Dear Annie: My daughter hasn’t spoken to me in 20 years. “Linda” is 45 years old and has been married since around 1993. I wasn’t invited to her wedding, so I am not sure. I think she received a master’s degree, but I wasn’t invited to her graduation, so I’m not sure of that, either.
Linda’s mother left me for her married lover when our daughter was 6. Instead of taking custody, I felt it best for her mother to raise her, which was a big mistake. My current wife enjoyed a good relationship with Linda. We visited her during her college years and gave her money to spend. But once she finished her degree, we never heard from her again. She didn’t reply to our phone calls, letters or emails.
Linda’s brother informed me that she and her husband have four children we have never met. The oldest must be about 16 and the youngest about 3, but I do not know any of their birthdates. When I tried to find out why she stopped all contact, the only thing she said was, “Whatever the reason that you think it is.”
Linda was trained as a family counselor. What happened in her training that would lead her to refuse a relationship with her own father? The divorce wasn’t my idea, so why am I left out in the cold?
— Father Who Can’t See His Child
Dear Father: This has nothing to do with Linda’s training. More likely, it is some grudge she has been holding onto for years. Since you are in contact with your son and he is in touch with his sister, ask him to act as your intermediary. Have him tell Linda that you are sorry for anything you may have done that has created this estrangement, and you want to know how to reconcile. We hope she is responsive.
Dear Annie: I am only 11, but I want the truth and not the lies most people tell kids.
I have had a best friend, “Janie,” for about four years. I am an only child, and my parents are divorced, so Janie is everything to me. I recently started middle school, and now we only have one class together. Janie recently became friends with another girl. I don’t think I can compete with this girl, because she is really pretty and wears designer clothes.
Anyway, Janie and this girl always hang out together, and it makes me feel really left out. I can’t lose her. She is like the sister I never had. Should I do something? If so, what?
— Lost and Alone
Dear Lost: Here’s the truth, and you may not like it: In middle school, it is not unusual for kids to develop new interests and new friends. Some of them discard their old friends in the process. If Janie is so shallow that she chooses her friends based on their clothes, she’s not much of a true friend, and we think you know that.
It’s OK to tell her you miss the friendship you once had and then see whether she is more attentive. But you are also changing and maturing. As much as you have relied on Janie in the past, it’s time for you to hold your head up and make new friends who are steadfast and appreciate you as you are. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
Dear Annie: Like “Too Well Endowed in Kansas,” I have struggled for years with the same problem.
I’m 72 years old, and my current doctor is the only one who suggested breast reduction as a way to help with my back, neck and other issues. I figured I was too old, but the doctor said I was a perfect candidate. I had surgery and am loving the results.
— Newfound Freedom in New York
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to [email protected], 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.
— Creators Syndicate Inc.