Dear Annie: I read the letter from "The Family Mistake," the 12-year-old boy whose nearest sibling is 29. He hates his life, saying people assume he's the grandchild, and his parents call him a "mistake." He said his parents are in their 50s.
My husband and I are in our 50s. We have three kids between the ages of 9 and 13. No one has mistaken our children for our grandchildren. Also, a lot of our friends are in their mid or late 50s and they have kids the same age as ours. There is nothing unusual about having children later in life.
I have five siblings and we have been loving and supportive throughout our lives. We never bully or tease one another. It's cruel to make fun of someone to the point where he feels put down and hates his life. "Family Mistake" seems like a good kid, and his family should be proud of him.
He should also give his family your column with his letter and your response. Hopefully his family will start to respect and appreciate him more. -- Proud Parent From Burbank, California
Dear Burbank: We received an outpouring of sympathetic, caring letters for this young man. We hope he sees these and is encouraged. Read on for more:
Dear Annie: My heart ached for that 12-year-old. We have a similar situation and refer to our youngest as our "pleasant surprise." He is quite a character and a joy to have around. We can't imagine life without him. I hope his parents see this and realize how very lucky they are with their own pleasant surprise. -- Amazed Mom
Dear Annie: I had to respond to that poor 12-year-old who is constantly referred to as a "mistake." We had our last child when I was 44. What a joy it is to have them still around, and yes, occasionally folks think we are the grandparents. But God does not make "mistakes." -- Blessed Mama
Dear Annie: This is for the boy whose family makes fun of him because of the age difference. When jokes are made about him not being planned, he should retort with, "Well, since I am so young, maybe Mom and Dad now have a child who can help look after them when they reach old age." This might make those bullying siblings start thinking. Maybe even his parents will reconsider their attitude. -- D
Dear Annie: We had our fourth child somewhat later in life. People would often ask us, "Was he was a mistake?" As he grew older, he began to understand what they were asking, so we decided to tell people that he was not a mistake. We had done such a good job with our first three children that God had given us a bonus child. From then on, we called him our "bonus." Our friends picked up on it, and no one ever asked that question again. No child should ever be considered a mistake. -- Grateful Parents in Kentucky
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