Q. I’m writing about my 20-year-old granddaughter.
She didn’t get along with her father at home, and asked to move in with me. She was having emotional problems and even at one point tried to end her life.
She was also diagnosed with juvenile arthritis. You can’t really tell except once in a while, when she says she’s in pain.
Because she cried that she was having problems with her dad, I allowed her to temporarily move in. She promptly quit college and her job. She sleeps most of the day.
She has been here for a year. She uses every excuse you can think of not to do anything with her life, although she recently did get a part-time job.
She only comes home when she feels like it (a few nights a week). Her bedroom is wall-to-wall clothes, dirty dishes, etc. I always used that room for my other grandchildren to stay over. Now, none of them want to stay with me.
I’m 71 years old, have worked all my life, and am now retired and struggling to get by.
I love my granddaughter, but I don’t know how much drama and negativity I can take.
Since I have lived alone for the past 20 years, I have gotten used to being alone. I enjoy my privacy.
I’ve told my daughter all of this, but she still doesn’t want her daughter to move back home. She doesn’t seem to care.
Am I wrong in wanting my granddaughter to move out? Please help me know how to handle this.
A. You are not wrong to want your granddaughter to move out. It’s your house, your life — and her mess.
I think you should take a careful and dispassionate look at how this arrangement has benefited your granddaughter.
Since living with you, she has quit college, quit her job, and is living in her own filth.
I’d say that it’s not going very well.
You’re the functioning adult here. Your granddaughter has two parents she may need to bounce back to for housing. She is not without resources.
Sit down with her. Tell her that you love her and that you were happy to provide her with a place to lay her head when she needed it. And tell her that it is time for her to develop a plan to move out.
Give her a reasonable and firm deadline, discuss housing solutions with her, let her parents know that the clock is ticking, and very calmly endure whatever temporary drama she introduces into the process. Tell her, “You can do this.” And then make sure she does.
Q. I am 82 years old, in fairly good shape, independent, and retired from a nursing career.
My children are adults. My son and one of my daughters each have a dog. I am the official dog-sitter, and it clouds my happiness.
I don’t want to be selfish, but I want peace in the years I have left.
I have been visiting one dog every day for the past six years while my daughter is at work. She is afraid the dog will be lonely!
I have also visited my son’s dog very often. They both travel a lot for leisure and here I am, ready to watch the little critters.
My question is: How do I stop the run-up sitting and get my life back? Please, help me!
HELPLESS IN MONTANA
A. Six years of daily visits? So the dog won’t be lonely? Sigh.
I assume that at one point, many years ago, you agreed to this. Perhaps you even enjoyed your daily commitment for a while, or pretended that you did.
You are 82. One of the privileges of age is the right to live your life the way you want to, and to truthfully state your preferences.
Try a version of this: “I’m letting you know that I’m retiring at the end of the month. This should give you time to arrange for day care for the dog.”
If you can plan a two-week vacation starting at that time, it would drive the message home.
Q. “Mourning in Ohio” told about how her long-time partner (who cheated on his wife and left her for “Mourning”) died.
Should she go to the funeral?
Thank you for pointing out the many variables: especially the couple’s adult children. Their interests should be utmost in everyone’s minds.
A. Funerals can bring out the toughest ramifications of a person’s choices during life.
Amy Dickinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.