Posted: Friday, March 23, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: I have been best friends with “Lisa” for more than 25 years. We are both single mothers. Her 16-year-old son, “Dean,” is friends with my 17-year-old son, “Jon.”
I have begun to notice that Lisa is overly attached to Dean. When we go somewhere after work, she says she can’t stay because Dean wants her home. He’ll call or text that it’s time for her to leave, and she happily complies. She asks Dean for permission before going anywhere on weekends.
Jon has been accepted to a few out-of-state universities, and I am excited about him living on his own. Lisa, however, says she is going wherever Dean goes, and right now, he wants to join the army. She found a master’s program for the military that she can finish by the time he graduates, and she can then live wherever he’s stationed — for his entire military career. When I jokingly said his future wife would love that, she replied, “Who says he’s getting married?”
I know it’s not my business, but I remember when one of Lisa’s boyfriends broke up with her. I witnessed breakdowns, depression and stalking. I would not like to see her go through that again. Is it my place to say anything? If so, what? — Worried Friend
Dear Worried: Lisa is an extreme helicopter parent, and it’s terribly unhealthy for the child. And Dean knows he controls the relationship. We know it’s not Lisa’s intention to stunt Dean’s development out of selfishness and possessiveness. It’s OK to talk to her about a child’s need to become independent and how parents should not deprive the child of this progress toward maturity. But the two of them are rather enmeshed right now, and there’s not much you can do. We hope Lisa finds the perspective to realize the emotional damage she could do to their relationship.
Dear Annie: I cannot believe the gall of some of the retired people in my area. Some white-haired old guy actually tried to muscle his way in front of me in the grocery checkout line today. My items were already on the belt, and the people in front of me were paying when I looked up and this old white-haired guy behind me says, “I’m just going to go in front of you” — not “May I?” or “Would you mind?”
Just because you are retired or old does not give you the right to do whatever you want. I was on my lunch break. My time is just as important as yours, and you probably have more of it than I do. You should be offering to let the working people of the world go in front of you. After all, we support your butt by paying Social Security taxes — something that probably won’t exist when I retire. — Hermitage, Penn.
Dear Hermitage: Feel better now? Retired people have already worked hard and paid their share of taxes, so let’s not get into that argument. And we hear the same complaints about stay-at-home moms and people with flexible work schedules, but those folks might also have restrictions on their time.
Here’s our best suggestion: No one should be rude to others or expect to jump the line. Those who can manage, please try to go at less busy times to banks, post offices and other places that are only open during business hours. The rest of you, please be tolerant.
Dear Annie: “Steve in Ohio” says his wife wants to name their son after his “Aunt Jordan.” I am a 96-year-old male who was saddled with a gender-neutral name. I detested it and found it embarrassing to introduce myself to new people.
When I went away to school, I adopted a masculine middle name, and as an adult, I finally made the middle name legal. Please don’t give kids screwball names. They are the ones who pay for it in the future. — Empathy for Jordan
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your 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.
Published in The Messenger 3.23.12