Water

“I hope you can help me understand my younger brother. Growing up, Gavin ran instead of walked, jumped around when excited, and always seemed busy. When we were little, I wanted to stay inside and color or read, but that bored him. In high school, he was on the pep squad and in theater. Just watching him made me tired and irritable. It still does. We’re in our early twenties now and have both moved back home temporarily to take care of our aging parents during the pandemic. I find myself wanting to be around him less and less, which is pretty hard in a small house with so much shut down these days.”...

“Our daughter divorced last year and when the pandemic started, she moved back home with her two-year-old son. Since they’ve been with us, Weston has really changed. I thought this would be a great time for our family with Stacy managing her IT team from here and Weston’s promotion. But my previously optimistic, go with the flow husband has become a gloomy cynic who ignores Stacy, picks on Jimmy, and eats potato chips like there’s no tomorrow.”...

“My widowed mother passed away earlier this year. My older brother, Paul, was named executor. He is very responsible and orderly and has approached this task like it’s the most important thing in the world. But I think I have something to offer the process. Paul has a woman who wants to buy Mom’s house, but I think the price is too low and we should wait until the pandemic is over. I have tried discussing this, but he refuses to budge. How can I approach Paul and this situation without inflaming it?”...

“I know these are difficult times for all of us, but I’m having trouble with my husband. We both work outside of the home so used to spend time together just on weekends. Now we’re together almost 24/7. Lately my kind, intelligent, hardworking guy has turned into a fussy, opinionated jerk who rants continuously about everything. I’m actually enjoying the quiet time at home to catch up on reading, but he’s like a caged animal. How do we get along?”...

“Sami has been my best friend for over a decade. She said she never wanted to be tied down, but that changed last year when she met Hans. Sami really fell for him, and he seemed to feel the same about her. After about six months of what looked to me like crazy, happy, almost all the time togetherness – including sheltering together at Sami’s during this pandemic – Hans left Sami last week for a meditation instructor. Sami’s totally depressed and not herself. What can I do to help her get Hans back?”...

“I have 14-year-old twins who are as different as night and day. With sheltering in place, the four of us are spending almost every waking moment together in our small house. It’s not going well. Tammy thinks Ted is a downer and Ted thinks Tammy lacks substance. My husband thinks they’re both spoiled brats that I clearly failed to raise well as a stay-at-home mom. Do you have any advice for a mom trying desperately to hold her family together during a pandemic?”...

“Having everyone at home all of the time is driving me crazy. I’m impatient, cranky, and overwhelmed. I’d love some help, but my husband’s job is more intense than mine, so I haven’t asked him. This means homeschooling our 10-year-old falls to me. I wish we could all go to our separate rooms and get work done, but Sammy wants to help me with all the meals, but she just makes it harder to get things done the right way. My normal perfection is out the window! What can I do to get better?”...

“I’ve been dating an artist for three months and we’re really good together in many ways. We have great discussions and he takes my opinions seriously, which is a refreshing change. I like Craig a lot, but there is something about him that’s really hard to take. If he says he’ll call on Monday, he might not call until Wednesday. If he’s supposed to pick me up at 6:00 pm, sometimes he doesn’t show up until 7:00 pm.”...

“I’m writing about my son, Kirk. Last fall Kirk signed up for a drafting class with a teacher I’ll call Mr. Lane. Kirk loved the artistic aspects of the class and appreciated the structure Mr. Lane brought. All was well until Mr. Lane received our district’s Teacher of the Year award. According to Kirk, after that Mr. Lane began demanding greater accuracy and precision from this beginning drafting class. He also started bragging about the award and other accomplishments he’d had that the students would probably never obtain. Kirk is having a really hard time with this and wants to quit the class.”...