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by Abigail Van Buren

Undivided Attention Is Rare For Busy Mom

DEAR ABBY: I love my sister and enjoy chatting with her, but our schedules make it difficult to connect. When we do speak, her husband often interjects or starts another conversation with her, as if she isn't on the phone. She also settles spats between her toddlers and other things her husband could manage while we're talking.

When this happens I say, "I can tell you're tied up. Can we talk later when things settle down?" Her reply: "We can talk now. Things are always crazy around here."

As it stands, we speak only a few times a year, and I'd like her undivided attention. I have tried bringing this up a number of times, but she feels life doesn't stand still for anyone.

Is it too much to ask for 30 minutes, three times a year? We live several states apart, so having a face-to-face isn't an option. Any help would be appreciated, because I'm hurt. -- MISSING MY SISTER IN GEORGIA

DEAR MISSING YOUR SISTER: I don't blame you for feeling hurt, because apparently your sister isn't interested in having the kind of contact you would like. It may be that her husband is ultra-controlling -- hence the constant interruptions from him -- or that her household is so disorganized she's in the middle of a whirlwind.

If you haven't already, write her a letter and express your feelings. It's one way of getting your thoughts across without being interrupted. I don't think 30 minutes three times a year is a lot to ask of her. Propose setting a specific time to talk when her kids and husband aren't around. Then cross your fingers and hope she sees the light.

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