Dear Annie: Please permit me to use your column to address my grown children.
Dear Kids: Father’s Day and my birthday have come and gone, and I didn’t hear a word from any of you. Christmas is coming, and I expect more of the same.
You are not orphans. You didn’t rear yourselves. You didn’t come out of an abusive home. I worked hard to give you the best of everything, from designer clothes to Ivy League educations. I was involved in all of your activities when you were growing up, and I was at the head of your dinner table every evening. All you ever got from me was kindness and concern. And I fully respected your mother, regardless of what you may think.
It’s hard to be old and alone, which is why my lady friend has assumed such a prominent role in my life. You may not like her, despite her many kindnesses to you, but she is here for me, and you are not. When I have been sick or injured, she alone has cared for me. The only times I hear from you are when you want something, usually money, which brings me to another topic: my will.
While you may regard my lady friend as a “gold-digger,” whatever gold there is belongs to me. It is not your money. I am free to do whatever I want with it. Of course, I would love to hear from you, which is why I am constantly reaching out, only to be met with silence. My heart will always be open to you. – Love, Dad
Dear Dad: We can feel your anger and bitterness through your words. We don’t know what precipitated your estrangement, but kids can hang onto a lot of resentment for a very long time. You want them to be warm and respectful, but they may have reasons for keeping an emotional distance. Reaching out may require apologies and forgiveness all around. Please try again, but this time, be vulnerable enough to let them know you want to be closer, and ask how best to achieve it.