Posted: Monday, September 7, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My parents are going through a divorce. I have a lot of anger toward my dad because he packed up and left us while Mom and I were out of town. Also, it’s pretty obvious he has a girlfriend. He won’t answer any of my calls or take responsibility for what he’s done.
I’m also angry with my mother because she’s constantly bringing up Dad every five minutes and it’s frustrating. I want to get through this, but Mom won’t let go. I understand it’s hard for her, but she doesn’t even try.
I’m 17 years old and have enough problems to deal with. How can I get past this whole ordeal, forgive my dad, help my mom and make her realize she shouldn’t be talking to me about her problems? — A Mess in Ohio
Dear Ohio: It is normal for you to be angry and upset. Your father is behaving selfishly, and your mother is leaning on you for emotional support. It will help if you can talk to someone about your situation, perhaps your school counselor, a favorite teacher, an adult relative or the parent of a friend.
In time, you will forgive your father because you sound smart enough to understand that it will help you move forward. You also can explain to your mother that you know she is hurting and ask her to please vent to a professional. It would be better for both of you.
Dear Annie: We are lucky to have a lovely summer home on a beautiful lake. We like to invite friends to visit, but sadly, we often get no response or must chase them down to find out whether they’re coming.
There is a lot of effort that goes into entertaining families — food, beverages, cleaning and the preparation of bedrooms. The worst is when they say they are coming but change their minds right before. Twice we waited for people to arrive and they never did. They called to apologize the following Monday. We then feel terrible because another family could have enjoyed our home that weekend had we known in time.
I am a 52-year-old male and was taught simple manners at a young age. Is this lack of common courtesy unique to my circle of friends? — Perplexed in Skaneateles
Dear Perplexed: Sorry to say, such thoughtlessness is all too common. When you issue an invitation, we suggest you put a deadline on it — “We’ll need to know by Wednesday if you can make it.” And if they don’t get back to you, call and say, “Sorry you aren’t coming. Maybe another time.” Anyone who behaves rudely more than once should be crossed off your invitation list.
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to “Shorty’s Mom.” I am nearly 22 and have never reached 5 feet tall. Being offered the child’s menu is a regular thing. It can be frustrating, especially when my ability to do something is put into question based solely on my physical appearance.
However, I have started to look at the positive side. Looking 12 isn’t so bad considering other physical issues I could have. And in the years to come (as you stated in your response) looking youthful will be a much-appreciated attribute. My size is very much an asset in the theatrical world. I tend to get the cute, funny and often most memorable roles. And besides, I totally rock at hide-and-seek.
So to “Shorty’s Mom” and especially her daughter, please don’t let your size get you down. You are not alone. Remember, the sweetest of chocolate, the deadliest of dynamite and the most beautiful of diamond rings are all in the smallest of packages. — Always Looking at the Children’s Menu
Annie’s Snippet for Labor Day (credit Dr. Jonas Salk): The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. 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.
Published in The Messenger 9.7.09