Dear Mrs. Crabby,
I have two wonderful daughters. They are both very lovely people, and yet how different they are! Chloe is 36 and fabulously successful in everything she does. She is happily married to a chef/restaurateur and has two brilliant children – Brendon and Clara who already have high achievements. Brendon started reading the menus at his dad’s restaurant at the age of 1-1/2 while Clara at 3 was in the kitchen mixing her first bechamel for homemade mac and cheese. Chloe is a successful attorney in a medical malpractice firm and also licensed in internal medicine. She makes me so proud. I never see her or the kids much, but she sends me lots of pictures. And I get a lovely fruit basket at Christmas.
Then there is Stefanie. She is 42 and twice divorced. She does not have any kids. There are no boyfriends here or anywhere on the horizon. She’s been laid off from her job as a social worker. Of course I believe it’s the budget cuts. Maybe. The only reason I say maybe is because she has just let herself go. She never was a stunner like Chloe, but she did have some lovely qualities that have now gone very south. She doesn’t style her hair very well, because she has to go to Budget Cuts and it always grows out oddly. Her apartment is a pigsty, with all these books and papers stacked up. Sure, she says she’s studying for her Ph.D. in psychology, but she could pick up after herself.
I try to help her. When she talks to me I will look meaningfully at her middle to suggest that some situps are in order. I have hair style magazines around with pages dog-eared on pictures of styles that would look lovely on her. I anonymously mail her pages cut out of magazines with special diets, and a kind note saying “This worked for me. You should try it!”
Now I see Stefanie all the time. She’s always coming over and fussing over me. She keeps buying my groceries and takes my car in for service. Then she makes sure I have my prescriptions filled and takes me to the doctor.
This is why I am writing to you Mrs. Crabby. How do I tell her that she’s let herself go to hell and if she expects to get another man, like Chloe’s husband, she’d better get on the ball!
I know you’ll have some good advice,
Hon, stick with the shlumpy one and stop picking on her. She’s the one who will be wiping the drool off your face and changing your diapers when the fancy one is going through her second trip through rehab after husband number three has dumped her for a younger trophy.