may have to find ‘family’ outside of your blood relatives
childhood, my mother has told me she never wanted me. I now have two children
of my own. At one point, I became homeless, and my parents took me in. But I
became ill and needed major surgery.
While recovering, my brother’s son came over often and would constantly pick
on my sons. My parents did nothing.
One day, I heard my youngest son screaming, and when I checked, I saw my
10-year-old nephew hurting him and trying to molest him. I confronted my
parents and my brother about allowing this behavior to go on, and Mom said to
forget about it. Dad said nothing.
Now my mother has disowned me and will have nothing to do with my
I have no other family, and this hurts. How can I get my parents to admit that
my bully of a nephew has a serious problem? — On the Edge of a Nervous
Edge: Your nephew does indeed have a problem, but you cannot force
your parents to address it. Your job is to protect your children. If that means
keeping them away from your brother, your parents, your nephew or anyone else,
then that is what you do. If the nephew molested your son, you could report the
situation to the authorities.
Please look for “family” in your community and church. There are plenty of
older adults who would love to be surrogate grandparents for your sons and
would treat them with the caring and consideration they deserve.
Dear Annie: I taught in the Maryland public school system for many
years before retiring 10 years ago.
Every year at Christmastime, the students gave me Christmas ornaments. Some
were homemade from individual students, and others were large and from the
whole class. Of course, I thanked each of them. But as the years went on, my
appreciation grew as I took them out each season to decorate my tree. I wrote
their names on the ornaments, so each year I am able to think lovingly of those
To their parents, I thank you for allowing me to teach your children.
Hopefully, those children will have fond memories about some way in which I
made them feel special. They were certainly special to me. They were one of the
reasons I loved to teach. I still think of them and wonder what kind of young
adults they’ve become. It was a privilege to help shape their young minds and
whet their appetites for learning. I wish them all well and hope they enjoy
much success in life.
Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah! With much love from their fifth grade teacher
— Mrs. Helen Gromadzki, The Villages, Fla.
Dear Helen: Your letter was so sweet, we had to print it. We hope
all of your former students have a chance to see it and possibly reconnect to
let you know how their lives have turned out.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Hurting in Miami,” who said
her friend of 20 years married some wealthy young man and then cut off
contact. You mentioned in your response that her new husband may be
controlling and trying to isolate his new bride. I want to emphasize this
point, especially because the woman is young and may have no experience with
this type of controlling person. Please tell “Miami” to try to keep in
touch with her friend by email or phone and let her know she is there for
her. This same thing happened to a dear friend. Her new husband was
wonderful to her before marriage, but afterward turned into a control freak who
isolated her from her family and friends.
We were trying to get her out of this toxic situation, but before we could do
anything, he threatened her with a gun, and it accidentally went off, and she
died. — Cautious in Michigan