DEAR ABBY: I'm 17 and a junior in high school. My family has recently been hit with hard times. We lost our home and are living in a motel, and I am struggling with depression. I haven't attended school since last September. However, I am feeling well enough to the point where I'd like to start attending school again.
I would be willing to take more than six periods and, if necessary, I would be willing to attend summer school. I want to graduate from high school, but I don't know if that's possible.
My mother has never been OK with any decisions I have made, so I don't know how to tell her. I don't want to disappoint her, but I do want to do this. Any advice you are willing to give would be appreciated! -- ANONYMOUS GIRL
DEAR GIRL: You are clearly an intelligent young woman, and your determination to finish school is something that should be supported by all of the adults in your life. If possible, go back to the school you were attending and talk with a counselor or the principal about your family's circumstances -- including your struggle with depression. Whether you can resume studies at your former school may depend upon whether the motel you're staying in is within the district. But a counselor should be able to help you to transfer if that becomes necessary.
I wish you the best of luck. Your mother should be proud of you because I certainly am.
DEAR ABBY: I am pregnant with my third child. There has been a large gap between baby No. 2 and baby No. 3. With my second child, my husband and I were just starting out and used hand-me-downs. But now we are established and can purchase items to suit our preferences.
Many well-meaning family members and friends have started inundating us with hand-me-downs (some ask first; others are just dropping things off). I really don't want any of these items. However, I don't want to seem ungrateful or rude because the well-wishers seem so excited to give me these things. The way I was raised, I have a hard time turning down offers such as these. How do I kindly tell these people I don't want their hand-me-downs? -- CONFLICTED IN PHILLY
DEAR CONFLICTED: Thank the donors warmly for their thoughtfulness and generosity, and say you already have all the things you need for the new baby. It is not necessary to allude to the fact they are "hand-me-downs." If the person insists on giving them to you anyway, donate them to a charity such as a homeless shelter. (Warning: To avoid possible hurt feelings, do NOT include them in a yard sale.)
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