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You should write to your niece a version of this: “When I was a feckless young woman (as you are now), no one tried to guide me. I wish someone had, because I might have avoided years of ill will, damaged relationships and poor judgment. You are lucky to be loved by wonderful people, and now it is time for you to make your mark in the family by starting to contribute in your own special way. I believe in you and hope you choose this positive path.”
Your missive may get tossed, misinterpreted or blown out of proportion. But this is the risk that loving aunties take for being as smart as Maggie Smith.
Speak up on hearing
Dear Amy: A recent writer is frustrated about her husband’s denial of his hearing loss. She should ask him, “Who is the first one to notice when your eyes are going bad?” He would answer, “Me.”
Then ask him, “Who is the first to notice when you have hearing loss?” The correct answer is, “Everyone else.”
This is the approach a hearing loss expert recommended to my brother and me when dealing with our mother’s hearing loss. It worked, and she couldn’t be happier, and, frankly, neither could we.
Amy says: Thank you.
Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.