DEAR ABBY: I am a 31-year-old father of a 2-year-old son, "Joey." Joey has been living with me since my ex-wife, "Kathy," was indicted on federal charges that range from drug trafficking to money laundering.
Abby, I know I am a good father, but I am upset with Kathy for leaving me alone to raise Joey. My son needs his mother, too. Joey will be an adult when she is finally released from prison. My problem is, what do I say to Joey now when he asks, "Where's Mommy?" -- HALF EMPTY IN TEXAS
DEAR HALF EMPTY: Assure your son that his mother loves him and would be with him if she could, but that she had to go away for a while. It's the truth -- without any traumatizing details.
When he gets older, answer his questions as he asks them. In the meantime, I recommend that you investigate parent support groups. Parents Without Partners is a good one. For the chapter nearest you, call (800) 637-7974.
DEAR ABBY: I am a baby boomer. I seem to be regressing to my hippie days of the '60s -- growing my hair long, wearing peasant blouses and buying CDs of the Beatles and The Band. I dwell on the past and feel my best years are behind me. Am I in trouble here? Is this normal? Do any of your other "baby boomer" readers feel the same way? -- FLOWER CHILD IN NEW YORK
DEAR FLOWER CHILD: Everyone, at one time or another, idealizes the past and yearns for their "carefree" formative years. (In the haze of memory, most of the difficulties are minimized.) Many people still carry the '60s in their hearts and continue to enjoy the music. (A lot of them now wear business attire and carry briefcases.)
If you truly feel your best years are behind you, it's time to examine the reason why. Counseling will help you get to the root of it.
DEAR ABBY: You challenged readers to send you examples of social blunders. Here's mine:
An elderly friend with whom I was very close was sent to an assisted living facility by daughters who rarely visit her. Shortly thereafter, I received a request from one of them asking for memorabilia, photographs or poems for her mother's 80th birthday.
I was horrified when the woman added, "Then we can kill two birds with one stone and display them at her memorial service." What bad taste. Needless to say, I sent nothing but my good wishes. -- APPALLED IN MONTANA
DEAR APPALLED: I'm all for planning ahead, but planning someone's funeral while the person is in reasonably good health strikes me as rushing things a bit. However, for your friend's sake, you should have sent a small photograph or a personal note to mark the happy occasion of the birthday.
DEAR ABBY: My wife had an affair two years ago. She refuses to tell me the name of the man. We have worked hard to rebuild our marriage, and I want to forgive her, but unless I know who he is, I cannot fully trust her again.
I think I am owed the truth. She says there's no reason for me to know, but that she will follow your advice. -- WONDERING WHO IN OHIO
DEAR WONDERING: You have a right to know the truth. If your wife doesn't 'fess up, you will suspect every man with whom she has any contact. As long as you resist the urge to retaliate, it may help you achieve closure.
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 $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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