Posted: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I am 18 years old and have been hiding a dirty secret from my parents for two years. When I started dating my current boyfriend, I developed the nasty habit of smoking. At first, it was easy hiding it from my parents, but it’s getting a lot harder and riskier now.
My father wouldn’t understand, and it would absolutely break his heart if he knew. My mother is beginning to ask why my boyfriend and I so often say we’re going out to get a cup of coffee. We’re really going out so I can smoke.
My boyfriend is also tired of the lies, but doesn’t want my parents to think it’s his fault I started smoking. I am not ready to quit yet, so that would make confessing even harder. What should I do? — Bad Habit
Dear Bad: Your parents probably can smell the smoke on your hair and clothes, and over time, smokers can develop yellowing teeth and fingers, so you might not be hiding as much as you think. And quitting will become more difficult the longer you wait. That said, you are 18 years old and an adult. Your choices, even bad ones, belong to you. Hiding your addiction has obviously become too stressful, so confessing will allow you to get the deception off your chest, even if it disappoints your parents. It’s time to face the music, honey. Good luck.
Dear Annie: When I was 16, the school nurse noticed I had high blood pressure, so my doctor proceeded to run some tests. He explained that high blood pressure can damage the kidneys and informed me that mine were only working at about 50 percent capacity. He told me a transplant would be necessary in the future.
His words didn’t hit home until 13 years later, when my kidneys actually failed and I ended up on dialysis. Life as I knew it came to a halt. Luckily for me, my cousin Darlene came to my rescue and donated her kidney in March of 2000. Since then, I have a new appreciation for life. I don’t take anything for granted. I’ve run marathons and played volleyball. And I learned about the biennial National Kidney Foundation U.S. Transplant Games — an Olympic-style event for transplant recipients of all ages. I became determined to participate so I could show the world what organ donation makes possible.
I won medals in track and field and helped lead my team to gold in volleyball in the past two Transplant Games events. This summer, I will travel to Madison, Wis., for the 2010 National Kidney Foundation U.S. Transplant Games, July 30-August 4, where I will once again compete in track and field, racquetball and volleyball.
Please tell your readers about the Games. For more information, and to learn about organ donation, they can contact the National Kidney Foundation at 1-800-622-9010 or visit transplantgames.org — Holly Miyagawa, California
Dear Holly: We are happy to tell our readers about the transplant games and hope they will contact the National Kidney Foundation. We wish you the best of luck breaking your record from last year.
Dear Annie: This is for “Still Miss Him,” who didn’t want her mother to remarry after Dad died.
I had been married for 41 years when my husband died after a long illness. Eighteen months later, I met a widower who had been married 46 years. We were together for five years. I do not regret this relationship, as he gave me everything my first husband couldn’t. He was a loving and devoted man and filled every corner of my life with great memories. I will miss him forever.
Please tell that daughter to be happy for her mother. A second chance at life doesn’t always come around. — Life Is for the Living
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 West 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 7.27.10