DEAR ABBY: I just found out my husband was arrested for being with a hooker. My in-laws (whom I love and adore) bailed him out of jail. No one said a word about it to me. I don't know how to confront all of them with the fact that I know about this "dirty little secret." What should I do? -- BETRAYED WIFE
DEAR BETRAYED: First, visit your gynecologist and ask to be tested for every STD known to man. Then invite your in-laws to a "family dinner," tell them the cat is out of the bag and ask why this was kept from you. And while you're at it, ask your mother-in-law (whom you love and adore) how SHE would feel if your father-in-law had possibly exposed her to an STD and it had been kept from her. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
DEAR ABBY: I'll bet this is an issue in many homes. When my son "Chet" graduated from high school, we gave him a very nice graduation party, which included his friends and family. He received many gifts.
I gave my son thank-you cards, stamps, and a detailed list of whom to send the cards to. So far, he has refused. Chet is normally thoughtful and considerate. I don't know what to do. I'm embarrassed by his lack of gratitude. I have told him we have received thank-yous from his friends and that the cards can be brief. Should I send the thank-you notes myself, or just let it go? -- EMBARRASSED MOM IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR MOM: If the amount of mail I receive from readers complaining that their gifts are not acknowledged is an accurate barometer, your problem is very common. Without being confrontational, ask your son why he refuses to thank the people who gave him gifts. If the answer is he doesn't know what to say and he's embarrassed that he has procrastinated, offer to help him by making suggestions. You're right; the thank-yous don't have to be lengthy. But DO NOT write them for him. Chet is a big boy and the responsibility is his.
DEAR ABBY: I am a divorced, single woman in my 50s. I love my grandchildren dearly but am faced with a dilemma. I work full-time and take my grandchildren some nights and on the one day I have off -- usually on weekends.
I can't plan things on a weekend without feeling I have made it difficult for my son and his wife to find someone to watch their children. Her mom, a stay-at-home wife, watches them several days a week.
I want to continue spending time with my grandkids, but I also want the freedom to be there when I choose to be. I realize finding a sitter you can afford and trust to watch your children is a challenge. I have tried talking to my son, but it doesn't seem to get through to him. I know I need to do something, but what? I'm afraid I won't see the kids at all if I take a stand. -- LADY ON THE LAKE IN MICHIGAN
DEAR LADY: Check your calendar and plan some time for yourself -- one or two weekends a month. Then tell your son and his wife which ones you will be AVAILABLE. Free baby-sitting services are hard to come by, and you are not giving yourself enough credit. If the unspoken threat is that it's "all or nothing," then, frankly, you should step back further and let your son and daughter-in-law shoulder even more responsibility for the children they brought into this world.
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