Posted: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 11:34 am
Dear Annie: I have been married to “Vic” for 22 years. Our marriage is solid. We have an 18-year-old daughter, “Kara,” who is totally in love with her father. Vic is, in turn, greatly attached to her. He has always been a nurturing and loving man, and their relationship has never bothered me, although it strains our relationship when the two of them occasionally team up against me.
Here’s the problem. This past weekend, we went on a vacation with my sister. Sis was disturbed when Kara sat on her father’s lap while having a conversation with him. She also disapproved of their playfulness, with the two of them tickling and wrestling. My sister seems to believe their relationship is strange and the attention Kara gets from her father ought to belong to me.
I do sometimes feel left out, but I have always been an independent person and run my life accordingly. My husband knows that. I truly don’t see anything wrong here. I see a father who admires and loves his daughter and a daughter who would do anything for him. I don’t want to worry about this. If I bring it to Vic’s attention, he’ll ask me what I think, and I’m not sure. What is your opinion? — Ohio Mom
Dear Ohio: It doesn’t sound like anything seriously improper is going on, but you should discourage the wrestling, tickling and lap sitting. Tell Vic that Kara is too old to be so physical with him and he needs to find other ways to maintain a playful, loving relationship with his daughter. It will also help for Kara to become more interested in boys her own age.
Dear Annie: May I say something about people who make assumptions about someone’s age? My 18-year-old daughter is on the petite side. She is 4-foot-11 and weighs 95 pounds. On several occasions, we have been invited to dinner at a restaurant and asked by our host if we would need a child’s menu. I usually respond by giving them a quizzical look, saying, “No. Why do you ask?” Sometimes, however, the question brings my daughter to tears.
If someone wants a child’s menu, they will ask for one. If it turns out you accidentally hand an adult menu to a child, the worst that can happen is that the young person will be pleased to be mistaken for someone older. — Shorty’s Mom
Dear Mom: Granted, no one should make assumptions about another’s age, regardless of how old, but your daughter needs to toughen up. She is going to be confronted with this for the rest of her life and should find ways to deal with it instead of bursting into tears. (The good news is, when she is 50, people will assume she is 20 years younger.)
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Not Laughing,” whose husband passes gas at the table. We’ve all been around people who are capable of doing all kinds of things quietly in public but let it rip when they are at home. It’s often a pathetic, childish demand for attention, although I’ll admit to sneezing louder at home than at church.
What will usually change this is not responding to it in any fashion — not with words, a look or running out of the room. Did he do this while they were dating? If so, I’ll bet she laughed or ignored it, as she was still eager to become Mrs. Somebody. You can’t expect people to change. You set boundaries when you’re starting a relationship, not years later. You married the whole package. — S.
Dear S.: Most of us show only our best selves when dating, so this may not have come up before they were married. Boundaries should be set when they are needed — whenever that turns out to be.
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 7.13.09