Dear Annie: I am a 17-year-old girl, and my parents are in the middle of a divorce.
That is not the problem. I am really happy they are divorcing.
The problem is, my mother has been telling everyone that Dad had an affair and that The Other Woman is the cause of the divorce.
This makes things really awkward for me, especially around my friends whose parents know my mom.
Annie, I don’t care if my Dad had an affair, and the truth is, I don’t blame him.
I have sat on the stairs and listened to my parents fight for years. I have heard my dad beg Mom to love him back, to talk to him, to do things with him and be affectionate.
I love my mother, but she is the real reason they are getting divorced.
Dad is now living with his “friend,” and I secretly hope they stay together. I like her.
He is happy and so much more relaxed now. I love being around him and his girlfriend, but of course, I can’t tell anyone this.
Mom has poisoned everyone in the family, making them believe Dad is a horrible person who left her for another woman.
How do I get her to stop saying things that will make people blame my father and feel sorry for Mom?
Dear Me: Neither of your parents should be bad-mouthing the other. It is grossly unfair to you.
Tell your mother to please stop saying terrible things about Dad because you love him and her comments make him an object of derision in your community, which reflects poorly on the entire family.
Then speak to your school counselor and ask for help.
Dear Annie: My son and his beautiful wife, “Marie,” just had their second child.
The entire pregnancy was turbulent, and Marie needed a C-section. My granddaughter was born healthy and wonderful, but I have been in complete shock since.
While Marie was being moved into her hospital room, there was already a line of well-wishers forming outside the door, all of them carrying stuffed animals, little outfits, baby blankets and on and on.
It was almost like a competition, with everyone trying to out-do the other with gifts. I thought at any moment someone would walk in with a pony.
Many were dropping gift bags onto Marie’s stomach, no less, and they were so unbelievably loud.
Although Marie was appreciative and tried to show enthusiasm for the gifts, she was exhausted and in pain. She wanted to hold and feed her new daughter.
Even the nursing staff was having difficulty doing their job.
This was the rudest, most inconsiderate thing I have ever witnessed.
Is this some new trend for friends and relatives to show up with gifts immediately after the birth?
— Please End My Confusion
Dear Confusion: People can be enormously insensitive when visiting a new mother.
Usually, a family member or one of the hospital staff will toss visitors out of the room when there are too many or the chaos is too great.
We are surprised no one did this for Marie and can only assume she was enjoying it more than you thought.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Confused,” whose wife has their mortgage in her name only, even though he helps pay for it.
If his wife will not consider adding him to the mortgage, please, please have her add him as a beneficiary to the mortgage loan.
My late husband had our mortgage in his name only with no beneficiary listed.
Three years later, I am still paying the mortgage and building his credit instead of my own.
When married couples do not have jointly owned property, the death of one can create a huge burden for the surviving spouse.
— Still Attempting To Find a Solution