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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Dear Annie 3/11

By Annie Lane Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: I’m 63 and number eight of a Catholic family of 10. Only one sibling remains Catholic; most of us went to other churches and are now Christian. During my childhood, I seemed to be the one to get it bad in terms of punishment.

One day, I told my mom the neighbor kid had spit in my hair. Rather than being sympathetic, my mom cut my waist-long hair to up past my ears. After years of silence from her, all she would say was, “If you don’t know what you did, I’m not telling you.”

When I turned 16, I took the kids I was babysitting to the library and was attacked by five bullies. I was hospitalized. The next day, my mother brought me over to the main bully and slapped my face in front of her. I ran away that very day.

I didn’t see my family for 11 years. When I came back, my parents apologized, and I took care of them until they passed. I decided to start having a family get-together every year, but after the second one, I’m not feeling it’s worth it. They look at me like a person they wouldn’t want to be around. I don’t do drugs. I’m not an alcoholic. I’m happily married, but most of them look at me in a bad light.

My long-winded question is, should I continue a family get-together where everyone shows up, or should I call it a day and love them from a distance? It hurts my heart that they’ve never asked me what happened in our childhood. I guess they really don’t care to know me. – Waste of Family Time

Dear Family Time: First off, I want to highlight what a strong person you are and, unfortunately, had to become because of your childhood. Your mother’s actions toward you sound appalling. As kids, our parents are supposed to love, support and protect us, but yours put you in unfair situations.

Despite this, you’ve shown grace and allowed them chances to redeem themselves – even caring for your parents as they got older. You have a big heart and a giving spirit. If the surviving members of your childhood family aren’t able to see that or aren’t interested in getting to know you, by all means, discontinue the family gatherings.

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