Ask Auntie Linda, Straight Talk from a Straight Shooter

Auntie LindaDear Auntie Linda, I am a sixteen-year old girl. There are four of us children.¬† My parents insist we attend church services with them twice on Sunday and on Wednesday night.¬† If one of them is sick or can’t go, we all still have to go.¬† We have to line up the seats¬†like a bunch of dopes and sit together.¬† I hate going to this crazy church and don’t share their outrageous beliefs.¬† This isn’t even a regular church, my grandpa just stands around in in old store on Sundays and lectures us about how to act and what to wear.¬† It’s mostly about women leading men into sin and “thou shalt not……”¬† I wouldn’t go, but if I stay at home I have to go to church.¬† I love my mother and the little kids, but could do without Dad if I had somewhere else to go.¬† What is a kid supposed to do if their family makes them go to a “nut church.”¬† Hate it!

Dear Hate it!¬† It depends entirely on what kind of “nut” things the church believes.¬† If your church is involved in sexual, psychological, emotional, or physical abuse, this goes beyond the limits of acceptable.¬† No one should be forced to have sex or be suffer abuse.¬† The role of religion is guidance and edification not control.¬† You may have to put up with the churchgoing until you are on your own if there is no abuse involved.¬† If you feel a line is being crossed, talk to someone outside your family or church.¬† Auntie Linda

Dear Auntie Linda, With the Christmas season coming up, I realize again I don’t have normal feelings.¬† I have never felt love and attachment for anyone or anything.¬† I have felt angry if I have been mistreated, but that is a measurable emotion, since it involves breaking a rule.¬† When I see couples together, or people expressing affection toward a child or an animal, I feel mystified.¬† I have no more desire to pet an animal than a brick.¬† I don’t feel sad or lonely; I just feel nothing.¬† I do what is right, but I feel no need to share with anyone.¬† I follow society’s rules, but don’t feel involved.¬† I do a good job at work everyday, eat dinner at the same place every night, watch TV or listen to music.¬† I am pleasant to my neighbors, because it helps life go smoothly, do don’t have any desire to know them.¬† I exercise to stay healthy.¬† When I hear people getting fired up about things, I wish they could be reasonable.¬† Am I the only person who feels this way.¬† Maybe a Machine

Dear Maybe, I am sure you are not.¬† I am glad you aren’t happy and live a good life.¬† Many people don’t do that well.¬† Auntie Linda

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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Rest Your Weary Head: Uplifting Advice for the Heartbroken

victorian angel

Dear Auntie Linda,¬† I am a first-grade teacher in a small town.¬† One of the major problems my students face is hunger.¬† It is not just the children of homeless or jobless people who face hunger on a regular basis.¬† So many working parents simply do not make enough to provide¬†sufficient food for their families.¬† If they qualify for free lunch program, at least they get that meal, but come to school hungry and go home in the afternoon to families who can’t consistently provide enough food, not to mention, nutritious food.¬† If families qualify for food assistance, they will very likely run out before the end of the month.¬† Churches and food pantries help, but they are facing funding issues as well.¬† I see hunger in children’s faces every day.¬† I keep a supply of low cost, nutritious snacks I can¬†slip to¬†a hungry child¬†on the sly, but my budget is limited and I usually run out before my monthly payday.¬† Friday afternoons toward the end of the month fill me with dread.¬† It breaks my heart to see little ones going out who will miss¬†their milk and school lunch over the weekend.¬† I encourage those of your readers who can afford it to contribute packets of nutritious snacks to your school.¬† It would help little guys so much if teachers could make an opportunity to pass them out to little ones who can’t learn because they are hungry.¬† Teaching the Hungry

Dear Teaching,  It is a wonderful idea to ask parents or those in the community who can to contribute.  It would be easy enough to have a snack drive or ask parents to add a packet of snacks to their school supply list, if they could afford to do so.  This would also be an excellent community service project.  Maybe the idea will catch on if you ask your school to promote it.  Auntie Linda

Dear Auntie Linda, My only sister has one child, a nine-year-old daughter, who is extremely spoiled.¬† My husband has always said he’d “love to straighten her out.”¬† Granted, Megan is a brat.¬† She whines, is selfish, and has a smart mouth.¬† Last week Annie called asking to speak to Bill.¬† She told him she and her husband have a chance to go to Paris and asked if Megan could stay with us for two weeks.¬† I am not surprised she asked him.¬† She knows he is domineering and knew¬†it was her best shot, knowing I’d have to talk to him about it anyway.¬† He’d agreed and it was set up before he hung up.¬† Bill is not a patient man.¬† He angers quickly and acts before he thinks.¬† I know having Megan here will be a disaster.¬† Our kids tiptoe around him, but Megan will be wide open, since she’s never been disciplined.¬† She doesn’t even flush the toilet when she’s done.¬† Bill looks at this like a project.¬† He is going to straighten her out.¬† How in the world do I get out of this?¬† Annie’s Sister

