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Good old snail mail brings cheer

Dear Annie: My young adult daughter recently had a milestone birthday, so I asked friends and family to send a birthday card to her. She received many cards. I was very grateful to the people who sent them.

In these days of COVID-19, a divided nation and natural disasters, a card can really brighten a person’s day. Plus, I am very proud of my daughter. She sent every one of the people she received a card from a thank-you note, saying how much the card meant to her. I feel like I raised my daughter right, with good manners.

So, just wanted to say: Send a card to someone you love. They will truly appreciate it. And if you receive a card, tell them thank you for thinking of you. Let’s support each other. — Observation

Dear Observation: I love the idea of brightening someone’s day with a card. There are other small things we can do, such as buying the person in front of you a coffee, giving genuine compliments freely and even just picking up the phone and calling a loved one. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is wasted. In fact, these acts produce a ripple effect, creating more compassionate and caring human beings taking care of one another.

Dear Annie: My oldest son and I always had a close relationship. I was a single parent since he was 11.

Once he married and had children, he became quite distant and overprotective of his children. It is very hard to get to spend time with him or his family, and when we can, it’s for a structured one-hour time limit. When his first child was born, we were told we could schedule a 30-minute appointment at the hospital and were told the times. Because of this time restriction, my parents didn’t get to go at all since their flight home was in the afternoon.

I hardly know his kids, and yet I am close and in frequent contact with my daughter and her family.

If we call or text my son, he replies days later, if at all. He is this way to the whole family, not just me. His girls are 1 and 5. I have only babysat the 5-year-old for two hours once at their home. He says he doesn’t trust that I will follow all his instructions to the letter with the kids.

What can I do to improve this and to understand? — Coping With a Changed Son

Dear Coping: I’m sorry you are being shut out of your son’s and grandchildren’s lives. Having love to give and having someone push away that love is painful. The saddest part is that your granddaughters don’t have the gift of a loving grandparent.

You don’t know what is going on behind the closed doors of your son’s marriage. His lack of trust in your ability to follow his rules and instructions shows incredible rigidity. While rules are important, flexibility is equally important, and your son fails to see this. Remind yourself of the old maxim “A daughter is a daughter for life, while a son is a son until he gets a wife.”

Just continue to be kind and appreciate the time you do get to spend with them. As far as what happened in the hospital five years ago, you have to let that go. Holding grudges will create a deeper divide in your family.

(Lane is a columnist with Creators Syndicate.)

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