Dear Annie: I am a 13-year-old boy and can’t talk about this with anyone I know.
My father isn’t in my life. It never mattered because I have the best older brother anyone could ask for. “Tommy” is 21, and he is my hero. He helps me with my homework, teaches me about life, takes me places, protects me and loves me unconditionally.
But here’s the problem. I think I’m in love with him. Is that possible? He’s all I can think about. I’m not gay. I like girls. I have never felt this way about any other guy. Tommy has a girlfriend, and they plan to get married. He’s never done anything to make me think he has other feelings for me, although he’s very affectionate. He gives me hugs and kisses the top of my head.
Is there something seriously wrong with me? Should I tell Tommy how I feel? I really love him with all my heart. — Little Brother
Dear Brother: Thinking you are in love with a sibling is actually not that uncommon. When you are 13 and going through a great many physical and hormonal changes, it is easy to think that the strong, loving feelings you have for Tommy may be romantic in nature. You admire him, appreciate him and want to be close to him. The important thing is to understand that these feelings will be replaced by more appropriate ones as you get older. Until then, you can discuss these feelings with your Mom, your school counselor, your doctor or a trusted adult relative or neighbor.
Dear Annie: Our son married a wonderful girl last fall, and we love her and her parents dearly. There is only one problem. Their eating habits are atrocious.
”Emma” cooks nothing but high-fat, high-sugar food. Her mother cooks the same way. Since marrying, our son has put on a lot of weight, and all of them could lose a few pounds. Her father is having gallbladder issues but refuses to change his diet.
I have offered to help Emma learn new recipes, but she isn’t interested. I love these people and want to help them develop better eating habits, but I don’t want to make them angry by sticking my nose in where it doesn’t belong. How do I help? — Mom-in-Law
Dear Mom-in-Law: Please don’t tell Emma’s parents how to eat. Your intentions are good, but there is no way to do this without sounding as if you are lecturing and criticizing them. The same goes for your daughter-in-law. Instead, concentrate on your son. Surely, he grew up with healthier eating habits and knows the difference. Encourage him to help Emma stay healthy, because this is something that will affect their future children. Then stay out of it.
Dear Annie: You missed the boat with “Maisie’s Mom,” whose daughter won’t let the dog live with them after she promised she could. You admitted that Mom is a victim of a bullying and abusive daughter, but then said she might have to apologize anyway in order to keep seeing her little grandson.
Mom owes no one an apology. She should find a place to live with Maisie and move on. Perhaps when the grandson is older, he will choose to be a part of his grandmother’s life. In the meantime, Mom can volunteer at a school to be with children. Life is too short. — Amazed and Appalled
Dear Amazed: A great many readers thought “Maisie’s Mom” should keep the dog and cut her daughter and grandchild out of her life. That is her choice, but we know many parents would not think that is a satisfying solution.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.