March 1, 2011 in Features

Annie’s Mailbox: Narrow-minded relatives ruin visit

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: I’m a single father of a 16-year-old son whom I have raised since he was 2. “Zack” is mature and carries himself with confidence.

When Zack took up sports and his schedule became busy, we found that it was sometimes necessary to share the bathroom. While he showers, I shave, or while I shower, he does his hair.

Last summer, my brother visited us and inadvertently witnessed one such episode where Zack and I needed to get ready at the same time. He didn’t say anything to me but apparently told several family members, including my parents. When my son and I visited for Thanksgiving, it ended up being the main topic of conversation, with words such as “unnatural,” “unhealthy” and “disturbing” being tossed around.

Zack understands that sharing the bathroom is no different than showering with his friends after gym class. I did my best to explain this to my family, but no one wanted to listen.

As a result, Zack has said he would rather not see his grandparents for Easter and suggested we stay home. The problem is, the only times we can visit my parents are during school holidays. Annie, I don’t want my family to miss out on Zack’s life because of something so trivial. I want him to spend time with his relatives, but their attitudes are driving a wedge between us. Any suggestions before I buy an Easter ham? – Proud Parent

Dear Parent: Buy the Easter ham, and tell your relatives that you will be celebrating holidays at home until they can show a measure of respect and tolerance. People will treat you the way you demand to be treated. (But please give them another chance over the summer.)

Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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