Annie's Mailbox: Grown kids’ll break your heart if you let them
Dear Annie: Until two years ago, I thought we had a loving family, even though my husband and I are divorced. We have two grown children in their 50s.
Two years ago, my son asked me to co-sign a college loan for his child. When I declined, he said he was “done with this whole family,” and has not spoken to any of us since.
I live several hundred miles away from my son. My thought now is to leave the bulk of what little I have to my daughter, because she will end up being my caregiver, selling my house and deciding my future medical care. Of course, I would leave my son a small sum, so he knows he has not been forgotten.
I see no repair to this family, as I do not foresee my son changing. What advice do you have for me? – Hurt Mother
Dear Hurt: Be grateful that you are close to your daughter. You were under no obligation to co-sign a loan on behalf of your grandchild. But your son’s reaction was totally out of proportion, and it makes us wonder whether something else may have been going on. Perhaps he felt you were somehow showing favoritism to his sister or her children. If such an accusation has merit, please examine your behavior honestly to see what you can change.
Is anyone in touch with your son – a relative or family friend? Perhaps this person could intercede on your behalf and find out whether reconciliation is possible. It may require counseling, in which case, we hope you both would agree to go. Otherwise, whatever you do with your estate is up to you. We hope, in addition to whatever you were planning to leave your son, you also include a letter to him expressing your love, without judgment or blame, and your regret that the relationship wasn’t closer.
Dear Annie: My heart hurts and I don’t know how to fix it. I am in my late 70s and my adult children rarely call. I call them.
We have had no disagreements or other issues. I feel they are waiting for me to die to get their inheritance, and have no real interest in me as a person. They rarely celebrate my birthday or holidays, saying they have to work and will come another day.
I am always sad when I hear about my friends celebrating special occasions with their families. What can I do to mend this broken heart? – K.
Dear K.: Some children become so wrapped up in their own lives that they forget to make time for their parents. Please don’t wait around for your kids to value you. Be as active as you can be. Join a book club, theater group or choir. Do volunteer work where your presence will matter. Get a part-time job if you aren’t currently employed. Take an exotic trip with that inheritance. Maybe your kids will find you more interesting. If not, at least you’ll be living your life instead of waiting by the phone.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. 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.