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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I love my parents. They are thoughtful, intelligent people who supported (even encouraged) me to attend a good school on the East Coast. I now live with my boyfriend in Connecticut, where my job is located. He's 23; I am 22. We would like to start a family within the next five years, but I worry that our children will never see their grandparents on my side.

I grew up with both sets of grandparents nearby. They contributed so much to my personhood and upbringing that being without them would likely have been a detriment. The idea of my parents being strangers to my kids makes me sad and anxious.

I feel so guilty already that I want to be proactive in this. Barring the slim possibility of them moving here from Chicago, how can I help them be active grandparents when the time comes? How can I help my kids love and appreciate my parents as much as I loved my own grandma and grandpa, despite the distance? -- LONGING IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR LONGING: You may be getting ahead of yourself. Slow down. Take things one step at a time. Get married and start planning your family.

Many geographically separated families stay in contact by using video chat, but it's a poor substitute for actual human contact and shared interests. Because this bothers you to the degree that it does, discuss it with your parents. Not knowing the state of their finances or the degree of their freedom to travel, it's hard to guess how involved they may be with your children. However, if you, your boyfriend and they put your heads together, I'm sure you can arrive at a solution.

Read more in: Family & Parenting

DEAR ABBY: I have been friends with "Skip" for a very long time. Our lives have taken us on very different paths. We have always disagreed about certain philosophical issues, but now the divide in our opinions is huge.

Skip makes statements and posts items on social media that, in my opinion, are outrageous. Some of them appear to be merely contrarian. Several other friends have commented about his posts.

I am concerned about Skip because of the extreme nature of his posts, and I think some friends are concerned, too. Skip and I live far away from each other. His family doesn't live near him, so contacting them probably won't help. I am concerned that what I am seeing is beyond a difference of opinion, but I don't know what, if anything, to do about it. Do you have any suggestions? -- JUST POLITICS?

DEAR J.P.: If you are concerned about Skip's mental health, then regardless of his family's lack of geographic proximity, they should be told you are worried about him and why. If you are afraid he might engage in activity in which he could pose a danger to himself or others, notify the authorities. However, if this is simply a matter of being at opposite ends of the political spectrum, it may be time to snooze Skip's posts or block him entirely.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Health & Safety

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