DEAR ABBY: I am a 62-year-old grandfather of a 5-year-old granddaughter. The other day I had her for the entire day. I decided to make a list of the things we were to accomplish throughout the course of the day. It turned out to be a great success. After completing each task, she would ask, "What's next on the list?"
The first item, No. 1, was to do our "strong" (that's what we call exercise). No. 2 was to write her alphabet and numbers. No. 3 was to "go on an adventure" (that's what we call walking the dog and exploring the nearby field).
Nos. 4, 5 and 6 -- go to the bank, get the car washed, then go to the park to swing, slide, etc. After the park, she asked if we could go to our favorite restaurant across the street. I replied, "How did you know that was next on the list?" Her expression was priceless.
After lunch we went home and did No. 8 -- another adventure, which was take the dogs for a walk again. No. 9 was painting time (what 5-year-old doesn't like to paint?). After cleaning up it was time for No. 10, wash the dishes and Swiffer the floor. No. 11 she could choose something to do. We spent the next two hours playing with her dolls.
At about 5:30 my daughter came to pick her up from an exhausted grandpa. Lists will be part of our routine from now on. I slept like a log that night and hope to have many nights and days just like it in the future. -- GRANDPA ROBERT IN LEXINGTON, KY.
DEAR GRANDPA ROBERT: Your grandchild is lucky not only to have such a loving and dedicated grandpa, but also one with your stamina. I sometimes hear from grandparents -- and other adults -- who ask me for suggestions about how to better connect with their young children. Your letter is a road map that will take them in the right direction.
DEAR ABBY: During one of their "stay up all night drinking beer and talking" sessions six months ago, my husband, "Ralph," and his best friend of more than 20 years, "Jim," had a huge fight. They haven't spoken since.
Ralph has tried at least three times to contact Jim by phone and email with no response. If Ralph's version of the story is true, they both behaved badly. Ralph has sincerely tried to apologize, but Jim refuses to speak to him.
It breaks my heart to see how much this has upset my husband. I am still Facebook friends with Jim, and every time I see him online I'm tempted to say something to him, but so far I have resisted. Would it be crossing the line for me to reach out and see if he'll talk to me about this? Or should I stay out of it? -- HOPEFUL PEACEMAKER IN ARIZONA
DEAR HOPEFUL PEACEMAKER: I know you mean well, but it would be a mistake to put yourself in the middle. Whatever happened between your husband and his friend must have been a doozy.
You state that this happened during one of their all-night drinking and talking sessions. To me this indicates that one or both of them may have alcohol issues that need to be addressed. This is what should be mentioned, but only to your spouse. If the loss of his long-standing friendship has been painful enough, he may be willing to listen.
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