Posted: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I’m a single father of a 16-year-old son whom I have raised since he was 2. “Zack” is mature and carries himself with confidence.
When Zack took up sports and his schedule became busy, we found that it was sometimes necessary to share the bathroom. While he showers, I shave, or while I shower, he does his hair.
Last summer, my brother visited us and inadvertently witnessed one such episode where Zack and I needed to get ready at the same time. He didn’t say anything to me but apparently told several family members, including my parents. When my son and I visited for Thanksgiving, it ended up being the main topic of conversation, with words such as “unnatural,” “unhealthy” and “disturbing” being tossed around. One relative actually told my son it was going to make him gay.
Zack understands that sharing the bathroom is no different than showering with his friends after gym class. I did my best to explain this to my family, but no one wanted to listen. When we visited at Christmas, the subject came up again, and we put up with their narrow-minded views until I saw how upset Zack was. We left early. When my mother called the next day to ask why, I told her. She replied that I was “overreacting.”
As a result, Zack has said he would rather not see his grandparents for Easter and suggested we stay home. The problem is, the only times we can visit my parents are during school holidays. Annie, I don’t want my family to miss out on Zack’s life because of something so trivial. I want him to spend time with his relatives, but their attitudes are driving a wedge between us. Any suggestions before I buy an Easter ham? — Proud Parent
Dear Parent: Buy the Easter ham, and tell your relatives that you will be celebrating holidays at home until they can show a measure of respect and tolerance. People will treat you the way you demand to be treated. (But please give them another chance over the summer.)
Dear Annie: My dad is 87 and has a bunch of medical problems, yet he continues to drink. It’s less than he used to imbibe, but I don’t think he should be having any alcohol at all. I have said this to both of my parents, and their only response is that Dad’s doctor said it is OK. I don’t believe any decent doctor would tell an elderly man in poor heath that it’s all right to drink.
I suspect some of Dad’s current medical problems were caused by excessive drinking. He was an angry, volatile and verbally abusive drunk. What can I do to convince my parents that continued drinking is not OK? — Frustrated in Florida
Dear Florida: You could call Dad’s doctor and inform him that your father is still drinking, and the doctor will handle it from there. But your father is 87 and has curtailed his alcohol consumption. It’s unlikely he will give it up entirely. Your choice is to keep berating him or accept him as he is.
Dear Annie: “No Name, No Place” worries about her husband driving drunk when he’s coming home from sporting events. There’s something else this wife should do. Somewhere out on the road, there is a young couple with their first child, or a teenager coming home from a dance, or a wife heading to the airport — none of them deserves to die under the wheels of this drunk’s car.
The next time “No Name’s” husband heads out for a night of drinking with his buddies, she should call the police. She knows where he’s going and can describe his car and provide his license plate number. The police officer who stops him could be saving the life of the innocent driver he was going to hit on the next block. — Had it with Coddling Drunk Drivers
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 3.1.11