Dear Annie: We were in the same situation as Divided Family, anticipating an eight-hour drive to New Orleans for a family wedding we really wanted to attend. We decided not to go because of the pandemic but sent not only the usual wedding gift but also the money we would have spent on the trip there.
That clearly showed the bride and groom how much we wanted to be with them, and everybody ended up as happy as they could be under the circumstances.
— Marriage More Important Than Wedding
Dear Marriage More Important Than Wedding: There are no truer words. While a beautiful wedding is always very nice to celebrate the love between two people, it is the marriage that really counts. I love your generosity and wisdom! Thanks for sharing it.
Dear Annie: My in-laws are planning on taking care of our two young children when I go into labor. However, my mother-in-law has recently tossed caution to the wind and resumed her normal social routines, including hosting multiple parties over the holiday weekend.
My biggest fear is my children will be exposed to the coronavirus, become asymptomatic and risk infecting our newborn, after my husband and I worked so hard to keep the family healthy. We need the assistance from his parents, but I also don’t feel it is my place to dictate how my mother-in-law lives during this unprecedented time.
— Nervous and Pregnant
Dear Nervous and Pregnant: Your fear is very understandable. It’s time to have an intervention with your mother-in-law. Bring your husband and father-in-law into the conversation. Explain your concerns; remind her it is only temporary; and let her know you would really like her to take COVID seriously, for your sake and the sake of her unborn grandchild.
Dear Annie: My son is 52 years old. He is a good person but an alcoholic. He followed me to Florida nine years ago. I spent thousands of dollars to get him on his feet. I ended up broke trying to help him. He has since been fired from three jobs.
I kicked him out five years ago. He managed to get his own place and survive, but recently, he was fired again. He started another job and was fired after only three weeks. He has been in and out of rehab and the hospital frequently.
My question is: Am I wrong to not let him move back in with me? I have told him no, I can’t afford to help him.
— Mother of an Alcoholic
Dear Mother of an Alcoholic: You are not wrong. In fact, you are giving him the greatest gift you can give him, independence. Even if you could afford to help him, he needs to help himself and come to that conclusion on his own.
Remember you can lead a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink. He has to want it for himself.
Continue suggesting Alcoholics Anonymous or other alcohol treatment programs to get him into something that works.
Annie Lane, a graduate of New York Law School and New York University, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.