DEAR ABBY: Mother's Day is approaching, and I'm feeling sentimental. I'd like to tell you what our family used to do on Mother's Day. Mom didn't need any more clothes or jewelry. So, for years, all the adult children, grandchildren and in-laws put on our work clothes and showed up at Mom's home on Mother's Day.
We brought the makings for a potluck dinner and plenty of beverages. We would then proceed to till and plant my mother's garden. Mom loved to garden and did so into her 80s, but getting it planted became too much for her. This was not only the perfect time to get the job done for her, but she loved seeing the family working together.
Often what older people enjoy the most is the gift of time and family. They want their independence, but some things can be done much more easily by the children. (Just don't forget to do it the way THEY want it done, and you'll see the joy in their eyes.) -- REMEMBERING IN WISCONSIN
DEAR REMEMBERING: How sweet of you to want to share your family's tradition. I'm sure your efforts pleased your mother mightily, and that every time she looked out her window, she was reminded of the happy memories of Mother's Day.
There are usually any number of chores to be done around a house, from painting to washing windows, fixing a fence, clearing out a garage, and miscellaneous household repairs too numerous to list. All it takes to get them done is a willing heart and some elbow grease. Of course, it also takes time -- and time is the most precious gift of all.
DEAR ABBY: I'm about to be married and am looking forward to my wedding with one exception: the family part.
I was severely abused as a child by my oldest sister. She is seven years older than me. My parents both worked outside the home, and they left her in charge.
When I was 5, I returned from Asia where I had been living with my grandparents. That's when the abuse started. She made up lies about things I supposedly did during the day, and since my parents were very traditional and stressed work, they beat me almost nightly.
I'm an adult now and have gone through therapy, where I learned the best way to deal with my family is to see as little of them as possible.
Although I have forgiven them and moved on, I do not want my sister at my wedding. The rest of the family has faced the truth and tried to make amends; my sister has not, and I want nothing to do with her. My mother, however, wants us to be "one big, happy family" with my sister in attendance. (Our family has never been "one big, happy family.") What should I do? -- ABOUT TO BE MARRIED IN L.A.
DEAR ABOUT TO BE MARRIED: I see no reason to invite your abuser to your wedding in order to satisfy your mother's fantasy of a perfect family. Omit your sister from the guest list, and don't allow anyone to browbeat you into changing your mind. Your reasons for excluding her are legitimate.
Please accept my best wishes for a long and happy marriage.
CONFIDENTIAL TO "DESPERATE IN SOUTH FLORIDA": Even though your name doesn't appear on your husband's credit cards, you MUST consult an attorney to determine whether or not you will be held responsible for his irrational spending sprees. Please don't wait. Your future may depend on it.
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, 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.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600