Dear Annie: My husband, "Tex," was involved in hang gliding before we met. For many years, I accompanied him, being the cheerleader as well as the driver. I did this even after we had children, until we talked about how little the kids got to see him and how boring it was for them to wait for him to fly and land. He quit in order to be more of a presence in their lives. He's a great dad and husband, and I was proud of him for putting his sport on hold until the kids grew up.
Six years ago, Tex resumed hang gliding. Again, I traveled with him, driving, waiting, being supportive. In the past year, however, I have found a sport that I love -- long-distance bicycling. We traveled several hundred miles so I could ride my first century (100 miles). I had a blast and appreciated Tex meeting me at the rest stops and offering encouragement. He was happy to do so and share in my success.
This summer, I put a lot of time into revving up my business, and continued to ride a few centuries. Tex continued to fly, both locally and at distant sites. Neither of us has accompanied the other on any of these trips.
Today, Tex left for a two-day camping trip that involves flying. He expressed some displeasure that I chose not to go with him, dragging the dogs and the camping gear and being his driver. His parting comments included something about how nice it would be if I supported him in his ventures. That hurt.
It's not that I don't support him, it's just that there is something more fulfilling to me now. We've been happily married for 25 years, and I realize it helps to have an activity we can share. How do I address this? Hang-Widow No More
Dear Hang-Widow: Is it possible for you to accompany Tex on just a few of his flying adventures, and for Tex to do the same for your bike trips? You don't have to go every time, but since this is a major source of discord, it might help to "drag the dogs" now and then. Discuss it frankly with Tex, and work out a compromise.
Dear Annie: My mother-in-law is in her 60s and has the worst red hairstyle I've ever seen. It takes her hours to tease it and get it just right. She also uses tons of hairspray. One of my co-workers and I were talking, and she said, "I don't mean to insult you, but isn't your mother-in-law the one with the Bozo hair?"
My mother-in-law is ruining her hair. It is getting thin from so much teasing. I feel sorry for her. However, since she and I don't get along, I want my husband to tell her. She never truly welcomed me into the family and would be hurt if this came from me. What should I do? C.
Dear C.: If your husband wants to tell his mother she is ruining her hair, fine, but you should stay out of this. You mean well, but Mom is probably convinced she looks like Rita Hayworth. A husband, boyfriend, best friend or hairdresser might persuade her to update her hairstyle, but otherwise, learn to accept Bozo as she is.
Dear Readers: Today is Mother-in-Law Day, and we've been saving this lovely essay by a reader, Elizabeth Critchfield:
It's All Her Fault
For all the things she instilled in her son, I am blessed with the most beautiful, wonderful, compassionate, loving, caring, patient husband in the world.
Even though she is stretched beyond her strength and mind, she is always there to give an encouraging word or helping hand.
She loves her grandchildren with all her heart and would give her right arm for them.
She loves us all so much that any special occasion (surgery, birthday, etc.), she is always there to hold our hand.
It's all her fault for being an example that marriages do last long in this day and age. I love you, Mom. Thank you for everything.
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