DEAR ABBY: I was an only child. I am 53 years old and have been married 33 years. All my life, my mother told me never to tell my maternal grandmother when our family had plans, because she would always "get sick" and spoil everything. For several months, my husband and I have been looking forward to a vacation in a cabin in the mountains. We have not had one mainly because of the illness and death of our son.
My mother has scheduled back surgery three days before our vacation. She had three choices, but selected that day. She keeps telling me not to cancel my vacation, but I know I will pay dearly if I don't. I will never hear the end of it.
We really need this time away. My husband cares for his invalid mother on a daily basis, and I have a very stressful job. We could use this time to gather our wits about us.
Should I cancel our plans and accept what I know is my responsibility, or go ahead and take a vacation and "face the music"? -- TORN IN KENTUCKY
DEAR TORN: Take the vacation you and your husband so sorely need. If your mother tries to lay a guilt trip on you when you return, don't take the bait. Calmly point out that she chose the date for her operation knowing when you were leaving, and she had other options.
If this sounds harsh, forgive me, but you must take care of yourself first, and your reasons for going are compelling.