DEAR ABBY: I learned something in the '70s that I would like to pass on to your readers. Your column is the best way I know to reach the most people.
I was watching a college football game on television. The sportscasters were Keith Jackson and Frank Broyles. A player was lying on the field with what appeared to the sportscasters to be a leg cramp. Frank Broyles commented that they should pinch his upper lip just under his nose to stop the cramp. Keith Jackson, and probably millions of other viewers like me, laughed at the idea.
However, the next time I got a leg cramp in the middle of the night, I pinched my upper lip. Sure enough, I quickly felt relief! This method has saved me many moments of excruciating pain.
I don't know if it will help everyone, but it wouldn't hurt to try it. Abby, every time I have a leg cramp, I thank Frank Broyles for his simple, quick remedy. -- DON SHNELL, HOBART, OKLA.
DEAR DON: Thank you for sharing this acupressure technique. However, if leg cramps persist, it would be a good idea to consult your family doctor to be sure they aren't symptoms of a potentially serious medical problem.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 43-year-old mother, married for 25 years, with three wonderful children. My 20-year-old son recently moved out of state to become a law enforcement officer.
Abby, I'm not handling the loss very well. There are thousands of books on raising children, but very few on letting go. I asked at my local bookstore for a book on "the empty-nest syndrome," but the clerk couldn't help me -- and told me to enjoy my free time and, in effect, get over it. I was at a loss as to what to say to her, so I smiled, left the store, and then broke down and cried.
I understand this is a great opportunity for my son, and I wish him all the success in the world, but the fact remains, I must adjust to his absence.
How do I express this to others who think it's silly to grieve for a child who has moved? -- EMPTY IN ARIZONA
DEAR EMPTY: Empty-nest syndrome is a very real set of emotions. When children start to leave home -- even for positive reasons -- the family unit is changed forever. Traditions are altered, and even the sight of an empty bedroom can trigger depression. Add to that the knowledge that your son is entering law enforcement -- a dangerous profession -- and it's no wonder your outlook is affected.
One way to lose the blues is to remind yourself that your son's departure is a symbol of your success as a parent. It is also an opportunity for growth for both of you. Write your son often and tell him all the hometown and family news. Send him "I care" packages. Learn about his new life, and continue familiar activities with the children who remain at home. Stay busy and try to be positive; don't give yourself time to brood.
And finally, don't allow anyone to make you feel you must apologize for your feelings. They are normal and part of life.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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