DEAR ABBY: I'm going to be 65 soon. Yesterday I got a call from my daughter telling me: "Sorry, I'm going to be late with your birthday card again this year. I don't have time to get one. I'm really busy. We're working on the house, and I got a new job. I'll send you one in a few weeks." My daughter knows how much I love getting cards and being remembered. However, she thinks it's funny when she says, "I got your card, but I can't find a stamp. Maybe you'll receive it sometime next year."
Are there other daughters like mine, or is she the only one? I'd like other daughters and sons to know that when your mother is gone, she's not coming back. Take a little time now, while she's alive, to show her you love her. Thanks, Abby. -- SAD MOTHER IN TEXAS
DEAR SAD MOTHER: Yes, there are other daughters and sons like yours. And you're right, life isn't a dress rehearsal. Every moment is precious.
Knowing how you feel, your daughter appears to have a warped sense of humor and to enjoy withholding what makes you happy. You have described a person who thinks the world revolves around her.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have a 15-year-old daughter I'll call Anna. She's a good girl and has a very casual boyfriend, who is also 15. Occasionally they get together at our house to talk.
Anna and her dad think she should be able to visit with her boyfriend upstairs in her bedroom. I feel that even though their relationship is innocent, eventually Anna will become more interested in boys. Therefore, it's a good idea that all visitors of the opposite sex be entertained in a common living area -- like the living room, family room or kitchen. Then these kids can occasionally be checked on.
Abby, please let me know your opinion. -- NOT UPSET YET
DEAR NOT UPSET YET: I agree with you. There is less temptation when everything is out in the open.
DEAR ABBY: With regard to the column you printed about the woman who wore a tongue stud while being interviewed for a job:
As a teacher, I talk to classrooms of students about how they dress and what their attire conveys to the people who see them.
I ask these students: "When you see someone dressed like a policeman, what do you think that person does? When you see someone dressed like a nurse or a doctor, what do you think that person does? If you saw someone walk into a bank with a stocking pulled over his head, what would you think? How about when you see someone wearing a business suit?" etc. Finally, I ask, "What are you trying to say to people when you dress?"
What we wear is a statement to the people around us. How we dress, tattoo, pierce, style our hair and present ourselves is an expression of who we are, and a message to the people we encounter. Do not be defensive if they react to the message you are sending. -- LEA IN MINNESOTA
DEAR LEA: You make your point very well.
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.
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 $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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