DEAR ABBY: My older sister decided to join the Army before going to college. We didn't get along, and I was glad to see her go -- especially since it meant that I'd have a room of my own after always having had to share with her. She was just sent to Iraq.
Now I realize that I really love my sister, and I'm worried sick about her. I also feel really guilty about being happy about her leaving. Having my own room isn't all that great, and when I look at her side of the room and her empty bed, I wish we were still sharing a room and she was out of harm's way.
I want to write her and tell her how I feel and that I love her. But if I write her, I'm not sure how she'll react. I think about her and worry about her all the time. I tried to talk to my mom about how I feel, but she just blew me off and acted like she didn't believe me. Please tell me what I can do to deal with this. -- SAD SISTER IN SACRAMENTO
DEAR SAD SISTER: Your mother is dealing with her own anxieties right now. Do not let another day go by without sitting down and writing that letter to your sister. Tell her exactly what you have told me. I am positive that not only will she be happy to hear from you, she will also be impressed by how much you have matured in such a short time. It's the only way to deal with what's bothering you.
DEAR ABBY: I was driving down the road the other day and noticed a young girl by the side of the road trying to put the chain back on her bike. As I drove past her, I slowed my car and then stopped and backed up to ask if she needed help. She said she almost had it on, so I drove away.
Then it occurred to me later that maybe, in this day and age, I shouldn't have done what I did. I love kids and would never harm a child, and I would never want a child stranded by the side of the road. But at the same time, I question if stopping was safe to do -- with kidnapping and child molestation in the news so often.
Is it OK for a young man (I am 33) to stop and help a child who may need it without someone thinking I am up to no good, and with kids being taught not to go near strangers in cars? -- UNSURE IN SEVERANCE, COLO.
DEAR UNSURE: You are a caring person, forced to choose between idealism and sad reality. You did the right thing by stopping to offer help and, when it was refused, by continuing on your way. However, because you felt the need to do more, you should have called roadside emergency services to let them know there was a stranded cyclist by the side of the road, so they could check to see if further assistance was needed.
DEAR ABBY: Our daughter recently gave birth to a baby boy. We would like to establish a college fund in his name, but we have a dilemma. Our son-in-law has two children by a prior marriage. We have an excellent relationship with all of them and do not want to hurt anyone's feelings. However, my wife and I are retired and are not in a position to fund three programs. What do you suggest? -- PROUD GRANDPA IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR PROUD GRANDPA: You are a loving grandparent. Please do not feel awkward because you cannot be as generous as you would like. Talk to your CPA or your attorney and ask for referrals to financial planners whom they trust. When you find the right adviser, discuss your entire situation and ask for recommendations.
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-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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