Older dad hates grand­dad as­sump­tion

Orlando Sentinel - - ONE DAY UNIVERSITY -

Dear Amy: I am a happy fa­ther. I was over­joyed to have my first child at 57. My boy, “Michael,” is now 11, and in the fifth grade.

My problem is that most of the younger par­ents as­sume I am Mike’s grand­fa­ther. I al­ways promptly cor­rect that as­sump­tion, say­ing I am his fa­ther and that we started late. Some of these state­ments are made within my son’s earshot. This has an im­pact on at­tend­ing par­ent/ teacher meet­ings and school func­tions.

This em­bar­rasses both of us. He is a sen­si­tive lad. He has even said that he hates his par­ents be­ing so old. (His mother is 47, but she looks much younger).

On one oc­ca­sion a very heavy-set woman told me that I must be Michael’s grand­fa­ther. My re­sponse was to con­grat­u­late her on her preg­nancy. As she as­sumed, so did I.

I would ap­pre­ci­ate some help in ad­dress­ing this is­sue, as it is a source of emo­tional dis­tress.

Dear K: The way to ad­dress this is to ac­knowl­edge your son’s per­spec­tive and feel­ings with­out giv­ing in to them. Your em­bar­rass­ment re­in­forces his. Your rude­ness to an over­weight woman teaches your son that it is ac­cept­able to be mor­ti­fied for the priv­i­lege of your age and that rude­ness is an ac­cept­able re­ac­tion when some­one makes an in­cor­rect as­sump­tion.

Across North Amer­ica, mil­lions of grand­par­ents are rais­ing grand­chil­dren; of course, some peo­ple as­sume that a 68-year-old man is an ado­les­cent’s grand­fa­ther!

Your age makes par­ent/ teacher con­fer­ences chal­leng­ing? Why? You are there to dis­cuss your son’s school­work. If a teacher brings up your age or your child’s sen­si­tiv­i­ties about it, you should ask for the teacher’s ad­vice about how to han­dle it and be open to a course cor­rec­tion.

Tell your son, “I un­der­stand that this can be hard on you some­times. But I feel proud and lucky, and I don’t care what other peo­ple think.”

You can­not change your age. Many fam­i­lies carry bur­dens. Fam­i­lies cope with poverty, dis­abil­i­ties and dis­lo­ca­tion. Re­as­sure your son that you’re healthy and happy and that you plan to be around to em­bar­rass him for a long time.

Dear Amy: I am a 75-yearold wi­dow of three years. I got mar­ried at 17, and my hus­band was my first, and only, love. The guy I’m see­ing is 78 and has been wid­owed for five years. He and his wife were our best friends for 60 years.

We have been through the good times, very good times, bad times and very bad times. So I guess it’s karma that our friend­ship blos­somed into a ro­mance.

He will be mov­ing in with me soon. He re­ally wants to get mar­ried. He’s not re­ally pres­sur­ing me, but I do know that mar­riage is NOT what I want at my age. I want us to live to­gether for a few months to make sure this is good for both of us. I’m think­ing more along the lines of a com­mit­ment ser­vice, but I don’t know much about it.

What are your thoughts and feel­ings on my thoughts and feel­ings?

Dear Won­der­ing: My thoughts and feel­ings are mainly cel­e­bra­tory. Karma, in­deed! I will also of­fer my ca­sual, non­sci­en­tific ob­ser­va­tion that older men tend to em­brace re­mar­riage, while older women don’t seem to be quite so keen.

You and your guy should ex­plore all the le­gal ram­i­fi­ca­tions of be­ing to­gether, with and with­out mar­riage. You should see your at­tor­ney re­gard­ing prac­ti­cal mat­ters like in­sur­ance, house­hold finances and es­tate plan­ning.

A com­mit­ment cer­e­mony might be a fun and ap­pro­pri­ate way to cel­e­brate your to­geth­er­ness. There is no one way to do this, but ba­si­cally it is like a wed­ding cer­e­mony with­out the le­gal at­tach­ment.

A friend or clergy mem­ber could per­form the cer­e­mony and you could write vows and de­clare com­mit­ment to each other in front of friends and fam­ily. You might want to plan this event for six months from now, af­ter you’ve both ad­justed to your to­geth­er­ness.

Dear Amy: The question from “Love-in-Law,” where a man said he was in love with his wife’s sis­ter, made my blood boil.

Thank you for stat­ing: “You feel guilty be­cause you ARE guilty.”

Dear Grate­ful: When some­one con­fesses to in­fi­delity and then won­ders why he feels guilty, the an­swer writes it­self.

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