Dear Sister.¬† Call Annie and tell her your home is not a fit place for Megan.¬† While you are at it, look hard at your situation.¬† It doesn’t sound like your home is a safe place for your children either.¬† Children have a right to grow up free of fear.¬† They deserve better.¬† Auntie Linda

Rest Your Weary Head: Uplifting Advice for the Heartbroken

Auntie LindaNovember 23, 2015

Dear Auntie Linda,¬†¬†Robert and I divorced when our kids were two and three¬†and he left me for a¬†doctor¬†in his medical practice.¬† We shared joint custody till two years ago, when I went out of town on vacation.¬†¬†He moved across the country¬†to his old home town where his father is a judge and his brother a family practice lawyer.¬†Filing for custody there¬†on grounds of¬†abuse since¬†the¬†three-year-old¬†sustained a broken arm while in my care.¬†¬†Joey had¬†fallen off¬†the swing at daycare.¬† They called me and I took him to the ER.¬†The move and custody action¬†were a done deal by the time I found out. I¬†ended up with¬†only supervised visitation.¬† I’ve been able to meet them at the park twice and his grandmother invited me to visit them at her house the last two visits, since she genuinely loves the children and feels they need a relationship with me.¬† She holds the family purse strings and Robert dares not oppose her.

Since this happened, I¬†worry about losing my¬†relationship with the children, since I can’t afford the travel expense more than twice a year.¬†¬†The expense is a challenge for me on a teacher’s salary.¬† Joey still remembers me, but Susie doesn’t remember living with me, since she was so little.¬† I am just the Mommy who visits at Grandma’s house and brings presents.¬†¬†I applied for a teaching position there, thinking I could see the children more often, but Robert got word of it and blocked me through friends at the schoolboard.

I feel hopeless, but Robert’s grandmother does allow me to send the children gifts and cards to her home.¬† She allows me to visit with them by phone and video.¬† What can I do to unravel this mess when I am buffaloed by a powerful family?¬† Cut Out of Children’s Lives

Dear Cut Out,  In view of this situation, there may not be a lot you can do.  Thank goodness, Grandma wants to children to have a relationship with you.  Hang in there.  Keep visiting as often as possible.  Children want and need both parents.  One day, the situation will turn around, especially if the children ask after you.  Hopefully, their father will bow to their requests when they can express themselves.  Good luck.  Auntie Linda


Dear Auntie Linda, My son teenage son died three years ago.¬† In addition to the grieving, I have become isolated.¬† People seem to think death is contagious.¬† Many of my friends change the subject if I bring his name up in conversation.¬† It’s not like I dwell on¬†my loss¬†when I am in a group, but if friends are touching on a topic that relates to him, I would like to be able to mention him in passing, such as passing on a funny story.¬† Just because he died, doesn’t mean he never existed.¬† Please pass on to your readers that they shouldn’t avoid people who have suffered a loss.¬† You don’t have to duck¬†around to keep from saying the wrong thing.¬† You don’t have to say anything.¬† A kind look or a warm hug means the world.¬† I know you are sorry for my loss.¬†Just don’t cut me out because your are uncomfortable.¬† If you want to talk about their lost family, just ask if it makes them uncomfortable.¬† They might be grateful.¬† Let them drive the conversation and just listen.¬† Miss My Boy

Dear Miss, You have given some good advice that could help a lot of people.¬† I’ll bet your boy was something special.¬† Auntie Linda

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Auntie Linda¬†Dear Auntie Linda,¬† I have two children thirteen and eleven.¬† My ex and I have been divorced four years and have shared custody of the children with no problems ever since.¬†¬† I recently remarried and am pregnant.¬† My new husband Ron was just offered a great job and wants to move across the country, meaning I would only be able to see my children summers, holidays and an occasional long weekend.¬† I don’t want to leave the older children, but¬†this is an opportunity of a lifetime for Ron.¬†I worry Ron will blame me if he misses out on this opportunity.¬† Would it be wrong to ask Ron to pass up this chance?¬† Torn Mama

Dear Mama, There is no one¬†and only opportunity¬†for anyone.¬† It won’t ruin a person’s life to pass¬†up an opportunity since they are most often made, not found.¬† You and Ron can make choices.¬† The children can’t.¬† I would never encourage a parent to¬†choose to¬†accept a lesser¬†role in their children’s lives to advance a career.¬† Yours and Ron’s first responsibility¬†is to the children, all of them.¬† Ron knew you had children when you married.¬† You have the rest of your lives to focus on other things.¬† Auntie Linda


