Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 11 years. We have three young children and a great relationship.
We recently decided to move from Boston to Georgia. My husband, children and I believe it is the right choice. The problem is my mother-in-law. Right now, we live within a mile of her. She is devastated that we are moving and is blaming me. She says I am taking her son away from her and that we are making a big mistake. When I pointed out the exciting professional and personal opportunities available to us, she said we are being rash.
Our decision is the product of much discussion and analysis over the past two years. Others have not been privy to those conversations, so I understand why my mother-in-law thinks we are rushing things. But when I explain, it falls on deaf ears.
Is there any way to get my mother-in-law to focus less on how this affects her and more on the positive impact it will have on her son and grandchildren? I worry the move will drive a permanent wedge between us. It’s hard for my husband because she is framing it as a choice between his wife and his mother. — Ready To Go in the Northeast
Dear Ready: For 11 years, your mother-in-law has had her son and grandchildren within walking distance. Please try to understand that the move is not only a shock to her, it is breaking her heart. And while you see opportunity, she sees uncertainty. If your husband had been offered a terrific job in Georgia, she might be more accepting. Your husband should be the one to talk to his mother about this decision. Don’t argue with her. Simply reassure her repeatedly that you will remain as close as possible, that you will visit as often as you can and welcome her to your new home, and that the kids will Skype or FaceTime with her daily so she can see them. It will take her a while to get used to the idea, and she will always miss you, but things will eventually settle down. Hang in there.
Dear Annie: I am a former Catholic. In my 20s, I left the church and eventually admitted to myself that I am an atheist. Except for those who share or respect my convictions, my relatives and friends don’t know this.
The problem is, I get many emails of a religious nature with the request that I forward them to others. I take them in the spirit in which they are offered, but I can’t support a philosophy I don’t believe in. So far, I have resorted to deleting the religious part and forwarding the rest of the message, or I have sent the email back to the senders only.
It grieves me to resort to subterfuge, but I do not want to alienate the senders, especially my relatives. I don’t have many left. — Brooklyn
Dear Brooklyn: You are taking these emails way too seriously. You are under no obligation to pass along what most people consider spam. Your religious beliefs or lack of them are no one’s business. Forward what you like, ignore what you don’t, return to sender or do anything else that clears your inbox and doesn’t anger the relatives.
Dear Annie: “Sister Wives in Kentucky” said her ex-husband’s third wife shared her taste in gifts, wrapping paper and kitchen decor. She wondered whether there are others like her.
I live in Kansas, and my best friend lives in Massachusetts. We met 10 years ago on an Alaskan cruise. We discovered that we use the same shampoo, toothpaste, soap and hairdryer, read the same authors, love the same TV shows and generally know what the other is thinking.
My mother passed away the year before that cruise, and I believe with all my heart that Mom set it up for us to meet. — S.
“Annie’s Mailbox” is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2017. To find out more about Classic Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.