DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have worked hard all our lives and raised three wonderful children. She's retired now, but still works part time at another job. I plan to retire in three years. We are at a point in our lives that we can take weekend trips and one or two vacations a year. It's our way of unwinding and enjoying each other.
The problem? My mother. Dad died a few years ago and Mom thinks everyone should think only of her. I am the oldest of three brothers and, trust me, Abby, all of us in the family do far more for her than most families would. That doesn't stop Mom from throwing hints around about feeling left out when my wife and I don't include her in our getaways.
Mom is on the go all the time, but to hear her tell it, she sits at home by herself day after day. When we call her, all she does is complain that no one ever calls or comes to see her. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have a schedule so that someone in the family calls her every morning and afternoon. Help! -- FRUSTRATED SON IN NASHVILLE
DEAR SON: Your mother may be shoveling the guilt your way, but why are you taking it to heart? Complaining may be her way of making conversation. Don't make excuses and don't take it personally. And if you want to include her occasionally, by all means do so.