DEAR ABBY: My two children were in a terrible car accident and were both airlifted to a children's hospital. My son was released two weeks later, but my daughter is still there, suffering from traumatic brain injury.
Abby, I was driving the car. Why can't my daughter have the life I took away from her? Why is she being punished and not me? -- ANGUISHED MOTHER
DEAR ANGUISHED: You're asking a question that philosophers have pondered for centuries -- why bad things happen to good people. In many cases the answer is simply "fate."
While you feel your daughter is being punished instead of you, I say the guilt you're carrying is punishment and it is not healthy for you or your child. Please don't waste time flogging yourself, because your daughter needs you. Counseling may help you to come to terms with what happened. I hope you'll consider it, as you will need every ounce of strength you can muster to help her in the months ahead.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 16 and well below the average height for females. It bothers me a lot. I'm treated like a 5-year-old. I get picked up all the time, and it's awkward talking to people because they look straight down at me -- and they never let me forget it.
I try to act cool about it, but honestly, I'm losing sleep over it. I'm really self-conscious, and when I get upset people just laugh at me and say I'm "cute." What should I do? -- LOOKED DOWN UPON IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR LOOKED DOWN UPON: No one has the right to pick you up or touch you in a familiar way without your permission. If this is happening at school, tell the principal about it because it could be classified as a form of bullying. It will then become the school administrator's job to make clear to your classmates that their behavior is not appropriate. If it's happening outside of school, your parents should be told so they can help you put an end to it.
P.S. If you work to develop your mind, you can accomplish what many short people have done -- compensate by becoming a mental giant. Do that, and you'll become a role model that people of every size will look up to.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I are in a serious relationship. Not long ago we got on the topic of marriage and what we are looking for. He comes from a religious family and I do not. His mother says if we don't get married in a church with a religious ceremony, she won't consider me her daughter-in-law and we won't be a married couple.
I want a civil ceremony, something outside and casual. Thankfully, my boyfriend agrees with me. We're just not sure how to deal with his mom and her point of view. What should we do? -- LOOKING TO THE FUTURE IN NEW YORK
DEAR LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: What you should do depends upon to what degree you want to placate his mother. Having the casual ceremony you want in the setting of your choosing, and afterward having your union blessed in a clergyperson's study, might be a workable compromise.
DEAR ABBY: What is a polite way to say: "My husband is not a bum; he's a hardworking, stay-at-home dad until he can find a job that offers not only benefits, but also enough extra money to afford child care, and it's none of your business"? -- I BRING IN THE DOUGH, HE BAKES
DEAR BAKER'S WIFE: Don't get angry. Tell the person, "My husband is a very hard worker. His job took a vacation."
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)