DEAR ABBY: I am in my mid-20s, male, an only child, and I came late in life.
Both of my parents are disabled -- one with a host of ailments, and the other with a very bad back. Both are on disability and don't do well on their own.
I made a decision early in young adulthood to drop out of high school and take care of my parents. I got a part-time job and stayed home the rest of the time to help with "around-the-house chores." I have stayed with my parents now for quite a while, and they are mostly dependent on me.
At the risk of sounding selfish, I know they won't be around much longer, and I don't want to be stuck holding the bag when they pass on, with no high school diploma, no higher education and only part-time employment experience.
Don't get me wrong. I love my parents with all my heart, and I don't want to leave them high and dry. What can I do? -- GOING NOWHERE IN IDAHO
DEAR GOING NOWHERE: As loving a son as you are, you should never have dropped out of high school, and your parents were wrong to let you. The time has come to repair some of the damage that was done.
You do not have to leave your parents high and dry in order to get your GED. You can do that while working part-time and living at home. Please contact your former high school and find out what programs it offers at night for adults. Once you have your GED, you should explore a community college or trade school so you can get the higher education you have missed.
You are a loving and generous son to have shouldered so much responsibility so early in life. However, it is extremely important that you begin taking care of yourself now in addition to your parents.