Ask Auntie Linda, Straight Talk from a Straight Shooter


Auntie Linda

Dear Auntie Linda, my husband and I had four boys, all high-achievers.  We raised them all in church and they all did well in school and participated extracurricular activities.  Three of the four did well and became adults we can be proud of.  Our third son, Evan was always the “wild” one.  Though he did well in school academically, he was always in trouble.  He was invited on vacation with family friends and sneaked alcohol along when he was just thirteen.  I have no idea how he got it since we didn’t have alcohol in our home.  We had to go get him.  All through high school he made opportunities to get in trouble.  He did finally get through college, by the skin of his teeth.  He got several DUIs.  He abused drugs and alcohol until he was recently arrested for the fourth time.  This is breaking our hearts.  Why on earth would a kid who was raised right make such a mess of his life?  We still love him, but don’t expect anything to change. Giving up on Evan

Dear Giving Up, Evan does seemed to have closed every door opened to him.  Who knows what drives people?  Though your heart is breaking, it it time to let Evan do with his life what he will and go on without allowing him to  manipulate you.  He will make it or he won’t, but his history wouldn’t make me expect much good in his future.  Auntie Linda

Dear Auntie Linda, I married young and had a large family right away.  I have always felt inferior to my siblings who both went to college and had impressive careers.  I was a stay at home mother.  My five children are grown and married with children, my husband is retiring soon, and I still feel embarrassed not to have gone to college.  I could take classes now, it would be ridiculous to do it when we are enjoying the freedom to travel and enjoy our retirement.  I do hate to grow old without ever having distinguished myself.  Regrets

Dar Regrets, Raising five children is no small accomplishment, but you might be more satisfied if you worked for a cause you believe in.  There are worlds of volunteer opportunities that are worthwhile and don’t involve a huge commitment.  Auntie Linda

Ask Auntie Linda, Straight Talk from a Straight Shooter


Auntie LindaDear Auntie Linda,  I have two girls, age seven and nine.  Their father and I divorced amicably six years ago when he realized he was gay after several years of marriage and could no longer live the lie.  He moved a couple of hours away and has the children summers and for the Thanksgiving holiday week.  He and his partner share a home where the girls visit frequently.  We are still close and he and his partner always spend Christmases with us so we can all celebrate together.  I remarried four years ago and we all consider ourselves family.  My parents, strict Christians, are livid and believe homosexuals are doomed to go to Hell.  They refuse to have anything to do with Scott and Joey, his partner.  My parents rant against Scott, saying he is a bad influence and the children shouldn’t be around him.  I invited my parents to Christmas with the provision that they not talk or act in a way that would upset our family Christmas.  They are insisting that the children “know the truth.”  How do we handle this?  We have never openly discussed homosexuality. One Big Family

Dear One Big Family, Children need love not contention.  I congratulate you on keeping the girls best interests at heart.  It is your business how you raise your children.  We need to treasure our families, not draw lines.  I am sure it was obvious to the children a long time ago “who loves who.”  You parents are entitled to their beliefs, but don’t need to impose them on others.  We don’t get to decide who and how others love.  Auntie Linda


Dear Auntie Linda,  Steve and I have been friends more than thirty years since we went to first grade together.  He married Helen and we all remained good friends.  Though I dated numerous women over the years, I never settled down.  Last year, when Steve found out he was dying of cancer, he asked me to look after Helen since she’d need help to run their large cattle operation.  Helen is a wonderful woman.  I love her and would like to marry her except for the fact that  I’ve always wanted children of my own.  Helen had a hysterectomy after her second boy was born.  The kids are four and two.  I love the boys dearly, but don’t know if I could ever be satisfied not having my own child.  Helen knows how I feel and would be happy to adopt.  Would I be wrong to go into a marriage if I am not sure?  Hopeful but Worried

Dear Hopeful, Nobody is assured of happiness, even in an apparently perfect situation.  You might marry someone else and still not have children.  If you marry this woman you already love, you will have two, and there is always the chance to adopt.  A baby is just a baby, no matter where it comes from.  Auntie Linda

Ask Auntie Linda, Excellent Advice for the Heartsick.

