Mom isn’t ready to let go of Santa, but daugh­ter is

Austin American-Statesman - - LIFE & ARTS - Dear Abby Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Dear Abby ap­pears on Sun­day, Mon­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day. Email Dear Abby at www.dearabby.com. Mail: NICK LOR­DEN / DIS­COV

Dear Abby: I have a 12-year-old daugh­ter who keeps telling me she knows Santa isn’t real. “An­gela” is an only child, so we don’t have a younger child to worry about car­ry­ing on the tra­di­tion.

I keep telling her that I be­lieve, and as long as she be­lieves, Santa will come. An­gela went so far this year to tell me that she won’t write a let­ter to Santa to prove her point. I guess I have a prob­lem ad­mit­ting to my daugh­ter that her fa­ther and I haven’t been truth­ful all th­ese years. I would love some ad­vice on how to han­dle this.

— I Be­lieve, in Navarre, Fla. Dear I Be­lieve: The jig is up. You’re no longer fool­ing your daugh­ter. By not lev­el­ing with her, the mes­sage you have been send­ing is that if she wants straight an­swers, she will have to go else­where to find them. Sit An­gela down and ex­plain that the spirit of Santa is em­bod­ied by lov­ing par­ents who want their chil­dren to ex­pe­ri­ence the won­der of the hol­i­day as well as the plea­sures it brings.

P.S. And if you haven’t done so al­ready, re­cant the story you prob­a­bly told her about the stork. Dear Abby: I have been di­vorced for three years. I have started see­ing a truck driver I’ll call Ted. His job keeps him away from me a lot of the time. I’m used to be­ing by my­self, so it doesn’t bother me that much. Ted calls and texts me all day, so the com­mu­ni­ca­tion is there.

My fam­ily is telling me it will never work be­cause I need some­one with me in the evenings — like my ex was. I say it will work be­cause I’m used to be­ing by my­self now. Ted and I have a lot in com­mon.

I guess what I’m ask­ing is, should I pay at­ten­tion to what my fam­ily is say­ing or tell them to mind their own busi­ness?

— OK By My­self in South Carolina Dear OK: Con­stant to­geth­er­ness is no guar­an­tee that a mar­riage will be suc­cess­ful. If it was, you wouldn’t be di­vorced from your “ever-present” ex. When choos­ing a part­ner, it is im­por­tant to lis­ten to both your heart and your head.

Con­tinue the re­la­tion­ship and see how it plays out. Tell your fam­ily you ap­pre­ci­ate their con­cern, but this is some­thing you must de­cide for your­self. “Mind your own busi­ness” seems a bit harsh. Dear Abby: I see a very skele­tal woman at my gym. She does an hour on the situp ma­chine. Her stom­ach sticks out like a per­son suf­fer­ing from star­va­tion. It hurts to look at her.

I feel I have a mo­ral obli­ga­tion to do or say some­thing in case she is suf­fer­ing from anorexia. I am also afraid this per­son may have a con­di­tion that is caus­ing her to waste away.

How should I of­fer sup­port to her? Or should I just ig­nore her like the other peo­ple at the gym do?

— Work­ing Out With My Eyes Open

Dear Work­ing Out: If you would like to reach out to her, be friendly, but do not com­ment on her ap­pear­ance. As you get to know each other you will learn more about her con­di­tion — if she has one. If you say any­thing right off the bat, it could be con­sid­ered rude.

Jolin (from right), Levi and Alvin in front of trac­tor on the Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel pro­gram “Amish Mafia.”

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