Annie’s Mailbox: Initiate contact with grown sons

MONDAY, JUNE 6, 2011

Dear Annie: Two years ago, after my wife died, I moved to another state to live with my brother and his wife because they needed help.

I have three sons, all of whom now live far away. They call two or three times a year. I’d like to hear from them more often, so I call them when I want to talk. I have hinted strongly that I wish they would call more frequently, but the last time I did that, my oldest son asked if I was having a “pity party.”

They do say they love me before hanging up, but I wonder if it’s true since they so rarely keep in touch on their own. I don’t want to create a problem, but I am. – Feeling Dejected

Dear Dejected: We agree that your sons don’t call as much as they should, but there is no rule that says children must be the ones to initiate contact. We suggest you call them once a week. Send emails. Text the grandkids. Be upbeat. Plan visits. And please look into activities to keep you socially active and engaged. It sounds as if you will need to be less focused on your children.

Dear Annie: This is for “Concerned Wife,” whose husband was diagnosed with diabetes. Six years ago, that was me. I believed I couldn’t control what my husband ate, and then realized I did the cooking and shopping. When my husband went to the doctor, I went along and asked to see a dietitian. I went to diabetes classes.

We began with small, healthy changes. I quit buying soda and served water or low-fat milk. I cut back on the carbs and cooked more protein and vegetables. I learned how to make healthy substitutions, such as lean turkey for ground beef.

I never once blamed the diabetes. I’d say, “We are trying new things.” Over time, we began making better food choices. Tell “Concerned” not to make this “his” problem, but to create a team spirit. Be positive about changes. – Been There

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