Posted: Friday, September 10, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: Three years ago, our daughter, “Lucy,” married a wonderful biracial man, and they now have a beautiful little girl. Our son-in-law has a great job and is a positive influence in Lucy’s life. She is going back to school to obtain a career in a related field, and we are helping her with the tuition.
We also have a son, who is married and has a lovely wife, a 5-year-old daughter and a baby boy on the way. Lucy loves her niece and used to spend a lot of time with her. However, her brother decided that since she married outside her race, she no longer exists and he refuses all contact. While he doesn’t directly antagonize her, this major slight drives Lucy crazy, and if they are ever near each other, she turns it into a confrontation.
We have no idea where our son’s bigoted reaction comes from. No one else in the family is like this. Needless to say, his attitude doesn’t facilitate a family get-together. We love both of our children and grandchildren and try to divide our time equally between them. Our son doesn’t lecture us about visiting his sister and her family — he doesn’t say anything about them at all. But when our daughter hears that we have talked to her brother, she calls us bigots by association and cuts off all communication. We don’t endorse his bigotry and have been unable to change his viewpoint, which he feels is sanctified by his church.
Is there any hope to reunite this family? — Frustrated Father in Sarasota
Dear Sarasota: Not unless your son changes his racist attitude. But your daughter should learn to differentiate between her brother’s abhorrent views and those of the people who love him. Now that she has a child of her own, point out how that bond doesn’t end because the child grows up to have wrongheaded opinions. Sympathize with her position, but explain that her demands are unfair to you. You also can mention that the only possibility of helping her brother become more enlightened is if you continue to talk to him. We hope he’ll come around.
Dear Annie: My best friend of 10 years is getting married next June. She casually mentioned that being in the wedding might be too much of a financial burden for me. But instead of informing me personally that she had asked another friend, I found the bridal party list on Facebook.
It’s her wedding, and she has a right to choose her bridesmaids. And I don’t want to be the miffed drama queen, but I am deeply hurt. Am I wrong for feeling upset that my socio-economic status was the reason I wasn’t chosen? — Connecticut
Dear Connecticut: Your friend did not handle this very graciously. Brides should allow their attendants to decide whether or not they can afford to participate. But we will give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she wanted to save you the embarrassment of bowing out or having to risk going into debt. Please try to forgive her.
Dear Annie: I read with interest the letter from “The Girlfriend,” who complained about the behavior of her live-in’s 14-year-old daughter. As a marriage and family counselor, I regularly witness the deterioration of family relationships, especially those between divorced fathers and their children.
Girlfriends come and go, but a commitment to a child is made when that child is born and should, but often doesn’t, take precedence over ensuing romantic relationships that come along after the child’s parents separate or divorce. Our society’s cavalier attitude toward divorce and cohabitation in no way negates our children’s need for both parents. — Iowa Advocate for Kids
Dear Iowa: We completely agree.
To all our Muslim readers: Happy Eid.
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, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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 9.10.10