DEAR ABBY: When my two boys were young, I agreed to a reduction in child support payments with the understanding that my ex would help later with their college tuition. This was not put in writing.
Now both my boys are in college and their father is refusing to help. When I asked him to at least help with the costs of their books, he said, "That's what child support was for." I guess I should have seen this coming, as he has been cruel and unreasonable toward me for the past 22 years.
What's more hurtful is my sons have adopted their father's attitudes. They have told me their child support should have been saved for college. I always put my children first and feel that all the hours I have worked to pay for college means nothing to them. Have you any advice for me? -- UNAPPRECIATED IN WISCONSIN
DEAR UNAPPRECIATED: Yes. Your first mistake was not getting the agreement with your ex in writing. The second is in continuing to foot the entire bill for your sons' college education. It's time they applied for scholarships, student loans and part-time jobs. Close your checkbook and make an appointment with a lawyer, because your ex may not be off the hook regarding paying for the boys' education to the extent that he thinks he is.
DEAR ABBY: "Chad" and I have been married for six years. While we were dating, I asked him if he was done being in a band and in the club scene. He said yes.
My dilemma is he has now been asked to be in a band, and he wants to do it. He told me he won't accept the offer if I don't want him to, because the issue was important to me when I was considering marrying him. Now I find out he has been telling me one thing and the band guys another. He is planning to join.
Am I wrong to be livid about this? I know he enjoys playing, which is why he was drumming at church. But why join a band now? Abby, he's 45! I'm upset but don't know if I'm justified in being so. -- NOT A BAND WIFE IN TEXAS
DEAR NOT A BAND WIFE: You are upset because you know your husband hasn't been truthful with you -- telling you one thing and his prospective band mates another. Also, the role of "band wife" is one you specifically wanted to avoid.
Not knowing Chad, I don't know whether he loves music or enjoys being in the spotlight. That's not something that fades with age. Because you can't stop him, be a sport and let him shine. If he's good, enjoy the extra income. If he's not, this gig won't be forever.
DEAR ABBY: I am an only child who was very close to both my parents. When my son was born, he completed our happy circle. When Mom died unexpectedly early this year, it was a painful shock. Life hasn't been the same without Mama here.
One afternoon, I was missing my mom and prayed for a sign that she was still watching over us. The next morning in church, she was still on my mind. During the sermon I quickly wrote a check for the offering, but didn't rip it out. I then placed my checkbook down next to me.
When the ushers began passing the plate later in the service I reached for my checkbook. A shiny new dime was sitting on top of it! It was my sign from Mama telling me that yes, she's watching over me and my son and continues to be part of our lives. -- PAM IN OHIO
DEAR PAM: Of course she does. Not even death can break a loving mother-and-daughter bond. It's touching that she let you know that in church, a place that must have held special meaning for both of you.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)