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 19 and a single mother of a 1-year-old girl, "Amanda." I attend college part time and am working to provide my daughter with the best life possible.
Amanda's father is the problem. He does not pay child support and rarely sees his daughter, although I have bent over backward to arrange times that are convenient for him. He never bothers to call and let me know when he is not able to make it. He simply doesn't show up. When he does keep an appointment, he is always late, which causes me a great deal of stress, and I resent it.
Tell me, Ann, how important is Amanda's father going to be in her future? Frankly, I don't think he deserves to be part of her life. I am troubled by the thought that Amanda may grow up to be a "Daddy's girl" and will want him to walk her down the aisle when she gets married. He has done nothing to merit such a place of honor, and it eats at me that he might get the privilege anyway.
On the other hand, I don't want to see her on talk shows when she is 18, looking for her long-lost father. Any advice for me? — Emotional Mom in Oklahoma
Dear Mom: Let me get this straight. Amanda is a year old, and you are worried that her father (who rarely shows up) might want to walk her down the aisle when she marries. At the earliest, this will be approximately 17 years down the road.
It IS important for your daughter to have her father in her life, but as of now, it appears he has little interest, so don't push it. He should be paying support, however, so push THAT. Please put the wedding scene on hold for a while, dear. The way things are going in our society, Amanda may never get married. She could wind up CEO of General Motors. Or she may do both.
Dear Ann Landers: Having read your column for the past 40 years, I feel as if I know you as a friend. I am sending an item that appeared in the California Retired Teachers Association newsletter. The author is unknown. I hope you will think it's funny enough to share. — David H., La Crescenta, Calif.
Dear David: I do, and I shall. Thank you. Here it is:
There are only two things to worry about —
Either you are well, or you are sick.
If you are well, then there is nothing to worry about.
But if you are sick, there are two things to worry about —
Either you will get well, or you will die.
If you get well, then there is nothing to worry about.
But if you die, there are only two things to worry about.
Either you go to heaven or to hell.
If you go to heaven, there is nothing to worry about.
If you go to hell, you'll be so darn busy shaking hands with old friends,
You won't have time to worry.
An alcohol problem? How can you help yourself or someone you love? "Alcoholism: How To Recognize It, How To Deal With It, How To Conquer It" will give you the answers. To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.