Dad spends extra time with once-estranged daughter
DEAR ABBY: My older sister, “Lily,” is in a biracial marriage and has a son. Our dad never approved. He gave her an ultimatum when she first met “Rodney”: Choose between him or our family. She chose Rodney.
After 30 years of Dad not speaking to her and influencing us siblings to feel the same way, our mother died and Dad rekindled his relationship with Lily. He’s 82 now, and he puts her and her family first. He spends a lot of money on them and spends a lot of time with her and her son.
The rest of us feel so much resentment. I realize he’s making up for lost time and feels guilty. But it’s sickening when we remember how he pushed us to feel the way he did back then and now expects us to do an emotional 180. We are OK with being with our sister and her family. It’s Dad we’re having the problem with.
How do we move on?
UPSET IN THE EAST
DEAR UPSET: I wish you had mentioned what caused your father’s change of heart because it would have been a valuable lesson for a lot of readers. He did a disservice to all of you by teaching hate rather than love and acceptance. Now you have decades of lost time to make up for.
Anger, resentment and bigotry serve no one well. Your father recognizes the mistake he made by shunning his daughter and her family, and he’s trying to make up for it.
As I write this, I’m reminded of a line from the “Peace Prayer of St. Francis”: “Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” Good for your father! The way for you to move on would be to recognize it’s time to forgive him for the damage he caused your family because, if you don’t, you and your siblings will perpetuate it.
DEAR ABBY: I have worked for my husband, “Ben,” in a small firm for 20 years, but members of my family still think I don’t have a “real” job. I did it so I’d have flexibility in taking care of our children, participating in PTA and other school activities, and be involved in the community. This benefits us not only as a family but also Ben’s business.
I work a 40-plus-hour week, just not necessarily 9 to 5. So why does my family think they can call me at work, especially on my cell, for non-work-related issues? They wouldn’t call their friends or children at work, so why, despite my asking them repeatedly not to, do they still call, or worse, drop in? How can I make them stop bothering me?
DEAR AT WORK: Because you have asked your relatives not to call between certain hours, screen your calls before answering your phone.
When they ask why you didn’t pick up, repeat the message that you were working and please not to call you at that time. If they drop in, quit being so available. Repeat that they have come at a time that’s inconvenient, and give them a time when you can socialize.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.