We're planning our annual journey to spend Christmas with my husband's mother. She's overtly sarcastic. When we were planning our wedding she'd say, "Why bother, the wedding probably won't happen anyway."
She makes snide remarks about the money I spend on fruit for my daughter. She criticizes the way I close and open her dishwasher.
I'm no wallflower. Out of respect, I've tolerated her barbs, but am soon likely to respond in kind. My husband fully supports me and has always intervened when she's rude. I want him to enjoy his holidays, as he's a loving and caring husband.
Christmas No Joy
Your husband needs to do some advance reconnaissance. This is not a new situation.... it's not enough to have to respond to each incident. He must contact her ahead, in person if possible, and say that he's not going to let her hijack happy occasions anymore with her putdowns, sarcasm, and criticism directed at you.
If she wants Santa to grant her Christmas with family, she has to be as nice, not naughty. If she makes her usual comments, your own family is prepared to have your own celebrations without her from now on. And mean it.
I'm a 15-year-old girl with a major crush on this boy. Last year, we worked together on a project and I think he almost asked me out (I was shy). This year, I was going to ask him out on a date. Before I got the chance, though, he got into a car accident and is in the hospital. He's been in a coma for over a month, and only opened his eyes this Tuesday.
I still think that I love him, but no one knows if he's going to recover and I'm scared that it's too late for me to tell him how I feel. What should I do?
Send a Get Well card. Nothing else for now. This young man needs all his energy for recovering, healing, regaining all his functions, and his self-confidence.
It's a long journey but since he's young, and likely was healthy before, he may do very well. All thoughts and chat about him should be on the positive side.... and you can be a good friend by saying so when you hear negative discussion about his chances.
As for your own feelings and hopes of dating, keep that to yourself. As he gets well, you may send another cheerful card wishing him well. If groups of school friends eventually can visit him, you can join them. But make no moves to be alone with him. When he's well, you can try to get to know him better at that time.
I'm a widow at 43, my late husband had a terminal condition, and so I was somewhat "prepared" for his passing.
Nevertheless, I joined a grief support group, but it was a huge disappointment. Two of the women there were "repeaters".... they kept coming to new groups, looking for widowers to date! Other people wanted to repeat their same sad stories every week, so they could sob and be hugged. It was not for me.
Do you know of any other types of resources that can help a widow be pro-active about going forward?
See friends and family you like, surround yourself with positive people, but don't be hard on yourself if you, too, sometimes feel sad and lonely.
One excellent book: Widow to Widow: Thoughtful, Practical Ideas for Rebuilding Your Life by Genevieve Davis Ginsburg.
FEEDBACK Regarding the boy, five, whose kindergarten teacher said he needs drugs for hyperactivity (Nov. 17):
Reader - "When my son was in Grade 1, the teacher had extremely negative complaints of "hyperactivity" and "ADHD." Fortunately, my mother was a recently retired Special Education elementary school teacher, who encouraged me to have my son seen by our family doctor, and referred to a specialist in ADHD. The specialist's conclusion was unequivocal: "NO such condition."
"Several other parents received the same teacher's complaints, all regarding boys. Our son turned out to be bored! The teacher had difficulty handling her active class, and expected 20 six-year-olds to sit like little robots at their desks all day.
"My son was tested in Grade 3, and moved into a gifted program, where he absolutely thrived. He's graduated from an enriched learning program in high school, and has matured into a wonderful, intelligent, and inquisitive human being."
Tip of the day:
Past Christmas discord warrants setting boundaries to create family harmony.