DEAR ABBY: I found your response to the twins whose divorced father would not continue child support payments or pay for higher education to be factually accurate, but a bit narrow in its vision.
My wife left her home state 10 years ago for a much better job. After a child custody battle that almost bankrupted her, she was forced to leave her 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter with her ex-husband. Despite a court order, her son refused to fly up to see her after the first few visits and was rarely available when she flew there. Football, basketball, friends -- all held more importance than his mother. Despite her never missing a holiday gift, I can count on one hand the number of phone calls or thank-yous she has received. Care to guess how many times they forgot her birthday?
When it came time for him to choose a college, my wife offered to assist with tuition if he considered an Ivy League school or the school from which she and her former husband graduated. She was chastised for trying to "force" him to attend a college he did not wish to.
Perhaps the twins should examine how they treated their father while the child support was paid consistently every month. Sounds like Dad held up his end. Maybe they should examine whether theirs was held up equally well.
By the way, do you remember that classic letter you answered many years ago with, "How old will you be in four years if you don't?" Thanks to that answer, my wife graduated from medical school three years ago at the age of 42, and she hasn't regretted ANY of her decisions since she decided to get divorced. She's one smart lady, and I'm immensely proud of her. -- BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
DEAR BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: Please extend my belated congratulations to your wife. Your pride in her achievements is more than justified. It's sad that her son missed out on knowing his mother better, because she's a remarkably accomplished woman. He would have been enriched had the relationship been encouraged, and I don't mean monetarily.