DEAR ABBY: My husband's sister is always asking us to send his parents money. She's married, their children are grown, her husband receives a pension, and they both work full time. My husband earns a good living and I am a stay-at-home mom. We have three sons, ages 11, 13 and 16. We live out-of-state and every year his parents visit us for a month. Their airline tickets and other expenses are entirely paid by us.
Our extra money goes toward the children's college education or my husband's 401(k) plan. He doesn't have a pension plan. We've been saving for years and still don't have half the tuition money we will need for our sons' college.
My husband's father also gets a pension. He and his wife both receive Social Security and own their own home. They seem to have enough money to travel other places several times a year.
We have raised our children without any support from his family. They helped his sister financially when her children were small. When the grandmother died recently, his sister got jewelry, crystal and silver. My husband got nothing.
We moved out-of-state five years ago to get away from them. His father still calls him and wants to know when we're visiting because "the chores are piling up." My husband loves his parents, but he feels used and hurt -- and so do I.
I believe our first responsibility is to our children. We have told his family "no" for years, but they still want more and more from us. Any suggestions? -- FED UP IN FLORIDA
DEAR FED UP: Yes. Just keep saying no.
DEAR ABBY: I am 5 feet tall and weigh about 130 pounds. I'm almost 12 and don't like the way I look.
Do you know of a healthy, free diet that really works? I exercise daily and take dance classes, run, walk and ride my bike all the time. I try not to eat too much junk food, but I'm still so huge I can't stand it. Please help me. -- MARY IN HULL, MASS.
DEAR MARY: At 11 years of age, you have not yet reached your full height, so before condemning yourself for the way you look, please take that into consideration, and be less hard on yourself. Weight isn't put on overnight, and it's not lost overnight, either.
Before embarking on any diet, you should be seen by your doctor to determine your general health and to discuss what is the proper diet and amount of exercise you should be getting. Please show this letter to your mother. It is important that she understands how much this issue means to you.
DEAR ABBY: I was touched by the letter you printed about wedding bands of departed loved ones. We were a married couple for 47 years and never had our bands off our fingers.
When my husband was "promoted" to heaven, my daughter suggested that since I had placed his ring on his finger, I should remove it, so I did.
Life will never be the same for me, but I appreciate wearing his wedding band next to mine. No polishing or size change -- just a guard inside to make it fit close to mine. -- A SAN DIEGO WIDOW
DEAR SAN DIEGO WIDOW: Wearing an item of clothing that belonged to a departed loved one can be comforting to the wearer. It's logical that wearing a piece of jewelry would do the same. I'm sure your husband would be pleased.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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