Annie’s Mailbox – 2.17.12
Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012 8:01 pm
By: By Kathy Mitchell & Marcy Sugar
The Messenger 02.17.12
Dear Annie: I have two daughters, ages 5 and 2. My in-laws favor the older girl. They buy her more presents, give her more money and pay way more attention to her than to her sister. They almost seem obsessed with her. As soon as she walks in the door, they grab her and make her sit next to them on the sofa for the entire visit.
If they give my children gifts when we are at someone else’s house, they become annoyed if I make the girls say hello to our hosts before they are permitted to play with their new toys. I feel it is only polite.
We recently visited with them three times over a six-week period. We drove three hours to see them twice, and the third time, they came to us. My mother-in-law then became angry because I refused to visit again two weeks later. Both of my daughters get carsick, and they have to take medication in order not to throw up.
My husband does not like to make waves, so he is of little help with this. I am not sure how much to say without ruining our relationship. — Annoyed in Atlanta
Dear Atlanta: This is an issue of boundaries. Unless you are firm about them, your in-laws will keep pushing. The trick is to remain polite and sweet while you are saying no. (“We’d love to visit again, but the girls get so sick when they travel that we don’t want them to associate nausea with Grandma and Grandpa. Maybe we can try again next month.”) Meanwhile, the Internet and the current crop of smartphones will allow the in-laws to see and speak to the girls often. You might even set up a time for a daily cyber visit.
But please bring the blatant favoritism to their attention before your younger child is old enough to notice. Tell them it is damaging the relationship they have with both girls (as well as their parents).
Dear Annie: My wife and I are nearly 80 years old, and we are ill prepared for our future. We have no children, own no home or car, have no savings account or life insurance, and struggle from month to month just to survive.
What can we do to make minimal preparations for our inevitable demise? It would be nice to have a memorial service, but that costs money. Even cremation costs more than what we have. I believe Social Security provides $250, which might get the match lit, but that’s about all.
As a Navy vet, I can be buried at a national cemetery, but there is no provision for my wife. Can you suggest any alternatives? — Hanging Loose in California.
Dear California: First check with your local churches, funeral homes and the coroner’s office. There are often discounts available if you ask. But also research donating your body to a medical school. Some places will transport the body at no cost to you. As for a memorial service, there is no reason to use a funeral home. You or your friends can arrange something at someone’s home, church or nearby park.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Confused in Connecticut.” I, too, was an overweight child. I was bullied, ridiculed and laughed at.
When I reached high school, the kids finally left me alone, but no boy would consider dating me. Then I graduated and realized that the grownup world is different. There are still some people who like to be cruel, but it gets a lot better. I found good friends and men who love some chunkiness on a woman.
I am now very happily married with two wonderful children, and I look back on my high school days and laugh. Gaze in the mirror every morning and find that beauty in you, and don’t let anyone take it away. — Lucky in Lubbock
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to email@example.com or write to Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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.