Dear Annie: Except for a five-month period when I was married, I've lived with my father my entire life. My great-grandma lived with Dad, even while he was married. This means my father has never lived alone.
My boyfriend and I plan to get a house soon, and I haven't told my father. Dad truly cannot be by himself, and he's very unpleasant when he doesn't get his way. I love him to death, but my 4-year-old son and I can't live here forever.
Living with Dad is hard. I'm like his personal servant. I've tried talking to my grandmother, who tells me not to let Dad stop me from moving on with my life. Then she calls my father and tells him I "don't want to be stuck taking care of him." This doesn't help.
Dad is 60 years old, and his company is about to go under. He won't be able to start another career. He claims he has no problem with my leaving as long as we find a house with a room for him. But we can't afford a four-bedroom home. The house we've picked is less than a mile away, and he still disapproves. What can we do?Stuck Here Forever
Dear Stuck: Your father is afraid to be alone, but it would engender self-respect and a sense of competence for him to learn how capable he can be. Ease the transition by preparing some meals and putting them in the freezer with instructions, and by visiting daily to see that he is OK and to reassure him that you are nearby. Invite him for dinner the first week you move out. Then push him to get involved in activities that will make him less dependent on you. Would he get a part-time job, join a health club, choir, art class, theater group or political organization? Can he teach a class or volunteer to run local tours? Be patient but firm. He needs to know you are moving on and out.
Dear Annie: I have neighbors on all sides. We have driveways and garages, but our homes also allow for plenty of parking on the street.
The family that lives directly across from me constantly parks their cars in front of my house rather than on their side of the street. They also have a portable basketball hoop that their kids like to put near my driveway. I sometimes pull my car out of the garage and park it in front of my house just so they can't use the space. They don't get the hint.
Isn't there some unwritten rule that you put your things in front of your own home? Am I too sensitive?Annoyed in Colorado
Dear Annoyed: Whenever possible, people should park their cars (and their basketball hoops) in their own space and not irritate the neighbors. Drop by to say hello and politely mention that you occasionally need the area in front of your house and would appreciate it if they'd use their side of the street. (Of course, if you don't actually ever need this space, there's no reason not to cede it to the neighbors.)
Dear Annie: I read your column faithfully. I would like to recommend an organization that is available nationwide and free to innocent victims of crime and their families.
Anyone who has been the victim of a hit-and-run, assault, murder, elder or child abuse, or other crime may be eligible for compensation to help pay for medical and dental bills, counseling, lost wages, burial costs, etc. Contact The Center for Victims Rights (sunco.com/victim). Independent Victim Advocate, Lecanto, Fla.
Dear Annie: I have a 14-year-old grandson who is a hugger. "Teddy" will say hello and goodbye with a hug, which is great. But my concern is how much he wants to hug in between.
It's not unusual for Teddy to walk up two or three times during a visit and want a hug. And they aren't brief hugs. I am concerned about a boy this age wanting to be hugged so much, so often. He gets plenty of affection from his parents. What should be said to him and by whom? Concerned GrandmaDear Grandma: Some kids, boys as well as girls, are huggers. They love the physical contact, and by itself, it's nothing to worry about. Is this a recent phenomenon? Does Teddy hug women more than men? (Some young boys use hugging as an acceptable way to touch women.) Is Teddy's intellectual and physical development normal? If so, he's likely to tone down the hugging as he gets older, and we'd let his parents handle it. Say nothing.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. © Creators Syndicate Inc.