Editor's Note: Hundreds of Ann Landers' loyal readers have requested that newspapers continue to publish her columns. These letters originally appeared in 1999.
Dear Ann Landers: I am a 26-year-old woman with a problem. When I was in high school, I cheated on my steady boyfriend with an older man. I discovered I was pregnant and was sure the older man was the father of the baby. Last December, after eight years of paying child support, the man requested a DNA test to determine paternity. I was stunned when it turned out that my daughter isn't his after all.
Here's the real problem. When I found out I was pregnant, my boyfriend asked if the baby was his, and I assured him it was not. That boyfriend is now happily married and has children. I have been married to a wonderful man for almost six years, and he wants to adopt my daughter.
Should I try to contact my old boyfriend and disrupt his life by telling him he has a daughter? Part of me feels he is entitled to know, but another part worries that I would only mess up more lives. Please tell me what to do. — Kitty in K.C.
Dear Kitty in K.C.: I'm with the part of you that says leave it alone. If any of my readers think otherwise, I would like to hear their reasoning.
Dear Ann Landers: You have printed several letters from lonely grandparents who wonder why they never hear from their grandchildren. I'm a man who has the reverse of that problem.
I've been happily married for 21 years and have a teenage daughter and son. Since the day our children were born, my widowed mother has shown absolutely no interest in them whatsoever. I cannot understand this. Our children are every parent's dream. They are bright, well-mannered, respectful and a joy to be around.
When the kids were young, my mother made it clear she did not want to babysit, so we never asked her. When we make the 200-mile trip to her town, it's as if my wife and kids are invisible. She talks incessantly about her friends and social activities but never directs any conversation toward our children. The only acknowledgment she has ever given them is an annual birthday card. The one time she came to our home, she sat on the edge of the sofa and kept saying she needed to leave as soon as possible. She went home the next morning.
Am I expecting too much? My mother is in her 70s and is an intelligent woman. My children would love to have a caring grandmother, and I wish I could find a stand-in for them. At this point, I no longer want to visit my mother and subject my children to her indifference. Do you have any ideas on how to get her to warm up? — Sad Son in N.C.
Dear N.C.: You might as well try to warm up Siberia. Have you told her how much it would mean to you if she took an interest in your children? If she is willing to discuss it, you might be able to turn things around. If not, leave the family at home when you visit your mother, and spare everyone the aggravation.
Drugs are everywhere. They're easy to get, easy to use and even easier to get hooked on. If you have questions about drugs, you need Ann Landers' booklet, "The Lowdown on Dope." To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.