Posted: Monday, September 6, 2010 8:02 pm
Dear Annie: I resent that my husband’s ex-wife is still in the picture. I tolerated her presence when his children were young, but now that they are grown, I don’t see why she is still in our lives. She will show up on my husband’s birthday and bring a gift. When his relatives visit from out of town, she comes to our house to see them. She drives to the airport to see him off when he takes a business trip. I know the children are telling her his schedule, but I suspect my husband also gives her information, although he denies it.
Am I wrong to be tired of this? We’ve been married for 20 years. I have asked my husband to speak to his ex about boundaries, but he refuses. He says it would hurt his children’s feelings for their mother not to be welcome. He doesn’t think it should bother me after all these years, but I consider her an uninvited guest. What’s your take? — Crowded by the Ex
Dear Crowded: After 20 years, the ex-wife thinks she’s still part of the family, and apparently, so does everyone else except you. Frankly, we’re surprised after all this time that you haven’t found a way to be friends with the woman, which would be the best way to handle it.
She is the mother of your stepchildren and will always be part of your life, so cutting her off completely will only create resentment. Instead, ask your husband sweetly to limit how often she intrudes. Dropping off a birthday gift and seeing his relatives at your home are not unreasonable, but the airport run is over the top.
Dear Annie: My wife and I are exhausted after hosting relatives for three weeks and need time to recuperate. Yet, one granddaughter wants to stay the night, her mother encourages it, and my wife won’t say no.
We’ve been married eight years, and I can count on one hand the number of times my wife and I have had a weekend to ourselves. How do I give my wife the backbone to say enough is enough? — Numb
Dear Numb: You may be misinterpreting your wife’s attitude. It is entirely possible that she encourages family visits and likes to have her granddaughter stay overnight. She may resent your insistence on saying no. Discuss this with her. Then cross out some days on your calendar so she remembers not to book any guests for that period. It is important to make the effort to schedule time for your relationship, or it can get lost in the tumult of other obligations.
Dear Annie: The letter submitted by Holly Miyagawa regarding kidney failure was very informative. I wish you had emphasized that her condition was detected by the school nurse.
I have been a school nurse for 22 years. I have referred students for evaluation when there was undetected cancer, life threatening but untreated asthma, severe allergies and many more medical issues of which the parents were unaware. I have worked with families to get treatment for students when they didn’t know how.
School nurses are invaluable resources to parents and students. Unfortunately, superintendents are firing school nurses all over the U.S. because they are deemed “unnecessary.” Yet the current economic conditions make it nearly impossible for some people to get care, and I am often the first medical professional they consult. Thank that school nurse for being there. — Idaho School Nurse
Dear Nurse: Absolutely. Too many schools are forced to cut programs in the name of saving money, but it is the children who lose out. Consider this our thanks to all the school nurses who do so much.
Annie’s Snippet for Labor Day (credit Martin Luther King Jr.): All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. E-mail 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.
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Published in The Messenger 9.6.10