Author: The Elderly Aunt

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Hey Elderly Aunt, is my adult daughter pushing me away?

Hi Elderly Aunt, I’ve really enjoyed reading your responses to so many varied questions. And while I didn’t think I’d ever be writing one myself, here I am in a bit of a quandary. I am a single lady of a certain age, long divorced with one adult daughter. She and I have enjoyed a close relationship since she moved back to the Valley after college several years ago. We would meet up for lunch or coffee almost every week and text frequently in between visits. But in recent weeks, she’s either been unable to meet up or had to cancel our lunches and has been slow to text in response. I have asked if everything’s okay. She says she’s just been busy. But I can’t help but notice a chill in her voice. She seems reluctant to tell me many details of what’s happening in her life, and I’m trying not to sound like I’m prying. I remember reading in one of your past responses that you’re a mother of an adult daughter. Any advice for a fellow mom who just wants to restore and maintain a healthy relationship with her daughter?

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Hey Elderly Aunt, how do I know if I’m really a cat person?

Elderly Aunt: I just adopted a cat two months ago. She’s a friendly cat. She gets on my lap and she seems to like being around me. But since I brought her home, she’s had a series of health problems requiring two rather pricey vet visits (three trips in all), and she’s scratched up my couch and stuffed chair. I know having pets are a lot of work and being responsible for them costs money, but the last two months have already busted my budget, which was precarious to begin with. Because I adopted this cat, am I morally obligated to keep her even if it means going into debt? Or does doing the best thing for both of us mean accepting that this arrangement isn’t going to work out and finding someone who can better handle her and her medical costs?

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Hey Elderly Aunt, how do I keep my spirits up while waiting for a diagnosis?

How do I deal with medically-induced limbo? In my case, I’m waiting for what could be a potentially devastating diagnosis or something more benign. For three weeks now, I’ve been waiting for test results, call backs, and appointments to be made. Everything is moving with incredible slowness. Meanwhile, I feel awful, both physically and mentally. How do I keep my spirits up?

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Hey Elderly Aunt, how should I handle all these political solicitations?

Elderly Aunt: I have taken to responding to phone solicitations from candidates and groups of both parties that I “no longer make financial decisions on the fly on the phone.” … A solicitor today interrupted bill-paying and kept me on the line for a LONG time, arguing with me (and I agreed with his politics, too!) What do you think, Elderly Aunt?

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Hey Elderly Aunt, our daughter wants to protest climate change. Should we let her skip school to do it?

Dear Elderly Aunt, Our 6th grader and 3rd grader have become increasingly interested in the environment and trying to stop climate change. They’ve been especially inspired by Greta Thunberg. Now our 6th grade daughter has suggested skipping school to protest climate change like Greta did. We’ve tried to steer her toward other actions, like writing letters and making posters. What kind of strategies would you suggest that would be effective ways for young students like her to send a message … without missing school to do it? — Proud Parents

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Elderly Aunt, what do I do about my mom who’s becoming openly racist?

Elderly Aunt, please help. How does one deal with the heartache of their own mother, who lives nearby, and with whom they have a close relationship, switching from being mostly silently racist, to becoming vocally racist? I feel more heartbroken than when I lost a loved one to dementia.

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So … what’s the point of New Year’s resolutions?

Hey Elderly Aunt, what’s the point of New Year’s resolutions? I set them every year. By February (sometimes earlier) most, if not all, are broken. Are we just fooling ourselves with this “tradition”?

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Hey Elderly Aunt, how can I get people to call me by my name?

I have always gone by my full name, Jennifer. It’s what family members call me. It’s what my friends call me. It’s what my coworkers in my department call me. But for some reason coworkers in another department that I frequently work with have begun referring to me as “Jen” in emails and sometimes in person …

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