Dear Annie: My 22-year-old son, “Nick,” spends most of his time playing video games. He was fired from several jobs last year because he stopped showing up. We had no idea.
We finally kicked him out. It was the hardest decision of my life. He lived with various relatives and friends until he started lying to them about work. Nick is now at his father’s, who lets him stay rent-free, contributing nothing.
I managed to get Nick to see a psychiatrist briefly. I went along to make sure he told the truth, but as soon as the therapist wanted him to continue on his own, he canceled the next appointment, saying the therapist didn’t do anything but ask him questions.
I am concerned that Nick will do something drastic, like harm himself. When I brought it up, he said he would never do that. But he’s alone so much and seems so aimless. Is there anything I can do besides pray?
— Worried Mom in Alabama
Dear Mom: There are a lot of possibilities to consider: Might Nick be drinking or using drugs? Is he addicted to video games and cannot tear himself away? Is he depressed? And, of course, there is the “lazy” factor, in that he has a place to stay, rent-free, and is not required to do anything at all, including grow up.
The fact that Nick is alone and aimless does not make him suicidal, but it can feed on itself and make him more lethargic. And the longer he is without work, the harder it will be to find the next job. Please see whether you can get Nick to see a physician for a checkup. Then talk to your ex-husband about your next step.
Dear Annie: I am very frustrated. My daughter is graduating soon, and I sent out invitations for a party, leaving an RSVP with my phone number. Catering is expensive, and I was hoping the guests would call me to tell me whether they are able to attend. So far, only two people have responded. Out of 40.
A few years ago, I ordered food for 300 guests, only to have 70 people show up, resulting in a lot of food being thrown away. But another time, I ordered for 100 people, and we ran out of food because 150 came. Please tell your readers not to ignore an RSVP. It’s there for a reason.
Dear Frustrated: This is an ongoing frustration for many of our readers. Of course people should have the decency to respond to invitations in a timely manner. Your only recourse, sorry to say, is to call each person and ask whether he or she is planning to attend.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Perplexed,” who wanted to get his parents to stop bothering him by incessantly calling or visiting. I liked your answer, suggesting he call for five minutes every day to reassure Dad that he is OK and to make sure that Dad is OK, too.
My mom was my best friend, and I loved her very much. After my partner and I were in a bad automobile accident, we recuperated at Mom’s home. When we left, she cried and asked whether I would do something for her: call once a day to let her know that we are OK.
I did that and then began to call her at night, too, just to say, “I love you, Mom.” About a year later, I called in the morning, and there was no answer. She had passed away in her sleep. My consolation was that the last words I said to her were “I love you.” There is nothing kids can do to make up for the times that they avoided their parents and complained that they were such a “bother.”
— Louisville, Ky.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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