Dear Annie: I’m starting to wonder about my son-in-law, “Pete.” He married my daughter some 40 years ago when he was fresh out of the Navy. I was concerned that they had no savings and he had no job training. But he was quiet and likable. Through the years, however, people I respect have called Pete “no good,” ”a bum,” ”lazy” and “a snake in the grass.” My daughter and grandsons worked and sacrificed to put Pete through college.
One of their boys recently got his girlfriend pregnant, and neither Pete nor my daughter did anything to help that girl. I gave them $500 for a blood test, but they didn’t follow through. I am worried about Pete’s integrity, but also about that of my daughter, who is not doing the right thing. What should I do? — Worried Grandma
Dear Grandma: Your daughter and Pete have been married for 40 years. It’s a little late to be worried about his influence on her or how they have raised their mostly-grown children. Might your grandson marry this girl? Will he at least help raise the child and pay support? (He is legally liable for that.)
Please don’t use this moment to chastise your daughter or Pete. It won’t do any good and could damage the relationship you have. Instead, encourage your grandson to take an active role in his child’s life. You could help the young couple financially if you like, and we hope you will welcome your great-grandchild. Stay out of the rest.
Dear Annie: I am in my late 60s, and my husband is in his 70s. It’s a second marriage for both of us. We keep our assets separate so as to provide for our individual families when we are deceased.
Here is the problem: preplanning. I have arranged to have a small insurance policy to pay for my funeral expenses when the time comes. I also have written out specific instructions for my sons regarding my funeral, burial, etc. There would be no decisions left for them to deal with while they are grieving.
However, I cannot get my husband to do the same. He has not earmarked any special funds for his funeral, nor has he any instructions for his children to follow. He won’t even talk about it.
This is so unfair, not only to them, but also to me. I would like his children to take care of the details for his final resting so they are satisfied with the arrangements. Also, they should have immediate funds at their disposal to deal with the costs. The way it stands now, I would be responsible for everything.
It hurts me deeply that he will not see how valuable preplanning is in preventing family squabbles. I will let him read your response. — Wife Left Up in the Air
Dear Wife: Some people have a difficult time planning for their eventual demise. They fear doing so will hasten their death. Others find it too distasteful, and they procrastinate. But you are right: It saves the survivors a great deal of stress and aggravation to know that things are taken care of. We suggest you talk to your husband’s children about this and see whether they can get their father to help them out.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Only Child in Massachusetts,” the woman who loved being an only child, and I have to say it hasn’t been pleasant for me. There were some good things, like not having to share with anyone and having your parents to yourself. But when my parents passed away, I had to lean heavily on my husband, who was wonderful.
When I married, I told my husband I wanted to have more than one child. Now my husband is gone, and my children are busy with their own lives. They miss having cousins, aunts and uncles, and I would give anything to have a sibling to talk to. — Thankful for My Family
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.