Dear Annie: My parents are in their late 70s. I have two siblings, and there is one 32-year-old grandchild, "Debbie." Since she was a baby, Debbie has been my mother's darling.
When Debbie was married, my parents paid her rent, which necessitated Mom getting a job after she had retired. But the money she sent was used for drugs. Since then, Debbie has bled them dry. My parents bought her a house, baby-sit for her kids and drive her everywhere. To pay them back, Debbie has stolen thousands of dollars from them. She's never held a job and has been arrested several times. My parents always pay for her lawyer, fines and bail money.
When my parents made out their will, they divided everything so that my siblings and I get the same share as Debbie. I know it's their money and they can do what they please with it, but it seems a slap in the face to the rest of us.My mother doesn't realize the wedge she has created because of the way she spoils this favored grandchild. Why does this bother me so much? Is it just the money? Son of Doormats in Texas
Dear Texas: No. It's the sense that your mother loves Debbie more than she loves you, and that Debbie doesn't deserve it. It's Grandma's misguided way of protecting Debbie from future hardship she will continue to spoil her from the grave in the desperate hope that Debbie will turn her life around in order to please her grandmother. The reality is, Debbie is more likely to become responsible when she doesn't have Grandma rushing to her rescue. Instead of resenting Debbie, feel sorry for her. Someday that money will run out and she will be in worse shape than ever.
Dear Annie: My husband's 86-year-old parents should not be driving anymore, but I feel it is not my place to tell them. I think my husband should do it.
My mother-in-law cannot remember what she did a couple of hours ago. It takes her over 45 minutes to drive to her doctor, who is only 20 minutes away. She can barely walk, and when we speak to her, we have to repeat ourselves several times. She says nothing is wrong, but we have noticed her slowing down a great deal.
I fear for others on the road when she is driving. She has been in a few accidents, which she claims are always the other person's fault. I have driven with my in-laws and it scares me to death. We don't let them drive us anywhere anymore.
Is there a way to make them give up the car keys? I know they cling to their driving as a way of remaining independent, but I don't want them to kill themselves or someone else. No Name as It Will Cause ArgumentsDear No Name: You are right that your husband should discuss this with them. He can start by asking his parents to take the AARP Driver Safety Course (aarp.org). He also should research alternative ways for them to get around, including local senior transportation, and whether family members can take turns driving them to the doctor, etc. If Mom and Dad are truly putting themselves and others at risk and refuse to stop driving, you may need to enlist the help of their physician, the DMV and the police.
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.