Ask Amy: Father-daughter exile cries out for detente

January 13, 2013

DEAR AMY: Many years ago my family lived in a communist country. My wife and I faced many challenges to come to the United States.

After coming here, our main goal was the well-being of our daughter. She got a college degree and is now a successful professional, married and with a daughter of her own.

My wife died 25 years ago. I live alone on the West Coast. My daughter lives in the Northeast.

After I retired, like millions of elderly people I wanted to relocate close to my only child and grandchild. I don’t need financial help; my only desire is to see them at least once a month.

Unfortunately, my daughter does not want me to live close to her or even to visit them (I told her that I will stay in a hotel) because my presence “makes her nervous.”

I asked many times what are the things she does not like and expressed readiness to correct my behavior. No answer from her. I have never interfered in her life. She wrote that she is grateful to me for what I did raising her and that she loves me (but does not want to see me). I am devastated. What should I do? -- Lonely

DEAR LONELY: In a way, your daughter has chosen exile from her home; there may be something about this impulse that you understand (more than you realize). If you want to visit her, then you should plan a trip to her area and let her know several days ahead of time that you will be in town and would like to see her.

This would take some bravery on your part, but I do believe that even if this does not result in a reconciliation, you would feel better knowing that you tried. Give her the opportunity to express herself and be open to talking, even if you don’t like what you hear.

Beyond that, you should do your utmost to build a life for yourself wherever you want to live. Make an effort to join organizations, develop friendships with people your own age and reach out to people from your home country who live in the States (if you would feel comfortable).

DEAR AMY: I’m responding to the issue of texting while at a social gathering. The reason this is rude is because of the message it conveys: “Your gathering isn’t worthy of my whole attention.”

The host is expending effort and expense to stage a worthwhile event, and the gracious guest should convey (in word and deed) that there is no place he or she would rather be.

What should a host do when a guest is sitting on the sofa texting? Option one is ignore it but also never invite the person back. Option two is to attempt to draw the guest into conversation with others. Option three is to sidle up to the guest and say, “I’m sorry you aren’t able to be here for the party.” If the guest doesn’t correct his or her behavior, do not invite the person back.

The most important gift a guest can give a host is his or her genuine presence. That is what the guest is agreeing to provide when the invitation is accepted. -- Present and Accountable

DEAR PRESENT: I absolutely agree. Thank you.

DEAR AMY: I am responding to your answer to “PO’d Husband,” who wrote concerning his wife not being able to resist the candies in her sightline at work.

I think your response was wrong and insensitive. There is research about food as an addiction, some of it done at Yale, where it has been found that flour and sugar are as addictive as alcohol and drugs.

I would have hoped you would know this and given a more “medical” and appropriate response. -- Lisa

DEAR LISA: Unlike alcohol and drugs, which are not necessary for human consumption, each of us has to struggle to control ourselves around the various “addictive” foods we encounter, because we all have to eat in order to live. I don’t believe in legislating against every conceivable personal choice in the workplace.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2013 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

SECTION: {section=lifestyle, subsection=style}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, childrenitemsperpage=3, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, includesorts=true, includeheader=true, defaulttab=all, includeverifiedcommenters=true, includerecommend=true, maxitemstop=3, includereport=true, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: {allow_comments=true, allow_photos=false, allow_videos=false, comments_period=14, comments_source=washpost.com, default_sort=, default_tab=, display_comments=true, is_ugc_gallery=false, max_items_to_display=15, max_items_to_display_top=3, moderation_required=false, stream_id=}!!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, childrenitemsperpage=3, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, includesorts=true, includeheader=true, defaulttab=all, includeverifiedcommenters=true, includerecommend=true, maxitemstop=3, includereport=true, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=lifestyle, subsection=style}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, childrenitemsperpage=3, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, includesorts=true, includeheader=true, defaulttab=all, includeverifiedcommenters=true, includerecommend=true, maxitemstop=3, includereport=true, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: {allow_comments=true, allow_photos=false, allow_videos=false, comments_period=14, comments_source=washpost.com, default_sort=, default_tab=, display_comments=true, is_ugc_gallery=false, max_items_to_display=15, max_items_to_display_top=3, moderation_required=false, stream_id=}!!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, childrenitemsperpage=3, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, includesorts=true, includeheader=true, defaulttab=all, includeverifiedcommenters=true, includerecommend=true, maxitemstop=3, includereport=true, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Show Comments
Most Read Lifestyle