DEAR ABBY: My 56-year-old mother passed away suddenly six months ago. It happened two days before my daughter's fifth birthday. I didn't know what to do when Mom died -- cancel or let my daughter have the party Mom and I had planned. Well, I opted to go on with the celebration.
My dad just couldn't face it. He left the house. I know in my heart that Mom would not have wanted us to cancel her granddaughter's party. I loved my mom dearly and would never have done anything disrespectful to her memory. I miss her very much. She was my best friend, and it's hard going through life without her.
Did I do the right thing? -- MISSING MY MOM IN MAINE
DEAR MISSING: You did the right thing in going ahead with the party. I see no reason why a child of 5 should be forced to associate her special day with death and mourning if it's avoidable.
DEAR ABBY: I am a concerned parent. My children attend a school that has a very tight budget. The school system here cannot afford to hire teacher's aides, so I help out as much as I can.
Abby, it's crucial for parents to volunteer as much of their time as they can to help teachers. Even one hour a month would be helpful.
I know several mothers who trade baby-sitting so they have free time to go to the gym or shop, but they never give a thought to volunteering at the school. I swap baby-sitting duties with a friend so I can do those things, too, but we also make the time to help our children's teachers.
Our children and their education should be our No. 1 priority. Would you please help me encourage parents everywhere to volunteer their time at schools? Thank you. -- VOLUNTEER MOM IN PRINCETON, MINN.
DEAR MOM: Many schools are in crisis because of budget constraints and could use a helping hand from parents. Volunteering in schools not only allows the teachers to dedicate more time to teaching, but it also sets a good example for the children. Children of parents who are concerned about, and immediately involved in, their education earn better grades. Everyone benefits.
I know from personal experience how rewarding volunteering can be. Every time I have volunteered, I got more than I gave.
DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband and I have four children together. We have been divorced for two years, but we have never stopped seeing each other. I have tried dating, and I'm sure he has too, but we always find our way back to each other.
We were married for 12 years, and the divorce was very painful. Abby, is it possible for two people who fear being hurt or disappointed again to make it the second time -- since we can't seem to stay away from each other? -- DIVORCED BUT STILL IN LOVE
DEAR DIVORCED: Some couples have made a go of it the second time around, but in order for it to work, you and your husband must be willing to confront the issues that destroyed your marriage on the first go-round, and resolve them before tying the knot again. This can be accomplished with marriage counseling. I wish you well.
DEAR READERS: This is just a gentle reminder that messages of support to our troops stationed around the world are their No. 1 morale booster. Show your support by visiting www.OperationDearAbby.net and telling them you appreciate their dedication. Bless you one and all.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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