Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dear Prudie...

Yesterday, I posted a letter from Dear Abby's column.  Today, I want to post a letter from today's Dear Prudie column.  I think Prudie got this one right.  This woman's dad was nice enough to give her and her sisters money to buy their own homes and tries to stay involved in his daughter's life.  Yet she's pissed that he's found love with another woman... and even though the other woman has two nice teens and cares enough to make arrangements to see her step grandchildren, she's still resentful.

I notice she claims to like her father's wife, but also says she's had this person "shoved" into her life.  I would expect that reaction from a teenager, not a woman in her 30s.  It's really a very selfish attitude, particularly since she admits her dad's wife isn't a bad person.  Her dad obviously loves his wife and her kids... and his first wife left him.  It's not fair to expect him to live alone for the rest of his life, especially if he loves his second wife.  I'm sure if her marriage ever fails, she'll feel free to find a new love.  Why shouldn't her dad?

I guess I can understand how, on a very base level, this woman is so bitter about her father moving on with someone else.  But on a higher level, I think she's a fool to not see how fortunate she is that he's happy and not spending his golden years alone.  If she's really feeling "done" with her father, I hope she's also given some thought to how she'll feel when he's not around anymore... and how much her kids will miss out if she stops letting them spend time with him.

Dear Prudence, 

My husband and I are in our late 30s and I am lucky to be able to raise our three young children full-time. My father gave each of his three daughters money to buy our homes as wedding gifts. Although my mom left him when I was in my teens, we all managed to spend holidays together and life was pretty darn perfect. Five years ago he met a woman with two teenagers, fell in love and remarried. I couldn't stomach being around her and her children in the beginning. But I have accepted that I have had this person shoved into my life and have come to like her. I hate to admit it, but her children are good kids. But it sickens me to see this happy little family living in my childhood home, and I refuse to visit. They take my three girls to dinner or movies once a week, but it’s my father’s wife who calls to make the plans. I’ve decided unless my father asks, I will refuse to respond. My sister says I should be glad that at almost 70 years old he is happy, and to cut them some slack. But this is eating me up and I am getting to the point where I am honestly done with my father. How do I get through to him?

—Secretly Seething

Dear Seething,

The question really is how your sister can get through to you. You have a wonderful life, yet you’re eaten up with resentment that your father has also made one for himself. Not only that, these newcomers have expanded the universe of people who embrace you and your children. The best I can offer is this literary assignment. Read the poem “In the Desert” by Stephen Crane and reflect on whether you really want to be this creature:

I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it
“Because it is bitter,
“And because it is my heart.”

2 comments:

  1. The woman who wrote to prudence has some serious problems. Even had the father's new wife been a home-wrecker (which isn't necessarily a fair load to put on anyone, male or female, since the person who was married, not the third party, was the one who made the vows to a spouse, but that's irrelevant in this case) eventually there comes a time to get over it in my opinion. When the father did nothing wrong, however, but just eventually moved on and put his life back together, the author of the letter comes across as incredibly selfish. What's her father supposed to do? crawl into a cardboard box and stay there until one of his married daughtres has some need or use for him?agree that prudie got it right.

    My aunt's sister has a situation similar to this. Their father was a loyal husband to their mother all through their marriage, and took wonderful care of her through her battle with ovarian cancer, which she eventually lost. Three times he's been engaged, and each time my aunt's sister' two sisters have scared the fiancees off. if I were their father, I would cut the other two sisters off and get on with my life without them, but he won't.

    I used to read prudence faithfully, but Ihaven't been reading Prudence or anything else except textbooks recently. Once finals are history, I'll start again. Ann Landers' (Eppie Lederer's) daughter used to write the "Dear Prudence" column, but I think she stopped seven or eight years ago.

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  2. Unfortunately, I think that woman's attitude is pretty common when it comes to fathers who get remarried. I rarely hear anyone begrudge a woman for moving on and remarrying, but when a man does it, he's suddenly a scumbag. It seems like daughters have more of a problem with their father remarrying than sons do.

    Seems like Prudie is now written by Emily Yoffe, who is a Washington, DC based journalist. I read her book, "What The Dog Did", because she adopted her beagle from BREW (which is where our first three beagle rescues came from).

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