Parents will need support in dealing with Aunt Liz

Published 8:21 am Thursday, August 12, 2010

Annie’s mailbox

Dear Annie: I am a blessed child of two wonderful, loving people. My parents are incredibly generous. Right now, they are putting my sister through school and paying all of her expenses so she will graduate debt-free. They have helped me in countless ways, both emotionally and financially, and my husband, as well. They have custody of my cousin’s child because my cousin is a drug addict. They also help my grandfather, saying how fortunate they are to be in a position to do so.

My issue is with “Aunt Liz.” Ever since I can remember, she’s been sponging off my parents. My parents are raising her grandchild, and she can’t even be bothered to baby-sit for a day. Liz used to work full time, but was temporarily on disability. When she was able to work again, she managed to lose every job she had. She doesn’t even try anymore. She just asks my parents for money.

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My mom is stressed about the number of people depending on her and worries what will happen when she and Dad retire. She has started refusing when Aunt Liz wants money, but Liz will go to my father’s workplace and cry until he gives in.

Annie, it would be different if Liz were making an effort to become independent, but she’s not. How can I help my parents?

— Sick of It

Dear Sick: Make sure your parents know how grateful you are for everything they have done for you. At the rate they are going, you may need to return the favor someday. Meanwhile, you cannot change the choices they make, but you can encourage them to present a united front to Liz, whatever it happens to be.

Dear Annie: I’m a newlywed. My wife and I get along great, but we are experiencing growing pains.

She has a Facebook account, and one of her photos is what I would deem overly risque. She is dressed, but barely. As her husband, this really bothers me. I’ve told her how I feel, but she doesn’t want to discuss it. Don’t I have any say in the matter?

— Husband With No Say

Dear Husband: Not as much as you think. You don’t get to dictate how your wife presents herself. However, a wife who cares for her husband takes his opinions into consideration (and vice versa) and responds in a way that shows respect for the marriage. We wouldn’t make too big a deal over this. It’s probably temporary. Your wife sounds a bit immature, but time should take care of that.

Dear Annie: This is a response to “Still Cry About It,” who wasn’t sure how she’d react if the baby she gave up for adoption showed up on her doorstep after 25 years.

I’d like to thank her. My husband and I adopted an infant more than 25 years ago. She is the light of our lives. From the start, we told her she was adopted. (When she was little, she said she was “a doctor.”) She does not wish to meet her birth mother, but we have given her all the necessary information to do so.

I want to tell my daughter and all adopted children that what their birth mothers did took courage. It’s not the easy road, and it probably wasn’t the path her friends were encouraging her to take. She did it because she was mature enough and strong enough to do what she thought was best for her child.

We would never want our daughter to judge her birth mother harshly. That woman not only allowed me to become a mother, but made me want to be the best mother because I owed it to her and the sacrifice she made. It took all of us for my daughter to become the person she is, and I am eternally grateful to the woman who gave birth to her.

— With a Grateful Heart