DEAR ABBY: My sister-in-law, a mother of four, just had a miscarriage at five months. I have no idea what to say to her or my nieces and nephews. "Sorry" doesn't seem to suffice. Her 6-year-old was ecstatic about the new baby. The family is crushed. My husband (her brother) was in tears, and I didn't know what to say to him either.
I have never been able to easily express my emotions. In emotional situations I just go blank and my mind shuts down. I am always at a loss for words, and I feel like it's disconnecting me from relationships. Any advice? -- WITHOUT WORDS
DEAR WITHOUT WORDS: When people stay silent, it can be mistaken for lack of caring, when sometimes it happens because the emotions are so overwhelming they can't be put into words. So why not just be honest? You don't have to be a poet, but you do have to say something. Because these are your in-laws, who presumably know you, I'm sure it would be appreciated if you simply said, "You know I have trouble expressing my emotions, but please know how sorry I am for your loss."
DEAR ABBY: I've always dreamed about getting a horse, so I saved up all the money I earned as a kid and finally bought one a year ago. I named her "Springtime," and I love her. She's great. But now I am ready to venture out into the world, and I'm forced to make a decision. Do I give her to a loving home with people who have more time to spend with her, so I can go to college and move to a different state with my boyfriend, who has two years left in the Marine Corps? Or do I keep her and stay at the job I have now and keep doing what I do?
Please give me some advice because, right now, I have no one else to help me with this decision, and it's a hard one. -- KELSEA IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR KELSEA: I know it's a hard decision to make, but right now your priority must be to finish your education. Start by asking around the "horse community" if someone would be interested in buying Springtime and can give her a good home. Also put the word out at the stable where you have been boarding her. Your veterinarian may also be able to offer you helpful suggestions. However, if they can't help you, contact a horse rescue group to find a safe home for your horse. I wish you luck.
DEAR ABBY: My cousin's son is 4 and a picky eater. We love to try new restaurants and cuisines. When we go out to eat, she sometimes brings along a PB&J for her child. Is this acceptable? I always feel a little awkward about it, but then I think the restaurant would rather have us come with something he can eat rather than go to a different restaurant. In her defense, she does have him try the restaurant's food before she produces the sandwich. -- AWKWARD DINER
DEAR AWKWARD DINER: I think it's perfectly acceptable. Look at it this way: Which is preferable -- a child with his mouth full of a PB&J sandwich he's enjoying, or one who's loudly complaining that the food is awful and he doesn't want to eat it?
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)