DEAR ABBY: I am a single mother of two biracial daughters ages 2 and 4. They fill my life with joy and I am thankful to be their mother. My problem is, I haven't been able to face my family members since the birth of my second child.
My family has strong Christian roots, and I know they were disappointed when they heard about another unplanned pregnancy. This isn't the first time I have disappointed them. I smoked a lot of marijuana as a teen and young adult. I straightened my life out during my late 20s.
I miss my family very much, and I also feel my children are missing out by not knowing them. My parents passed away many years ago. My children's father was beaten to death days before my youngest daughter was born. My aunts and uncles are all I have left, and it breaks my heart to think we have lost them, too. How should I handle this without getting my heart broken? -- MISSISSIPPI MOMMY
DEAR MOMMY: Did these aunts and uncles have children, or are they childless? If you have cousins, consider reaching out to them first, because their views may be less conservative than their parents'. If your family's Christian roots are as strong as you say they are, they should be both welcoming and forgiving, and embrace your children in their loving family circle.
However, if they are not, then it would be better for your little girls if they were not exposed to them. I have advised in the past that sometimes people have to live their own lives and create their own families. If your relatives are rejecting, that is what you will have to do, not only for your daughters' sake but also for your own.Read more in: Family & Parenting
DEAR ABBY: I have been getting together with a group of ladies for many years now. Husbands and boyfriends are welcome but rarely come. We enjoy meeting at each other's houses and at restaurants every few months.
We are having a problem with one member, "Gail," who is envious of "Rose," a still-beautiful former model. Gail has been making remarks that Rose "must have had work done" on her face to be able to retain her looks for so long. (I think it is a combination of good genes, sunscreen and incredible bone structure.)
What Rose has or hasn't done is none of Gail's business. Rose is aware of Gail's jealousy, and it puts a damper on our good times and our caring attitudes toward each other. We wish Gail would drop out. Her remarks need to stop. Have you any ideas on how we can deal with this problem? -- CLUB MEMBER IN THE SOUTHWEST
DEAR CLUB MEMBER: I sure do. The person closest to Gail needs to tell her, privately, that the catty comments make everyone uncomfortable, and if she doesn't stop she will no longer be welcome in the group.Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)