DEAR ABBY: I work and have a family and live five hours from where I grew up. My mom isn't in the best health and neither is her husband. While I try to visit as often as I can, she always wants me to visit more often, which I understand.
The problem is, she keeps asking us to leave our 5-year-old son with her for long weekends or to spend a week with her and her husband. They are good people, but both have physical limitations.
Would I let my son stay with them if one of them was still in good health? Yes. It is hard for me to explain to her my concern that my son would be too much for them to deal with at this point. If she has a series of good days, great. If she doesn't, we would have a problem, and I'd have to drive back to deal with it.
I have tried explaining nicely, and then other times more directly, that it isn't that I don't want her to spend time with her grandchildren. I'm tired of the guilt trips she tries to put on me. I'm also tired of her telling my son to "talk to your mom about staying with me for a week."
As a child, I was in my son's position, and I know how it affected me. I just wanted to see "Sara," and I thought Mom and Dad were mean for not letting me. I do not want my son to feel that way. He's a child, not a pawn in a game. Can you help me explain to my mom that my concern is for the safety of everyone involved? -- SAFETY FIRST
DEAR SAFETY FIRST: Have a series of talks with your little boy. He needs to understand that, although Grandma loves him and wants him to visit, she is not always well enough to look after him properly if he does, which is why you won't allow it. It isn't his fault, it isn't your fault, and it isn't Grandma's. If Grandma could come to visit you occasionally for a few days, it might give her more time with your boy and be good for both of them.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 46-year-old, single gay man. Although I've had a few crushes, I have never been deeply in love. I don't like going out to the bars and, because my town is extremely Catholic, there are only a couple of gay-friendly ones.
Is it OK to not be actively looking for love? Everyone I know keeps asking me if I have found someone, and I keep telling them I don't believe in love. I'm content. I don't do anything but work, so I always say I never have time.
Is there something wrong with being single all your life and not having a significant other? I have my cat to love, as well as my sisters. Does a person have to be with someone if they are content being alone? Yes, I would like to go out, but why does it have to be with a partner? -- CONTENT LONER IN MONTANA
DEAR LONER: If you are comfortable flying solo, it is perfectly acceptable to live your life that way. The people who are telling you otherwise may mean well, but you do not have to take it to heart. Live your life the way you want, do not second guess yourself and don't allow yourself to be pressured. If you are content, you are doing fine.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)