DEAR ABBY: I have three children, ages 26, 18 and 15. My 18-year-old is a freshman in college and lives on campus. My 15-year-old lives with his father and visits me often. My 26-year-old is educated and has a good job, but still lives at home.
I was so looking forward to having all of my children out of the nest so I could enjoy myself. I'm in a serious relationship and marriage has been discussed, but because I cannot ask my gentleman friend to put up with the difficulties of getting along with my oldest child, those plans have been put on hold.
Every time I mention leaving the nest to her, she makes me feel guilty. I'm torn between being a caring mother and doing what is best for me. Please advise me how to handle this without ruining my relationship with my daughter. -- GUILTY MOM IN GEORGIA
DEAR GUILTY MOM: When the down has molted, the feathers have grown in and the baby bird is strong, the mother bird pushes her fledgling out of the nest so it can have a life of its own. With an education and a good job, your daughter is capable of taking care of herself. It's time for her to learn to live independently.
Get out the apartment ads and circle those that would fit her budget. Offer to go with her to check out apartments. Do not buy into her guilt trips. If necessary, offer to pay her first month's rent and half the cost of moving her belongings to her new address.
You deserve some happiness -- so please put your life on hold no longer.
DEAR ABBY: I had to chuckle when I read the letter from "Stuck in Franklin, Tenn.," the girl whose brother asked her to be his "best man."
My daughter was married this past June. She has two older brothers. One was her "maid of honor"; the other was her "bridesmaid." They wore tuxedos and looked handsome!
The groom's brother was his best man and also wore a tux. His sister was a "groomsman." She wore an elegant black dress and carried a simple bouquet.
I thought it was a wonderful way to honor all siblings at a wedding. Nobody was left out, and both families blended as one. -- HAPPY MOTHER-IN-LAW
DEAR HAPPY MIL: I'm sure the occasion will be a cherished memory for all who participated. However, when those of the opposite sex accompany the bride or groom to the altar, they are technically referred to as the "bride's attendants" or the "groom's attendants."
DEAR ABBY: My mother, who is 66, wants to live with us. I am married with a 16-year-old and a 5-year-old. My mother stayed with us once before, rent-free for eight months, and frankly, she was a real pain to live with.
For one thing, she is always moping. And she says she can't handle my 5-year-old, who is slightly developmentally disabled. On top of that, we are cramped here already. We want to say no to her, but feel we would be deserting her.
She doesn't have a lot of money, but she is healthy and can live on her own. She thinks it is cheaper to stay with us, but it costs us more than she realizes. My husband and I can't even enjoy our fireplace on a night when the little one is in bed and the teen is away, if you know what I mean.
Help, Abby! What do I do? -- FRUSTRATED INDIANA DAUGHTER
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Tell your mother exactly what you have told me. If she's depressed, she should be discussing it with her doctor and getting professional help. Stand firm that you and your family need your privacy. Your mother is not in ill health, and it's presumptuous for her to expect you to take care of her. If she wants to share living expenses, it would be better for all concerned for her to do so with a contemporary.
DEAR ABBY: I am a registered nurse employed in a hospital. My daughter passed away in December from breast cancer. I worked up until two weeks prior to my daughter's death.
During that time, I made no mention to my co-workers about my daughter's grave condition. It was just too sad. Three weeks before my daughter died, my supervisor called me into her office and told me I had a "bad attitude."
I admit that I had kept my feelings to myself, and of course my demeanor reflected a sad expression, but my attitude was never "bad." I quickly responded to my supervisor, in my defense, that my daughter was dying and asked her how I was supposed to act. She told me there were other nurses who had gravely ill children, but they didn't behave the way I did. I replied that she should walk a mile in my shoes. She reiterated that I had a "bad attitude." I responded that since she seemed to be such an authority on behavior and dying children, perhaps she could enlighten me on how to "act" -- because I really didn't know.
I have since returned to work, and I now have a strong dislike for this person. I see her daily, and she has the nerve to speak to me after that unpleasant encounter. Abby, how do I get past this? She has apologized for her comments, but the damage has already been done. -- FURIOUS R.N. IN THE NORTHEAST
DEAR FURIOUS: It's unfortunate that your behavior was misunderstood, but since your colleagues had no way of knowing what you were going through at the time, your supervisor was only doing her job.
Please accept her apology and find it in your heart to forgive her. If you cannot, professional counseling to help you rechannel your grief and anger may be in order. Life is too precious to harbor resentments.
DEAR ABBY: I'm writing about your response to "Disappointed in Seattle" regarding security in marriage. You above all should know that marriage does not necessarily mean security. You have printed enough letters from victims of marriages to have responded differently.
Abby, there are con-men, gamblers, alcoholics, abusers, and people who just abandon mates and children. Finding security in marriage is like catching a feather in the wind -- some catch it, most don't, no matter how hard they try.
Want security? Get your own job, open a bank account, and earn some self-esteem and confidence. Don't rely on someone else for your security. -- JOAN C. IN BAY SHORE, N.Y.
DEAR JOAN: While I agree that a marriage certificate is not a one-way ticket to easy street, the kind of security to which I was referring were rights of inheritance and, should illness strike, the authority to instruct doctors about each other's wishes.
DEAR ABBY: This is just for you: Do you know the difference between a sewing machine and a kiss? A sewing machine sews nice seams, but a kiss seems so nice!
You can credit my sweet, late mother, Tillie M. Brehl, with that one. -- ILENE R., BEXLEY, OHIO
DEAR ILENE: Many thanks for the witty ditty. Your mother was a sweetheart, and so are you.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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