February 20, 2018

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Opinion

Return of father presents greater mystery

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My mom dragged us from one small town to another all over Manitoba and Saskatchewan. She could always find work cleaning houses because she was so good at it and charming, and word quickly spread.

Both my sister and I got married young the first time, and our mother had drummed it into us to marry guys who were older and could be good providers. We didn’t know our father — he never came by, that I know of. Now my sister and I are both on our second marriages, with kids, and our father has suddenly come back into our lives. We both met him over Christmas and we were surprised at what a nice guy he turned out to be. He was very charming. He apologized profusely for abandoning us and begged to be part of our lives now.

My sister was taken in by his charm, but I was not. She wonders why I’m being so hard-hearted, but I’m the older one who had to fill in as a second parent for our missing-in-action dad. He says he would like to make it up to us, by at least trying to be a good grandfather to our children. His wife seems nice enough, but I have an anger so deep in my soul I can barely stop from telling him to get lost for good. What do you think?

— Angry Older Sister, West of Winnipeg

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Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My mom dragged us from one small town to another all over Manitoba and Saskatchewan. She could always find work cleaning houses because she was so good at it and charming, and word quickly spread.

Both my sister and I got married young the first time, and our mother had drummed it into us to marry guys who were older and could be good providers. We didn’t know our father — he never came by, that I know of. Now my sister and I are both on our second marriages, with kids, and our father has suddenly come back into our lives. We both met him over Christmas and we were surprised at what a nice guy he turned out to be. He was very charming. He apologized profusely for abandoning us and begged to be part of our lives now.

My sister was taken in by his charm, but I was not. She wonders why I’m being so hard-hearted, but I’m the older one who had to fill in as a second parent for our missing-in-action dad. He says he would like to make it up to us, by at least trying to be a good grandfather to our children. His wife seems nice enough, but I have an anger so deep in my soul I can barely stop from telling him to get lost for good. What do you think?

— Angry Older Sister, West of Winnipeg

Dear Angry Older Sister: What was your mother running from? You and your sister have to start with a visit to your mother armed with questions for her. She needs to be open and honest right now. Was she hiding from him, or hiding you kids from him? Did she forbid him to come near, or did he leave her? Were either of them involved with other people sexually or romantically when they split? Was it a particularly bitter fight? Was there an addiction problem? Violence? Sexual interference with you little kids? What?

There are mysteries that need to be solved in order for you and your children to allow your father to waltz back into your lives. Tell him that’s what it will take. If he thinks his profuse apologies were enough, he’ll have to think again. You can’t broker a peace between him and your families without whole family counselling.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I met a strange woman on the bus. She sat on a side bench and I was on the first regular bench. She looked at me and started telling me things about myself. I thought she must be a psychic. It turns out she was an old neighbour. She gave me her name, phone number and address to give to my mother. Then she got off the bus in our old neighbourhood, and I continued on.

When I told my mother about this and gave her the phone number and address, she looked guilty. She said she hadn’t been a good neighbour and she didn’t deserve this woman’s friendship. I asked her what had happened and she said the lady reached out to her when my mom had lost her job and was in financial need, and gave her some money ($200) anonymously in an envelope in the mailbox with a card that said, "I hope this will help."

Mom said she knew who had left the money, but she needed it so desperately at the time, she kept it and it helped pay the rent that month. But she said she was so embarrassed, and she couldn’t pay it back, so she didn’t speak to the woman again. Mom remarried soon after that. What should be done here?

— Want To Advise Her, Southdale

Dear Want To Advise Her: Clearly there are no hard feelings on the gift-giver’s part and she hopes your mom is doing well, and maybe wants to hear about it and feel good abut what she did. Since you have the contact information, your mom could write a nice card to the lady, thank her for her gift in the past and say that things worked out for her. If your mom is in good shape financially and wants to return the $200, she could do that, but I think the former neighbour would feel embarrassed. A gift is a gift, not a loan, but this certainly is a chance for your mom to send a pretty card and feel good about it.

Please send your questions and comments to lovecoach@hotmail.com or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg R2X 3B6.

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