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by Abigail Van Buren

Teen Mom Hides Full Story From Her Infuriated Mother

DEAR ABBY: I am a 17-year-old mother. I am afraid to tell my mom that I have been speaking to my son's father, "Jeremy," who is also 17. She doesn't like him because when she found out I was pregnant, my best friend told her about the abuse I suffered from Jeremy.

Mom is scared he will abuse my son, and, being a teen, he will up and leave me when he finds the right person to be with. He has missed a year of the baby's life and so has his family.

Jeremy's parents want to meet their grandson. It's difficult to talk to Mom because of the way she feels about the family. She thinks they haven't tried to see my son, but in reality they're leaving it up to me to set up. How can I get my mom to be less angry about the situation? -- TEEN MOM IN GRAND RAPIDS

DEAR TEEN MOM: You may be only 17, but because you are now a mother you are going to have to grow up -- fast. Your mother has your best interests at heart, and also her grandchild's. You didn't say whether Jeremy was physically or emotionally abusive, but both are bad. And those are habits he may have learned from his parents. If he dropped out of your life for an entire year, the odds are high that he'll disappear again. So don't count on him for anything.

I am urging you to be completely honest with your mother. Sneaking around is childish. Tell her that the reason Jeremy's parents haven't seen the baby is they left it up to you to arrange, and you were afraid to tell her. It's honest and better than letting them take the rap for your unwillingness to speak up. It may make her less angry about the situation and more willing to compromise.

DEAR ABBY: I recently became engaged to a man I have been with for six years. We're planning a wedding this year.

I lost my dad six years ago. My stepmom has been in my life since I was 3. (I am now 33.) When I asked her if she would be willing to contribute to the wedding in place of Dad, she refused! According to her, Dad did not discuss this with her prior to his death.

What is proper protocol here? Was I out of line to ask if she'd be willing to contribute? I feel like the odd child out because my dad and stepmom contributed to my sister's wedding. Considering how long she has been in my life, this was a shock to me. What do you think, Abby? -- FEELING ABANDONED IN MONTANA

DEAR FEELING ABANDONED: Many people have the mistaken impression that a bride's parents are required to pay for or contribute to her wedding. It's not true. A wedding is a gift, and while it would have been nice of your stepmother to have agreed to give you money for yours, no rule of protocol dictates that she had to.

At 33, you and your fiance should be able to finance your own wedding -- and that's what you should do, without feeling abandoned. Many couples these days do exactly that.

DEAR ABBY: My former boss told me that my numerous suggestions, voluminous descriptions for systems improvements, suggestions for work outside the office, extra reports and documentation, large number of phone calls and multitudinous e-mails came across as intractable, intolerant and superfluous. Could he have been right? -- T.K. IN RALEIGH, N.C.

DEAR T.K.: In a word: yes.

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