Dear Abby: I cut my father out of my life years ago, after he declared he could not support my decision to adopt three children from a Russian orphanage with my longtime companion. The adoption announcement coincided with my “coming out” to Dad, who is now married to his third wife.
It must have been a lot for him to take in at one time. He told me plainly that he could not support my decision because he could not “understand” it. He has never met our children and does not acknowledge them as his grandchildren.
This year on Father’s Day, I sent him a card and he replied by email that he was glad to hear from me and he hoped for a reconciliation, but was not sure how to go about it. I responded by email that I was cautiously optimistic that we could reignite a respectful relationship. I haven’t heard back from him and I suspect it’s because he saw that I had changed my last name from his to my husband’s, a decision I made after our marriage. My father was not aware that I had gotten married. I think I have overwhelmed him again, which has rendered him speechless. Please advise me on how to proceed.
– Prodigal Son in California
Dear Son: Call your father, tell him you love him and that you would like to schedule a visit with him – but would like to send him some reading material before you do. Then contact PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). The phone number is (202) 467-8180 and you’ll find them on the Internet at www.pflag.org. They will be happy to provide you with literature for your dad to help him “understand.” Frankly, he has my sympathy because before you hit him with the “double whammy,” he didn’t have a clue about who you really are.
Whether your name change overwhelmed him is irrelevant. The ball is now in your court, so if you want to have a hope of a relationship with your father, YOU will have to make the next move.
Brain injury isn’t ‘cool,’ either
Dear Abby: My 13-year-old son is refusing to wear a bicycle helmet because he has decided it’s “uncool.” My husband and I have always worn them, but here in Texas many people don’t. There’s no state law requiring it.
I know how devastating the effects of a head injury can be and I want to prevent my son from getting one. How can I help my teenager see that protecting his brain is more important than looking “cool” to his friends who don’t wear them? My son insists I am …
– An Overprotective Mom
Dear Overprotective Mom: Contact your son’s pediatrician and ask if he or she can facilitate a tour of a rehabilitation facility that treats people with traumatic brain injuries. If that doesn’t convince your son, nothing will.