DEAR ABBY: My husband and I relocated to a warmer climate a few years ago, putting us more than 1,000 miles away from my adult children. The kids all seem to think this trip was just for fun, and continue to ask me to "come home."
All three of them are busy with their own well-rounded lives, and the last few years we were there, their visits became less frequent and shorter. We are now in a state that is much more economical than our home state, and our health and well-being have greatly improved. How do I let them know, once and for all, that I AM home? -- LOVING THE SOUTHWEST
DEAR LOVING THE SOUTHWEST: A way to let them know would be to explain that the move has been a positive experience for you and your husband, so much so that your health has improved. Tell them the added bonus is that your living expenses have gone down, and with them, any stress about finances.
Let them know they are welcome to visit when it's convenient for all of you. But do NOT make it about the fact that when you lived close by, their visits became fewer and shorter, which would be regarded as a guilt trip. If you have other friends and relatives where your children live, it's likely you may be visiting that area occasionally, too.Read more in: Family & Parenting
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I recently gained custody of my younger half-brother after a nasty legal battle with my father and stepmother. While we abhor what led to this, we are delighted my brother is in our home and our lives. With the exception of his parents, so is everyone else in our families.
My brother will be coming with us to family gatherings that include my dad and stepmother. Most of the family is not privy to the circumstances that led to this situation, and I'm sure questions will come up. My brother has PTSD from it, and talking about it right now is difficult for him. He's in therapy and receiving help, but how can we dissuade potentially upsetting questions without things being weird? -- PROTECTIVE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR PROTECTIVE: A way to accomplish it would be to have a private talk with your relatives before these events. Explain what happened and that your brother is receiving help but is in too much pain right now to answer any questions, which is why you prefer the subject not be mentioned.Read more in: Family & Parenting | Mental Health | Holidays & Celebrations
DEAR ABBY: I'm responding to "Not Just Mary, in the South" (Nov. 10), the lady whose name is Mary Lou but is continually called only Mary, even though she prefers being called by her full name. I had the same problem.
My name is Mary Ann, but I was constantly called Mary, which I hated. To solve the problem, I combined the names and started writing my name as one word -- Maryann. Since then, I have never again been called Mary.
By the way, when I also had to give the initial of my middle name, because the "A" was no longer available, I started using "B," which is the first letter of my maiden name. Mary Lou should try this, and I hope it is as effective for her as it was for me. -- MARYANN IN TENNESSEE
DEAR MARYANN: I'm printing your letter because it included the most frequently mentioned suggestion by other readers, and also because it makes perfect sense. Thank you for sharing.Read more in: Miscellaneous
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