DEAR ABBY: In a few months, my husband's 10-year-old twin grandchildren are coming to live with us while their mother serves her time for felony DUI. My husband and I are in our 60s and have never met them before.
We have tried to avoid contact with their mother because the encounters were generally unpleasant. She alternated between being bitter and hateful, and desperately calling for financial help because she's a single mother with four children. She alienated her own mother and it looked like the younger children would wind up with child protective services if we didn't step up and offer a temporary home with us.
The new circumstances will require the four of us to make some big adjustments, but we believe it will enrich our lives, too. My dilemma is what do we tell the kids when they inevitably ask why we have been absent in their lives? I can't bring myself to tell them the truth about the way we feel. -- CAUGHT OFF GUARD GRANDMA
DEAR CAUGHT OFF GUARD: Having lived with their mother, your husband's grandchildren probably understand very well the reason for her felony DUI. Be honest and explain to them that you weren't around because their mother didn't make you feel welcome. Then assure them that you have always loved them, that you are here for them now and will be in the future if they would like you to be.