DEAR ABBY: I am a man in my 40s. All my life I wanted nothing more than to get married and have a beautiful child. I have been in two relationships -- one for nine years and the other for 11 years.
I suppose it's unusual for a man to long for a child. My baby days are about over, yet I still long for one. I have adult stepchildren and grandchildren. We even fostered four children for two years. I love them all, yet I still feel so empty.
On top of it, my mother constantly says, "I wish you would make me a grandmother." I tell her my stepkids are her grandchildren, but she insists on grieving that I don't have a biological child. I am not able to, and I have explained it to her.
My wife tries to understand my pain but just can't. It causes distance between us, and she shuts down. How can I forget about these desires and move on with life? -- DADDY ISSUES IN INDIANA
DEAR DADDY ISSUES: I'm glad you reached out for guidance. Wanting biological children is a normal human desire, and it isn't limited to just one gender.
Some sessions with a mental health professional may not be able to make you forget your lifelong wish to be a biological father, but therapy could help you to move on with your life and past the pain you are feeling. With the help of your therapist, perhaps you can help your mother understand that venting her frustration over your inability to produce the grandchild of her dreams has been excruciating, and you need her to stop once and for all.
DEAR ABBY: I'm concerned about a friend of mine. When she was a child, her parents tried to raise her to be neat, but her bedroom, closets and bathroom were always a mess. Now that she has a home of her own and is married with kids, she's still the same. Clothing and towels are piled so deep on the floor you can't see it.
She has a housekeeper, and before the woman comes over to clean, my friend picks the stuff up. I don't know how they can tell what's clean or dirty when it has been walked on all week. The rest of the house is OK, but as you walk in the door, shoes are thrown here and there, like, "I'm home now. I'm free. Let it go. No rules." Her teenage daughter is now modeling the same behavior.
Is this some kind of disorder? To me, it would be just as easy to dump things into a hamper, on a shelf or in a drawer. Her husband is neat, and so is her son. I love her and it's none of my business, but is my way the wrong way? Am I the one with a disorder? -- ORDERLY IN ARKANSAS
DEAR ORDERLY: Your friend may have refused to be neat as a form of rebellion against her parents who, according to you, did not enforce the rules they set for her. It's not surprising the daughter is imitating her mother, which may come back to haunt her in a few years.
But none of you have a disorder. I do have a suggestion for you, however. Quit obsessing about your friend's sloppy household and parenting because there is nothing you can do about it.
TO MY READERS: I am wishing you a joyous and meaningful Christmas. Merry Christmas, everyone!
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