My daughter, "Mara," now 27, recently married a wonderful young man. After they had dated for a few years, she moved to his state of residence and attended graduate school there. It became their home.
When they come to visit us for a weekend, Mara constantly makes plans to see her old high school and college friends, get her hair done at her favorite salon, or attend someone's birthday party, wedding or bridal shower. In the 48 hours they're here, we see them less than four hours.
I have tried asking Mara not to text while she's talking to me, or if we could plan something for just the four of us. Am I wrong to expect a little quality time with my daughter and her husband? I feel neglected and sometimes wish they hadn't come at all. What do you think?
- Second Banana in Pennsylvania
DEAR SECOND BANANA: Clear the air with your daughter and ask her to block out some quality time with you and your husband during her visits. You're not being neglected; you are being taken for granted and probably being treated the way she has always treated you.
Try this: The next time she calls to say she's coming in for a visit, tell her it isn't convenient because you have already made other plans. If you're not quite as available, Mara may wake up to the fact that you and her dad won't be around forever.
DEAR ABBY: My parents moved to Florida 10 years ago. The rest of my family lives more than four hours away. We are not close to my husband's family, but we do have my friends, whom we talk to often.
The holidays are approaching, and I dread them because we have nowhere to go. I have tried asking people what they're doing and mentioning that we aren't doing anything, but they don't get the hint that we'd like to be invited to their home. I would be happy to bring a dish or two - or even cook the whole meal if it meant we wouldn't have to be alone.
What can I do? For me, the holidays are so depressing. Please help. I can't face another lonely holiday.
- Lonely in Cedar Rapids
DEAR LONELY: How about hosting a holiday feast at your own home? Invite your friends and ask them to bring a potluck dish.
And by the way, the surest cure for the holiday blues is to do something for someone else. This year that might include stopping by a rest home and delivering a batch of holiday cookies, or helping out at a shelter. I guarantee that if you do, you'll be too busy to be lonely, and by the time you leave, you'll be counting your blessings.
DEAR ABBY: My landlord is a nudist. When my friends drop by to visit late at night, they have sometimes seen him outside in the nude and were freaked out by it. My boyfriend is also uncomfortable with it.
I don't know how to confront my landlord. He's the best one I ever had, and I'm just a tenant. How should I address this? I don't want to have to move out.
- Challenged in Houston
DEAR CHALLENGED: Ask your friends not to drop by without calling first. And when you know someone will be coming over, ask your landlord to please cover up because his nudity is shocking to some of your visitors. You do not have to be confrontational. If he's as nice as you say he is, he will accommodate you. *