Dear Annie: Loving from afar
Dear Annie: I had my 14th birthday two weeks before I gave birth to my son. The hardest thing I have ever done was to sign the paper for him to be adopted. The entire time I was pregnant, I tried to think of any way I would be able to keep and raise my son. At 14, I completed my first semester in ninth grade but had to drop out my second semester.
I cried and prayed each night for a way to keep my son, to be able to take care of him. For years, I would look into the faces of boys and then men to see if I recognized my son. I silently celebrated each birthday, and prayed he was OK and in a loving home. I didn’t actively try to find my son as I didn’t feel I had any right to look for him, to interrupt his life, or to have any claim to be a part of his life. I never gave up hope and never gave up praying that he was happy and healthy and that he would somehow know from all the “talks” and “love” that we shared while I was carrying him that he would somehow feel that love and not feel abandoned or unwanted.
The best day of my life came more than 45 years later when I received a phone call, and it was my son!
Many times a birth mother really has no choice or is unable, for whatever reason, to raise a child, and if a loving family is unable to have a child of their own but is able to give that baby a loving home, it is a truly great thing.
I still regret that I was unable to be the mother my son needed, and I am grateful that he had a great life with his adoptive parents who loved him, and that he does not hate me for my choices. — A Loving and Thankful Mother
Dear Birth Mother: Your letter is extremely touching. You sound like a beautiful person and mother. May your letter help people who are wondering if their birth mothers wanted them.
Dear Annie: We know that schools and food manufacturers are cognizant of nut (or peanut) allergies, and we all can have empathy for those suffering from these allergies and the limitations it puts on their families and themselves, but we have a condition in our family and it is not being addressed in public places — obesity. Some people have a genetic cause for obesity.
My granddaughter has Prader-Willi syndrome and has an insatiable appetite, which can cause obesity and early death. She is hungry 24/7 and will never, ever feel full even after eating. Her condition only makes me more aware of our society and the focus on food.
Every holiday is centered around food. We have learned to make those holidays about love and inedible gifts. Easter is coming and she will have a basket of toys and games instead of candy.
When visiting a school I am appalled with the overabundance of candy and treats everywhere. Gingerbread houses at Christmas decorated with marshmallows and candy -- a treat for children but a torment for my granddaughter.
I would love it if schools could take food out of classrooms and back in the cafeteria. It would help my granddaughter, but it would be a blessing for all children to place food as an option only in certain places rather than in the classroom. — Empathetic Grandma
Dear Empathetic Grandma: I certainly empathize with your complaint and think that you raise a valid point. However, food has long been at the center of many traditions in our society. Rather than trying to do away with that altogether, we might try using more healthful foods in these activities, such as an Easter basket loaded with beautiful fruits or a gingerbread house made with no added sugar (there are recipes online). I’d be curious to hear other readers’ ideas on this subject and will print any further food for thought here.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.