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Dear Annie: Stiffed on a birthday

By Annie Lane Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: What should I do about my adult children’s birthdays? My birthday is Jan. 1. Most years, my children acknowledge it with a card, not just a text. This year, all I got were texts from them. I was very hurt. Their father’s birthday is later in the year, and they will buy him a gift plus a card.

May I just text them on their birthdays to reciprocate their behavior? Their father won’t remember to get a card, etc. I feel like giving to charities in their names for their birthdays. Would that be OK? I’m in a pickle regarding what to do. – Birthday Blues

Dear Birthday: First, happy belated birthday. And shame on your children. The least they could have done was send a card. I’m guessing you’re such a giver that they take dear old Mom for granted. Perhaps they need to be reminded that you have feelings. Tell them – or have your husband tell them – that their actions (or lack thereof) hurt you.

As for what to do for their birthdays, giving to charity is always a great idea. Go for it. I dare them to complain.

Dear Annie: I am hoping this letter can help open the public’s eyes to the fact that kids, not just adults, can have mental illness issues. They often appear normal to others, and even their families tend to forget that these issues – severe anxiety, for example – are going on inside their minds.

My granddaughter has certain sensitivities and has been bothered in recent months by strangers coming up to her, and I want to remind everyone that under no circumstances should a stranger touch a child. We have encountered problems with this many times.

Before Halloween, I was at a pumpkin patch with my granddaughter. The man selling pumpkins said to me, “You can leave your granddaughter with me. We will carve a pumpkin, and you can come back and pick her up.” I politely said no. My granddaughter picked out a pumpkin, and he touched her on the arm. We got in the car, and she was near tears, saying, “He scared me, and he touched me. I will never go back there again.”

That same day, we stopped at a chain drugstore, and the sales clerk bent over and grabbed the pompoms on my granddaughter’s hat, which she had just gotten at a craft show. The clerk bopped my granddaughter on the face with the dangly pompom. Thank goodness she didn’t have a meltdown in the store. Once we were in the car, she was near tears again. She said she would never wear this hat again because a stranger had touched her on the face with her own hat.

In a local mall, we were sitting in an eatery, when an older man came over and started asking about my daughter. My granddaughter was again upset by a stranger and thanked me for not telling him her name.

In the future, these people may touch a child in front of someone who will turn them in. Please don’t touch kids you don’t know or don’t have permission to touch, even if they are so cute you can hardly resist. – Concerned Grandmother

Dear Concerned: I’m sure many of these strangers are just trying to be friendly, but thank you for reminding all of us to respect the personal space of children. It’s always best to exercise that caution.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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