent, her credit is no good, and she can't find anybody who will rent to her. She has three young children who are living with my son (her father) and his wife.

I am 83 years young and cannot have the children here. It's bad enough that her dog is here. It also isn't right that my son, who is 66 with several disabilities, is raising another family, but he and his wife don't know how to resolve the situation.

It's great for me to have my granddaughter here to help me with things I can no longer do, but this can't go on. She has a good job, although it is not full time and the pay is low, but she could afford to rent a place with a roommate. What advice can you give us? — Can't Handle Much More

Dear Can't: How your son chooses to handle his daughter is up to him. Please don't give him unsolicited advice. Since you can use your granddaughter's help around the house, consider letting her save up some money while you encourage her to find full-time employment. Discuss taking in a roommate (or two) in a place of her own, although it would be difficult to find a setup that will also accommodate three young children.

We understand that you aren't crazy about this situation, but your choice is to let her stay or throw her out. You cannot fix the root of her problem, which is earning enough money and handling it responsibly.

Dear Annie: I recall reading a poem in your column a few years back about "planting your own garden." It was regarding what you learn from relationships, even those that end. Can you find it for me and print it again? — Internet Reader

Dear Reader: With pleasure. Here it is:

After a While by Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn

the subtle difference between

holding a hand and chaining a soul

and you learn

that love doesn't mean leaning

and company doesn't always mean security.

And you begin to learn

that kisses aren't contracts

and presents aren't promises

and you begin to accept your defeats

with your head up and your eyes ahead

with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child

and you learn

to build all your roads on today

because tomorrow's ground is

too uncertain for plans

and futures have a way of falling down

in mid-flight.

After a while you learn

that even sunshine burns

if you get too much

so you plant your own garden

and decorate your own soul

instead of waiting for someone

to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure

you really are strong

you really do have worth

and you learn

and you learn

with every goodbye, you learn...

Copyright 1971

This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at

Photo credit: DreamyArt at Pixabay

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