DEAR ABBY: For the last eight years I have been the mother of a star in our local high school. When one of my boys would graduate, the next would take over and be even more athletic or musically talented -- and in my youngest son's case, both.
Now that they are gone I can't stand hearing other parents talk about their children's accomplishments. I also can't stop myself from making some comment about how my sons were better. I know it's wrong, but I still do it.
Sporting events make me sad and my husband depressed. Is this empty nest? We can't seem to figure out how to move on. Have you any suggestions? More children are out of the question. -- SPOTLIGHTS DIMMED IN OHIO
DEAR S.D.: When people peer too long into a spotlight -- whether directly or the reflected glare of someone nearby -- it diminishes their vision for a period of time after the light is extinguished. What you may fail to see is that all parents are proud of their kids, and if you continue to compare other people's children unfavorably with your own, you will soon be as welcome as a polecat at a garden party.
This is why I urge you and your husband to take a little time, refocus your attention to children less fortunate than your own, and invest some of your energy in other youths who need the encouragement and support you can give. If you do, you will be rewarded many times over.