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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I are near retirement age. We have a daughter, "Annette," who has five children by four different men. Annette has always managed to dump the father after each child was born. She was married to the last one, but after he caught her cheating, he asked for a divorce.

When each relationship ended, Annette would come home to live with us. We felt it was our obligation to help until she got back on her feet. However, she continued to reproduce haphazardly.

We love our grandchildren, Abby, but the last time Annette told us she was coming back, we told her this time she was on her own. We have six other children who occasionally have problems. We didn't think it was fair to devote all of our attention to Annette when her problems are self-inflicted.

Two years ago, Annette disowned us. We're at an impasse and miss our grandchildren terribly. Do you think we did the right thing? What should we do now? -- TWO GRANDPARENTS IN TWIN FALLS

DEAR GRANDPARENTS: Stick to your guns. You gave your daughter a dose of reality -- because the truth is, you won't always be there to rescue her. Being told to stand on one's own two feet is never pleasant, but she shouldn't have retaliated in the way she did. Wait it out and pray she grows up before her children do.

DEAR ABBY: A longtime family friend's son is being married at the end of the month. Our families were extremely close and the boys have been best friends for years. I say "were" close because about six years ago, I was terribly despondent and attempted suicide. After that, these close family friends would have nothing to do with me. We had gone everywhere together and they were my son's godparents.

I can't begin to tell you how traumatic the loss of this friendship has been. We run into each other occasionally, and she is always friendly toward me, but that is where it ends. Her son still stops by to see me and we get along well.

Today my son received an invitation to the wedding addressed only to him. He is 25 years old and has his own apartment. He called to tell me the date and told me to mark it on my calendar. I said, "I'll check my invitation when it arrives." He replied, "You won't be getting one."

Abby, am I supposed to be his guest? I don't know how to take this. I feel very hurt and slighted that I wasn't sent my own invitation. This is causing problems between my son and me. Could you please help? -- SAD IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SAD: Since you did not receive a wedding invitation, it's safe to assume your presence is not welcome. I agree that you should not attend.

Your "longtime friend" might be a member of a religion that considers suicide an unpardonable sin, or she may have felt incapable of dealing with your emotional problems and therefore chose to distance herself from you. Whatever her reason, it's clear she doesn't understand that what caused your suicide attempt was depression, not a flaw in your character.

Instead of attending the wedding as your son's "guest," send the happy couple a lovely congratulatory card with a personal note. Your thoughtfulness will send a strong message that you are the same kind, loving person you always were.

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