Attend church for family’s sake until kids grown
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife hauls me to church, and I hate going. I try to fall asleep with my eyes open, but she keeps poking me. The kids know I don’t want to be there, but she says it’s still good for them to see me there. I’m being a hypocrite by going. Is that what I should be showing my children? — Daddy the Fake, West Kildonan
Dear Fake: A little hypocrisy won’t kill you. Most adults have had some practice. There are things in life you do that you don’t particularly like, but you participate for the greater good. Going to school every day is one of them, and many times in a child’s school career, they would love to skip. Ditto for family activities such as going to church. We all knew my mom liked church better than my dad, but he went and counted the lady’s hats and made jokes after passing the collection plate to my mom’s friends like, “Lola, how much did you get?” Our father sang hymns off-key, with enthusiasm, and we loved him for it.
We would have felt something “off” in the family if he didn’t come with us. Sometimes, we didn’t like to go either, but we got dressed up and went and took part in choir and Sunday school. Part of a child’s character-building is seeing their parents carry out things considered important even if they are sometimes bored. When your kids are grown and gone, they will make their own choices about their spirituality and how to honour it. Then have a big talk with your wife about what you want to do. Maybe you’ll want to change religions, or not go at all, but you did your bit for the family on this front.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: It was always cocktail time at our house when I was growing up. My mother and father never missed a happy hour at 5 p.m. and then had wine with dinner. After that, they has a liqueur with their coffee, then took a little break and drank scotch for reading and TV. I was surprised when I stayed for supper at other kids’ houses and discovered there was no liquor, and the kids didn’t even get a sip of wine at dinner.
Now I am in my late 20s and a recovering alcoholic who had to clean up my serious drinking problem or lose my fiancée, the love of my life. My parents still drink from five to midnight and don’t see why I bothered to go to Alcoholics Anonymous when they never had to. They both hold down important jobs.
My girlfriend is in her early 30s and says she would like to have a baby soon. We’re getting married this year. Last night we were at my parents’ for dinner and my father had the wine bottle at the top of my glass and said, “Want a small one?” My girlfriend leapt across the corner of the table, grabbed the bottle and my father’s wrist and yelled at me to get in the car. “We’re leaving!” she said. I’m glad I wasn’t there to hear what was said after that.
Now I’m afraid my parents will never speak to her again, although they have already tried to talk to me by phone. I told them I was very angry and needed time to think. What should I say? — Caught in the Middle, Tuxedo
Dear Caught: Your fiancée protected and defended you like a she-wolf. Don’t apologize for her — stand up and support her. She is your future, and your children are in her eyes. From now on, your dad will keep the bottle to himself. Tell him you and your wife-to-be are a package deal, and it would be wise to skip the drinking dinners and do other activities. Please send your questions and comments to love[email protected]mail.com or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg,
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