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Until Dad's ready to change diet, love him the way he is

Staff report

Dear Annie: I have an amazing dad. He coaches my lacrosse team and is always up for a game in the yard. But I am growing very nervous about his health.

Dad eats fast food every day at work and comes home to enjoy a home-cooked meal topped with a large amount of salt. He then sits in front of the TV with a huge bowl of buttered popcorn and a beer. If he's not playing lacrosse with me in the yard, he gets no exercise at all.

Nothing is motivating my dad to watch what he eats. He is quite tall, so weight doesn't show on him the way it might on someone else. But I happen to know that his cholesterol level is horrible, and no one could be healthy eating the way he does. I have approached my dad many times about this and even offered to prepare a lunch for him. He either ignores me or shrugs his shoulders and jokes about it.

I have run out of ideas. I desperately want my dad to be healthy, but I don't want him to think he's being bossed around by his 12-year-old daughter. Any ideas? - Ignored in Louisville

Dear Ignored: You are sweet to be worried about Dad, but please understand that until your father is ready to watch what he eats, nothing you say or do will make much difference. He knows how you feel, he knows his cholesterol numbers, and chances are, your mom has also said something to him. He may wake up one morning and decide to be healthier. Until then, however, the most you can do is love him the way he is and get him to join you for more lacrosse in the backyard.

Dear Annie: After 31 years of marriage, my son-in-law decided he was unhappy and wrote his own divorce papers. My daughter read them and made a couple of changes, and the divorce became final last year.

My ex-son-in-law was never a good provider, and his indiscretions are far too numerous to list. However, he still calls and comes over all the time. They have two adult sons who have not been told that they are legally divorced.

Yesterday, I got a call from my daughter asking whether I had sent him a birthday card. I replied, "No, I don't consider him part of the family." She said, "Well, he is the father of your grandsons." Did I do wrong? - Annoyed Grandma

Dear Grandma: You are not obligated to send your ex-son-in-law a birthday card, but he was a member of your family for 31 years and probably still wants to be treated as such. And if your daughter wants you to send him a card, it would be a kindness to do so. But for heaven's sake, one of them should notify the children of their parents' legal status.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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