'Tis the Season for Setting Boundaries
Dear Annie: I have read the "Ask Ann Landers" column and now the "Dear Annie" column since I was a little girl, and I am writing to you at age 66. I always wanted to write into the column but never did.
But the recent letters about families feeling obligated to spend Christmas together, even when they live far apart, gives me a unique opportunity to brag about how my mother handled the situation. This is too good an opportunity to pass up.
My mother was caught up in going to my father's mom's and sister's for Christmas. I don't know how she stood up to my dad, who was most certainly "large and in charge," but one year, we went to midnight Mass and woke up later and opened our simple but wonderful gifts in the morning.
I was 6 years old and loved every Christmas under our roof. All the trouble our kids go through to travel back and forth is insane. The expense is only one drawback. Parents, talk to your children. Old and young. Christmas should be at home, and travel can be any other day of that great holiday week. Thanks, Annie, for bringing this up early in the season. -- Boundaries
Dear Boundaries: Setting clear and healthy boundaries with friends and family is beneficial for everyone involved. It helps avoid resentment and anger. When you set boundaries, as your mother did, you let everyone know exactly what you would like so they can then make their own boundaries. Communication is key to having successful family time during the holidays, or any day for that matter.
Dear Annie: I am writing this just before Veterans Day, and I know I am late, but I hope you can print it sometime in the future.
My two brothers served in Vietnam in the late '60s. It was bad, but they never let on to my parents how bad it was. Dad had served during World War II and was proud of them, as was Mom.
I was in high school at the time and leaning toward the antiwar movement. I never doubted their patriotism and willingness to serve in a questionable war. One was wounded twice and received two Purple Hearts. He never complained and still carries shrapnel to this day. Both did two tours and came home knowing they did their duty.
I was antiwar, but I loved my brothers, and we were thrilled when they got home. I wanted to thank them for their service all those years ago, but I never did. I'm sure I am not the only one who failed in that. In hindsight, it was a wasteful war, as so many are, but they answered the call, and I love them for it.
One has a birthday on Veterans Day, and I hope he and all the veterans accept this little brother's apology and thanks for serving this country honorably. It's never too late to say thanks and I'm proud of your service. -- A Proud Little Brother
Dear Proud Little Brother: Your letter will print well after Veterans Day, but every day can be a day to honor the great servicemen and women who serve our country.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.