DEAR ABBY: I just read the letter from "Expecting in Canada" (Sept. 8) and am disappointed in her daughters' reaction to her pregnancy, as were you.
My own mother announced she was pregnant with my baby brother when she was 42 and my sister and I were in college. Now, 46 years later, I can say he is one of the best things that ever happened to our family. He took great care of both my parents as they grew older and was with them when each passed away. My sister and I are very close to him, even though we nicknamed him "the crown prince" and teased him because that's how my parents treated him.
I hope "Expecting's" daughters will eventually embrace this great gift. If they don't, they may miss out on a wonderful experience and a lot of love. -- ELDER SISTER OF THE CROWN PRINCE
DEAR ELDER SISTER: Thank you for your letter. Readers wrote to share their personal experiences as you did. Most agreed that having a child with older parents and siblings can be a life-changing event. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I was a surprise baby. My birth mother was 40 and my birth father was 67. My sisters were 15 and 16. The older one was not happy; the younger one loved having a baby sister.
As fate would have it, my mother died when I was 7 years old. My father was too old to care for a child, so my older sister, the one who hadn't been thrilled with my arrival, and her husband became my "parents." Not every day was perfect, but my life was very blessed.
My sister, whom I called Momma, became ill in her 60s, and my brother-in-law, whom I called Daddy for the rest of his life, also had health problems. I became their "legs" for many errands. When Daddy died I became Momma's primary caregiver.
I would like those two girls to know that the little "intruder" may just be the one who takes care of them someday. I'm shocked that the parents would even entertain the idea of giving the baby away. -- JUDY IN LOUISIANA
DEAR ABBY: When I was a junior in high school, my mother told me she was pregnant. I was disgusted and angry, and I told her so. As I reflect back on it, I'm mortified that I could be so cruel. After giving it more thought, I realized I was annoyed to think my parents were sexual beings.
Teenagers that age are just coming to terms with their own sexuality. They can also be somewhat selfish and self-absorbed. While it may be a family matter to some extent, it really is between the mother and father.
My little brother is very close to me now and, more important, close to my children, who are nearer in age to him. I hope that mother won't let the temporary opinion of the daughters ruin a beautiful experience of a shared love. -- CHERYL IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR ABBY: "Expecting" should ask her daughters to be a part of the baby's life, such as going to doctor's appointments, picking out clothes, decorating the room, giving name suggestions and having them participate in a baby shower. -- STEPHANIE IN ILLINOIS
DEAR ABBY: When my mother was 42, my baby brother was born. I was 17 when I became his nanny and learned how to take care of a baby. It was an experience that made me more mature. After I married, I was never able to have my own children.
Please don't listen to your daughters. I know what it's like. Perhaps they are jealous that they have to share their parents. My mom and dad were the oldest parents at PTA meetings, graduations, etc., but they were proud of my younger brother. Many times people thought they were the grandparents. We shared many laughs during those years. -- EILEEN IN WEST VIRGINIA