Dear Annie: It seems impossible for me to mend my relationship with my son.
He is 38, and I am 68. Back when he was 22, he came out of the closet and told us he was gay. It took me nearly two years to accept that, and two years of hardly talking. Finally, I accepted it — with a few years of counseling.
My son and I got along for a while. But a few years ago, Ohio passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage. To me that was a big no-no, because men don’t marry men. I let him know, big-time, that I was against it. But he found someone to officiate the marriage and marry him and his partner. He even got the marriage license. But he didn’t get married through a traditional church.
I told him I would never accept it, and that I hoped his marriage fails. Of course, he didn’t like that at all. Even after my counseling and apologizing, and being sorry for my beliefs, still I cannot change how I feel; nor will he change his beliefs.
I want him to put this one thought aside and agree to disagree. For two years, he and his husband have wanted nothing to do with me at all! He still talks to his mom and his brother, but only because they want no animosity between them.
— Frustrated Dad
Dear Frustrated Dad: If you want to be part of your son’s life, then you’re going to have to accept that he’s gay. You seem to recognize this fact, and I take it you’re still trying to work past your feelings in counseling.
I urge you to keep going to counseling and to keep digging within your heart for a way to get past this. He is your son, and life is short. It would be heartbreaking if you two went the rest of yours without ever speaking again.
Dear Annie: Every year, I see a lot of people stress about buying presents in growing families and families with different styles.
My family has always made Christmas lists (I know, I can already hear the boos and gasps), but if done right, lists are not a sign of greed. My family understands that a list is not a guarantee of getting everything on it. We were raised to be grateful for whatever was given us, whether it was on the list or not. When handled correctly, lists make lives easier.
My in-laws don’t like the idea of a lot of presents on Christmas, especially not for adults. They don’t buy us presents, but because they value experiences, their whole family gets together to bake cookies and treats and sends those out to everyone.
To respect their traditions, I look for activities to give the kids, such as a Build-a-Bear gift certificate or a subscription box for a robot-building kit. Those gifts are the most appreciated for that family because they offer experiences and memories.
So, can we just start listening to each other around this subject? Maybe that way we can spend less time trying to guess the perfect gift for someone and more time talking and enjoying each other and the season.
— Checking My List
Dear Checking My List: It’s hard to believe that it’s already almost time to start talking about holiday shopping, but here we are. My Christmas wish this year is that we all focus on being grateful for the presence of our loved ones rather than worried about the presents.
Annie Lane, a graduate of New York Law School and New York University, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Email questions to email@example.com.