DEAR ABBY: I am a 38-year-old mom and have been single for the last 10 years. I live alone with my 11-year-old daughter and support us without assistance. I work full-time and rely on my mother to take my daughter to school and pick her up while I'm at work.
Because of this, anytime I try to have any kind of relationship with a man, my mother turns against me. She acts like I no longer exist as long as I try to have a love life. Please give me some advice on what to do. -- MISSING SOMETHING IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR MISSING SOMETHING: I'll try. It is time to become less emotionally dependent on your mother. At age 38, you do not need her blessing to date, and you should make that fact clear to her. If she punishes you for expecting to be treated like the adult you are, then arrange other transportation for your daughter. As long as you allow her to run your life, you will not have a life of your own.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter and I had a little disagreement the other night when I entered a restaurant holding my seven-day pill container in my hand. (I had decided to leave my bulky purse in the car.) When we sat down, I placed the container on the table next to my place setting. Doing this helps me to remember to take the pills with my meal.
My daughter said it was "tacky" to show my pills and container. I feel it wasn't tacky at all, but my way of taking care of my health. After going back and forth on this subject, I told her I would get your opinion. My husband took my daughter's side. -- LOOKING OUT FOR MY HEALTH IN ESCONDIDO, CALIF.
DEAR LOOKING: Allow me to even up the odds by taking your side. Certain medications must be taken with food, and if bringing the pill container with you ensured that you wouldn't forget to take your dose in a timely manner, then more power to you. That your daughter and your husband would criticize your manners in a case like this troubles me more than any "breach of etiquette" that might have occurred. And, by the way, what you did wasn't one.
DEAR ABBY: You sometimes publish letters regarding random acts of kindness. I know people like to share how blessed they are that others have given to them. Well, I would like to share how being the giver is a blessing as well.
My children and I eat lunch out on Saturdays. Most recently, we went to one of our favorite restaurants. As we were being seated, I noticed an elderly gentleman eating alone. He read the paper, ate his meal and kept to himself. I was struck by how alone he seemed to be. All during the lunch, I couldn't shake the feeling that I should reach out.
Finally, I gave in. I went to the counter and paid for his meal.
When the waitress brought our check to the table, she asked if we knew the man. I responded no, that we just wanted to do something nice. She then confided to me that he was a regular there, but she hadn't seen him lately because he had just lost his wife.
Abby, I was so glad I had followed my heart and reached out. I can only pray that he was as pleased by my anonymous gift as I was to give it. -- RECEIVING BY GIVING IN ILLINOIS
DEAR RECEIVING BY GIVING: I'm sure he was. Your letter illustrates the pleasure that comes when we follow the dictates of our hearts. I applaud your generous gesture.