Dear Auntie Linda, I am fifty-two, divorced, and have a good job, but my kids are ruining my life.¬† My¬†thirty-year-old¬†son works, but won’t move out of the house, though I have repeatedly told him he¬†and¬†the¬†three big dogs who have ruined my furniture have to go.¬† My younger son is twenty-four and has moved his girlfriend and their two children in.¬† He works, but doesn’t help with the bills, since they need the money for pot. His¬†girlfriend doesn’t take care¬†of the kids are clean up behind them.¬† My daughter moved¬†away with her boyfriend and left¬†her nine-year-old daughter, Vessie¬†with me.¬† I don’t want¬†to throw Vessie¬†out, but the rest need to go.¬† How can I get grown kids out of the house when they just refuse to go?¬† Flop House Mama

Dear Floppie Mama,¬† It’s good those kids aren’t paying rent.¬† Since they aren’t tenants, they have no legal status.¬† If you are serious about wanting them out, give them a date and tell them you will call the police if they don’t move.

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

Ask Auntie Linda, November17, 2015

Auntie Linda

Dear Auntie Linda, I have visited Great-Aunt Virgie every summer since I was a child.¬† She still lives alone in the little mountain valley cabin where she raised¬†her family.¬† The cabin needs a lot of work or it will fall down soon.¬† She is now eighty-six.¬† Summer before last, we noticed she was slipping a little and¬†called us by the wrong names a lot.¬† Our last visit was very worrisome, though she¬†never left¬†her stove on or appeared to get lost.¬† She is getting paranoid, thinking her neighbor of forty years is trying to steal her tobacco lease and¬†did try to cook some sausage that was off.¬† When we went upstairs to go to bed, mice had gotten into the upstairs bedrooms and the beds were covered in rat pellets.¬† A window had fallen out and the rugs had molded.¬† My husband repaired the window, leaky toilet, porch steps, put a new gas line on her stove.¬† Hers was leaking and she was turning it off at the wall¬†every time she got through cooking.¬†¬†¬†We cleaned the house¬†from end to end, outfitting the all the beds in fresh bedding.¬† She wouldn’t let us throw the moldy rugs, so we took them out, beat them, and sprayed with disinfectant.¬† My husband did some much needed plumbing repairs in the kitchen.¬† We worked non-stop for two weeks.

We talked to my cousin.¬† He has since taken her to live with him and his wife.¬† Great-Aunt Virgie wrote us recently, letting us know Cousin Robert will bring her back home whenever we are ready to visit.¬† We¬†never intend¬†to go back there after that last miserable trip.¬† We told her we’d get a room near Cousin Robert and visit, but she is insistent.¬† How do we handle this?¬† We don’t want to go to her house again.¬† It’s sure to be in worse shape if she’s been gone for months.¬†¬†Reluctant Guest

Dear Reluctant, Talk to Cousin Robert.¬† Let him know you won’t make it to her cabin this summer, but would like to get a room and visit her there in his town.¬† Once you’ve made sure he knows the plan, you can write and let her know you can only stay a couple of days and will take a room near them.¬† Don’t let Cousin Robert mess you up.¬† He might want you to do more repairs.¬† Auntie Linda


Dear Auntie Linda,¬† I moved in with a friend while I was still in high school.¬† My mother is toxic and my father has a serious brain-injury.¬† I moved out because his behavior was inappropriate.¬† He had no sexual-inhibitions and grabs any girl or woman within reach.¬† He said whatever crossed his mind.¬† Even though he was a wonderful father before his accident, that man is gone.¬† Life with him was way too stressful.¬† I had to leave to save my sanity.¬† My wedding is coming up soon.¬† I want a story-book wedding.¬† My mother wants to reconcile.¬† I don’t want her or my father anywhere near me.¬† My mother is threatening to show up with my father, saying it is her right as a mother.¬† I haven’t seen her or my father in six years, though my cousins say nothing has changed.¬† My mother is still horrible, behaving like a total witch when she is crossed and my father is no better than when I fled home.¬† My life has been so much better without any contact.¬† I can’t go back into that hell and don’t want my wedding ruined.¬† Am I horrible to be planning to leave them out.¬† What do I do?¬† Orphan By Choice

Dear Orphan,  If you fear your mother will intrude bringing your father, maybe you should consider having a destination wedding with only a few guests you can trust not to break your confidence.  No one has to know your plans.  People do that all the time.  Auntie Linda