DEAR ABBY: My parents split when I was 3 and divorced when I was 6. I am now 28. Mama remarried when I was 7 to a man I consider to be my dad. My biological father, "Kevin," lived in the same town we did until I was 11, when we moved. (My stepfather was in the military.)
Communications and visits were rare before we moved and have been nearly nonexistent ever since. Kevin never paid child support and only occasionally remembered birthdays when I was young. He called once a few years ago. The entire conversation was centered around his making excuses about why he was never around and never supported us. In the end, he blamed Mama for it. He never once apologized for being a deadbeat dad or his lack of interest in my life.
Kevin called again a few months ago. I was civil to him although I didn't offer much in the way of conversation. He said he and his wife had prepared their wills and that I was named in his. I simply said "OK" and didn't ask any questions.
Kevin has called a couple of times since, but I have no motivation to return his calls. This week I got a birthday card from him in the mail -- two weeks late, of course. It contained a check for a small amount of money. I honestly did not feel any loss for not having Kevin in my life because I was blessed with a loving, caring male parent. Sharing DNA does not constitute being a father in my book. But I think he at least owes me an apology or some kind of admission of wrongdoing (or lack of doing) if he expects me to be civil and communicate with him.
Should I return the check? Should I cash it, and write a letter thanking him for remembering my birthday, albeit late? Or should I tell him I am not willing to talk to him until he's willing to offer me an apology? -- DAUGHTER WHO DOESN'T NEED TWO DADS
DEAR DAUGHTER: For someone who "honestly did not feel any loss for not having him in (your) life," you appear to be genuinely steamed at your birth father. The time has come to be honest with yourself about your feelings of anger, disappointment and abandonment -- and tell him honestly how you feel. Then hear him out.
You may learn that your mother made it difficult for your father to see you -- and the move reinforced it. He may also have had financial problems that made monetary support difficult. Only he can give you the details that, in my opinion, you sorely need to hear. It is clear your father is now trying to make amends, even if it's not in the form of an apology.
DEAR ABBY: Am I a "sicko" because I step out of the shower naked in front of our dog? My wife thinks so. The trouble started when we got a female dog, "Taffy," from the local animal shelter. Taffy sleeps in our bedroom and is there in the morning when I take my shower.
My wife insists that I cover up in front of the dog and that Taffy is no different from a child. This has created a lot of stress between us because, to me, a dog is a dog. Is it wrong to be naked in front of a dog? -- IN THE DOGHOUSE, TEMECULA, CALIF.
DEAR IN THE DOGHOUSE: Even though many people treat their dogs like children, the fact remains that dogs are canines -- not homo sapiens. Your wife appears to be either jealous or have an overactive imagination. It is no more wrong for a human to be naked in the presence of a dog than it is for a dog to be naked in the presence of a human.
CONFIDENTIAL TO EDWARD JAY PHILLIPS IN MINNEAPOLIS: Happy Birthday, li'l bro. I hope you're partying hearty!
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