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.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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