Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I have never met my biological father. My parents have never lied to me about him. They told me the truth about where I came from and have always added that they love me.
I received presents from this man from the time I was 6 until I was 13, and then I didn’t hear from him anymore. On my 17th birthday, I got a random e-mail from him. We corresponded briefly before he started to chew out my mother and blame HER for everything. But I know the truth. He had visitation rights until I was 5 years old, but he didn’t want to pay child support, so he signed over his parental rights to my adoptive father. I told my mother about the e-mails, and then I deleted them.
I am now 19 and don’t know whether to be hurt or angry. I don’t know if I want this man to be a part of my life, but I definitely do not want him bashing my mother. He’s never paid a dime to help support me. However, I learned I have a half-brother, and I would like to meet him. Should I try to reach out to my bio father, even if it’s only to find out more about this brother?
I want to talk to my parents about this, but every time I bring up the subject, they both become visibly upset. They have told me in the past that it is ultimately my choice, but in private, my mom has said she’d rather I didn’t. She is estranged from her own father and was quite hurt when she tried reaching out to him. I don’t know what to do. — Stuck in the Middle
Dear Stuck: It is caring of you to take your parents’ feelings into consideration, but you are an adult now, and contacting your biological father is entirely your choice. It sounds as if you have some unfinished business, so we suggest trying to contact him again. But prepare for the possibility that you will be disappointed, and set boundaries. Tell him you’d like a chance to know him (and your half-brother), but you will not tolerate any verbal trashing of your mother.
Dear Annie: I am upset about something my husband did the other day. We were saying goodbye to a friend, and she mentioned something about dessert being served at a party she would be attending. My husband replied, “If they were serving you as dessert, I would eat that anytime.” He did not know I heard him, and it made me very uncomfortable.
Should I tell him I overheard his remark and that it was inappropriate? What should I say if he does it again? — Perturbed in Ontario
Dear Ontario: These things are best dealt with immediately. Some women can make a joke out of such lascivious remarks, rolling their eyes while giving the impression that the guy has the manners of a Neanderthal. If you cannot manage that, however, it’s perfectly fine to tell him his words were inappropriate and hurtful. The point is that he doesn’t get away with it.
Dear Annie: The letter from “Wedding Gift Nightmare” sent me into orbit. So her brother-in-law decided a three-piece china serving set from an antique shop wasn’t suitable? Does this man know what those pieces cost?
I married in 1957. A few days after we returned from our honeymoon, my mother-in-law brought over a poorly wrapped gift from an elderly neighbor. When I opened it, my mother-in-law’s faced dropped. It was a large Pyrex bowl that must have been used in this woman’s kitchen for years. I thanked her and then washed it in hot soapy water and felt blessed that this darling neighbor was kind enough to give us a present. That was 57 years ago, and I still have that bowl. It was the most useful gift I received. I plan to give it to my daughter after I die.
Shame on that father for being so materialistic and not having a clue as to the real meaning of the gift. — Stunned
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, 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 7.19.11