Dear Annie: Abusive mom with joint custody
Dear Annie: My son shares custody with the mother of one of his boys but lives hundreds of miles away. He is great with this 9-year-old, and the boy is very happy when they are together. The boy’s 18-year-old half brother is the perfect big brother, and they are very close.
The boy’s mother has difficulties. Just before I saw him recently, she had slapped him hard in the face. I believe she has choked the boy. His voice was pretty hoarse when I saw him. Her daughter, the boy’s half sister, was hospitalized after a drug overdose that was apparently a suicide attempt.
My son says the boy’s mother would make life difficult and possibly contest custody if he were to try to get full custody. His lawyer only tells him to document everything. My son’s mother and sister think the same way and advise him against taking action. Those three people are not good at listening to anything that contradicts their way of thinking. Suggestions, please. — Worried About Grandson
Dear Worried: Your concerns are absolutely valid, and this situation demands action. Though your son’s lawyer is right -- he should be sure to document all evidence of abuse -- your son needs to go beyond that to protect his son right now. Your grandson’s mom seems to have intimidated everyone into being afraid. Don’t play into the roles she’s written. The stakes are very real. Call the police if and when you suspect abuse, and call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 800-422-4453 for general guidance about how you can support your grandson and son.
Dear Annie: This is in reference to “What’s in a Name?” — who was frustrated that a relative had chosen the name she wished to use for her future child.
This woman can always use the name she wanted to be for her future son as his middle name. It’s a simple solution. Plus, if she ever does have a son, his cousin will feel good about the child’s having part of his name.
I had friends who gave their firstborn the name “Cody.” When the second son came along, they named him “Dakota.” They could not nickname Dakota “Cody,” which in this area is the nickname for Dakota. So they nicknamed Dakota “Dak.” Unfortunately, my friends lost both sons within less than a month of each other — between Thanksgiving and Christmas — a few years ago.
So what really is in a name?
I hope “What’s in a Name?” gets her wish to have a son. My friends were past the age of having another son when they lost both Cody and Dakota. I am now a grandmother. My daughter and son-in-law made my grandson’s middle name Cody, in memory of our friends’ sons. — Proud Grandmother in PA
Dear Proud: Thank you for sharing this incredibly moving story. You’ve put things into perspective. I’ve found that looking at the big picture has the power to remove all the tiny flaws and remind us what a gift it is to simply be here beholding it.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.