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Dear Auntie Linda, A man connected to my husband’s family asked us to keep their two-year-old while his pregnant wife was in the hospital, delivering a premature baby. Reluctantly, we agreed, since he said he couldn’t find anyone else.  We were leery of getting involved since the couple was known to have a shady history, but felt we had no choice since the young man was desperate. The child was an angel and we actually enjoyed having him in our home.  Unfortunately, the wife delivered a still-born infant.  Upon discharge, they came by asking us if we’d like to have the little boy forever.  They just weren’t ready for kids.  We were unprepared and asked for a while to think about it.  After a couple of days, they came back over, asking again to take the boy in our home.  We would love to have the child, but are concerned that they will come back for him later when they’ve reconsidered, allowing us time to fall hopelessly in love with him.  We want the child but don’t want our hearts broken.  We aren’t wealthy people.  Legal fees would be a hardship, but would like to try to adopt.  What do we do?  It’s not likely things will go well for this little guy with parents who want to give him away.  Love the baby

Dear Love, I wouldn’t get involved in this situation without legal custody of the child.  You and the child are likely to be involved in a game of tug of war or possibly extortion.  I agree, the situation looks bleak for the child.  Ask the parents to allow you to adopt and surrender their parental rights before you go any further.  If you suspect abuse or neglect, notify Child Protection.  You can easily get in over your head and the child might be an emotional hostage.  Auntie Linda


Dear Auntie Linda, My father-in-law, Ben, is a jerk. He frequently hit my husband during his childhood.  He drinks heavily and smokes in the house.  My mother-in-law, Mavis, is a very nice lady and loves our children dearly.  She has asked that the children, aged three, six, and ten be allowed to stay overnight with her and Ben.  My children have spent the night with my parents at time or two, but we don’t have concerns about discipline, smoking or following the rules at their house.  We just can’t take a chance of having the kids around Ben and don’t want the kids in a smoking home.  How can we be fair to Mavis and protect the children?  Mama

Dear Mama, Your responsibility is to your children.  Tell Mavis that you aren’t comfortable having the kids stay overnight in a smoking home.  That alone is enough reason.  If Masie wants time with them, she can come see them at home or take them to the park.  You are the parent.  Stick with your guns.  Auntie Linda


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Ask Auntie Linda, November 18, 2015

Auntie LindaDear Auntie Linda,  There is no solution for this problem since the die is cast, but I need to vent.  My in-laws have always been very distant and made it clear they don’t care for some of their children or grandchildren.  Before his death, my father-in-law Bob and mother-in-law Louise established a trust for the division of their property.  Louise  encourages her son Bob to disown two of his daughters.  She has told me and Moe she doesn’t want one of our daughters around.  Bob’s wife has been going through Louise’s house for years, accusing the rest of taking valuable antiques.  Believe me, Louise wouldn’t let anybody get away with anything.  We live next door to Louise.  Moe and I take her to church, the grocery store, to the doctor, and everywhere else she goes unless, one of my daughter’s gives us a break.  Moe goes down every morning to cook her breakfast and give her insulin shot.  Last year, when he worked her cattle and sold them for her, she said she’d divide the proceeds between him and one other brother, who didn’t help at all.  It never happened.  Louise is a miserable, divisive person.  She uses us all to her advantage.  She is hinting that everything to my ten-year-grandson, who says he wants to be a farmer, cutting out two children and seven children.  I do hope she makes some effort at fairness, since she has spent her whole manipulating and destroying relationships. Disgusted Daugher-in-Law

Dear Disgusted, Don’t hold your breath.  People are likely to want to hold as much power as long as possible.  She will be able to punish and control as long as her children live depending on how she divides her property.  That is a lot of power.  Auntie Linda


Dear Auntie Linda, I am sixty-four years old. My in-laws have always been a thorn in my side.  I have spent endless days babysitting when my sisters-in-law were sick, had abandoned their families, or just had better things to do. (My husband’s offer, not mine)  His brothers or cousins moved in with us when they fell upon hard times.  My husband often loaned money without consulting me, causing our family to do without.   After my husband died ten years ago, I didn’t bother to keep us with his family, though I have turned down a few requests for loans.  My adult son is obsessed with his father’s memory and family, calling me frequently to update me on their family news and encouraging me to rekindle family relationships, even though he frequently can’t make it to gatherings for our side of the family.  Recently, a sister-in-law invited me to her birthday party, which I attended.  When I told my forty-two year-old-son I was going, he cried, saying he was so happy “the family was getting back together.”  Why on earth would a forty-two-year old man be obsessed with cousins and aunts, while showing little interest in his mother, sisters, and his own children?  Puzzled Mother

Dear Puzzled,  I think you just answered it.  He prefers that side of the family, since he misses his father.  It is likely the conversation focuses on experiences he enjoyed and talk of his father and good times they experienced. It is not likely he was impacted by the impositions you experienced.  Likely, he had a great time if extra kids were in the house.  Auntie Linda