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by Abigail Van Buren

Single Mom Who Counts Her Blessings Comes Out on Top

DEAR ABBY: In response to the single mother who is tired of "just getting by":

I can certainly empathize with her. I am 46 and have an 8-year-old child, and I live from paycheck to paycheck because I don't receive child support either. When I get depressed, I play the "count your blessings" game, and it changes my perspective.

That single mother who is just getting by is able to provide a comfortable roof over her daughter's head, good food and nice clothes. She wants to provide "better things" in life, and she's angry because she can't afford dance lessons for her daughter. She should realize that there are at least a million mothers on our planet who would gladly trade places with her.

I would encourage her to be creative -- teach the daughter herself. She can turn on the radio and have some of that fun she thinks only money can buy. Where there's a will, there's a way. -- FRANCINE YACOUB IN DALLAS

DEAR FRANCINE: You and many others pointed out that with a little creativity and help from others, this single mother can provide quality entertainment for her daughter. Many readers suggested she consider church activities, scholarships from the YWCA, picnics in the park, and visits to the public library to check out books and videos.

Among the other excellent suggestions: Share housing with another single mother or senior citizen, barter for some of the things she needs (perhaps she could clean house for the dance teacher), trade baby sitting with another mother, or baby-sit to earn extra money.

DEAR ABBY: A few days before Christmas, my family received a Christmas card from an aunt. Enclosed in the same envelope were two birthday cards: one for my brother and one for me. We both have December birthdays. Mine is Dec. 23 and his is on the 28th.

My mother thought this was incredibly rude and refuses to send this aunt a card next year. She thinks it was cheap, and people should have the decency to send each card in a separate envelope.

I, on the other hand, say it would have been wasteful to send two cards in separate envelopes. That's just two more postage stamps and envelopes arriving on the same day. I wouldn't mind if I didn't get my own envelope. (My brother said he wouldn't either.)

Abby, if you say it isn't proper etiquette, my aunt will no longer receive Christmas cards from us. -- A 12-YEAR-OLD DAILY READER

DEAR DAILY READER: Your aunt was not "cheap" -- she was wisely conservative. In addition, she was helping the environment by conserving paper -- a tree product. Please show this letter to your mom.

DEAR ABBY: In response to "Hurt Mother-in-Law": I was married in 1967, and I clearly remember my new mother-in-law taking me aside and saying, "You already have a mother, so let's figure out a name for you to call me that you are comfortable with. I'm comfortable with Doris."

She set the stage for a wonderful relationship. My father-in-law did his part, too. He introduced me to his friends as "my daughter." That always got a laugh from them, and it made me feel warm and accepted.

In loving memory of Doris and Armand Roth. -- KIRSTEN W. ROTH, PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIF.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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