DEAR ABBY: My name is "Sunny," but I don't feel very sunny. I'm 13 and have many problems. I'm afraid I'm on a wrong track and won't be able to do what I know I should with my life. My grades aren't good, and I keep getting myself into hot water. My mother has a lot of health problems, so she doesn't need my problems on top of hers. I keep asking myself why this is happening to us.
Mother told me she wants me to live a life that will make me happy, and not let her poor health ruin my teen years. Is it wrong for me to enjoy these years and plan what I want to do with my future even though my mother is very sick? What can I do to get my life back on the right track? -- SUNNY IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
DEAR SUNNY: The most important thing you can do is stop feeling guilty for enjoying yourself. I can think of nothing that would make your mother happier than to know you are living your life to the fullest and exercising your potential.
Talk to a counselor at school about how to get your grade level back where it should be. If you are in with the wrong crowd, involve yourself in activities where you will make constructive and rewarding friendships. And most of all, share your victories with your mother. Share your concerns with her as well. It will make her -- and you -- feel better. Trust me on that.