DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Heidi," is 17 and pregnant. She is going to an alternative high school and doing well. My daughter is proactive about her pregnancy and excited about the new baby. This will be my first grandchild, and I am excited too.
My problem is, when I express my joy, others act like I am crazy for being happy. At a baptism in church, I told my husband how happy I will be when our grandson is baptized and that I can't wait until he's born. He responded that he is not excited at all because of the expense and upheaval this new addition will cause.
I know there will be hardships with a new baby. We don't have much room in our house, and a new member will bring some burden. I do not have my head in the clouds -- but when I see the ultrasound image and hear that heartbeat, I am filled with joy.
Am I wrong to be happy? And if not, what can I say to people who tell me I am? -- PROUD ALMOST-GRANDMA
DEAR ALMOST: You are entitled to your happiness. However, please understand that unwed teen mothers and their children can face challenges, and this may be what people are alluding to when they seem to question your joy.
Frankly, I am troubled by the fact that nowhere in your letter have you mentioned how your daughter plans to raise her son, how she will provide for him, whether she plans to complete her education, what the involvement of the baby's father will be emotionally and financially, or whether she will need aid from the state. Nor have you mentioned what the impact of the new arrival will have on your marriage.
That's why, although your heart is filled with joy, you need to look ahead with your eyes wide open -- and that's what I am advising.
DEAR ABBY: I am almost 40 and single -- no children. My friend, "Amanda," is in her 20s. She has two beautiful children, ages 6 and 2, and spoils them with an overabundance of toys and by giving them whatever they want.
I wouldn't interfere, but "giving them what they want" includes allowing them to ride in her vehicle without wearing a safety belt or child restraints.
I love Amanda and her children dearly. They wear their safety belts when they are with me. I'm afraid their mother will get into an accident and one of the children will be severely injured or die.
How can I convince Amanda to keep her children safely restrained when traveling without coming across as a "know-it-all"? I don't want to alienate her, but I want her kids to be safe. -- CARING FRIEND, MOBERLY, MO.
DEAR CARING FRIEND: Tell her exactly what you have told me. I thought that by now all states had seatbelt and child safety laws in place. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles and find out if yours is one of them.
Amanda may be a loving and generous mother, but in my opinion, she is guilty of child endangerment. There are worse things than hearing a child protest being buckled in. One of them is losing a child, or having him or her maimed for life because of parental negligence.
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