DEAR ABBY: My young son and his wife split up nine months ago. Paige had a troubled past and unfortunate parenting. We took her in while they were dating Paige had just turned 18 and my husband and I finished parenting her.
Abby, Paige cheated on our son, began drinking and using drugs, and broke up another mans family. There were three children involved, and it was ugly. Our son was willing to go to marriage counseling Paige refused. Since then, she has lost a good job and begun stripping, leaving our son deeply in debt because of her spending.
My son has begun rebuilding his life. He got a couple of roommates so he could hold onto his little home, and I know he is better off without her. I, however, am having a hard time. I loved and love Paige like she was my own child. I miss her spirit and her goodness, which was misplaced because of the drugs and alcohol. My son wants absolutely nothing more to do with her, but what do I do about MY pain? She called us last month, and my husband just about hung up on her. I dont want to disrespect my sons wishes, but Im torn. Is this normal?
DEAR FUTURE EX-M.I.L.: Considering that you welcomed Paige into your home and she became like a daughter to you, Id say your feelings are normal. You are grieving for the child you lost and for the relationship that might have been.
Because your son has decided to go on with his life without this troubled young woman, my advice to you is to let him do that. You cant save your former daughter-in-law; only she can do that. In the meantime, get counseling if you need to, to help you through this difficult period. The pain will pass with time. Trust me on that.
DEAR ABBY: At several parties I have attended recently, other guests have felt it appropriate to bring their dogs with them. Occasionally they compare their dog with their child, saying that other people brought their kids, so they did too. However, if someones human child sniffed the crotches of, jumped up on, licked and shed on or wiped dirt on the clothing of other guests, they would obviously be unwelcome at the party.
Im not alone in feeling this way often the hosts do, too. Whenever anyone has hinted at not being a dog lover, they have been instantly labeled an animal hater, a crime likened by many to be equal to animal abuse.
I have seen this occur throughout the United States and in American communities abroad, in a wide variety of social circles and classes, so Im writing to you in hopes that you will spread the word. When attending a party at a dog-free home, the other guests expect and deserve, in my humble opinion the party to be dog-free as well.
DEAR MR. C: It is my humble opinion that no one should bring an animal to anyones home unless permission has first been sought from, and granted by, the hosts. And an excellent way to keep from being jumped on, licked and sniffed by an animal is to sprinkle a dash of cayenne pepper on ones clothing.
For the record, I am an animal lover but its far easier to love an animal that has been taught good manners than one that hasnt. (And the same goes for children.)
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I recently moved into our first house after five years of apartment living. We love our new home and have just unpacked the last box and settled in.
There has been just one bone of contention in our otherwise happy living situation. I have 15 to 20 small- to medium-sized stuffed animals that I enjoy having around. My husband insists they not be visible at all in our home. He says it looks like I havent grown up and am living in the past. Hes embarrassed to have any visitors see them.
Abby, I dont want to display these toys in the living room. They are upstairs in my personal space. Your opinion, please.
DEAR UPSET: A compromise is in order. Corral the animals and keep them in a display cabinet in your personal space. That way your husband wont be crowded with dust-catchers, and you can have your sentimental keepsakes close by.
P.S. It would be interesting to know how you came by all those stuffed animals. If they were gifts from your husband, he has no right to complain. If they were gifts from old boyfriends, however, he may have a valid point.
DEAR ABBY: I am an avid reader a true book lover. Sometimes I like to share my favorite books with friends. Right now, I have loaned out about 20 books to various people. I am sure I placed a name and address in each one to be sure I would get it back.
It has been almost two years, Abby, and the books have not been returned.
When you loan someone a book, its because you really enjoyed it. You may want to read it again or pass it on to others. I dont know how people can be so neglectful about returning things that dont belong to them.
If you print this, it may jog the memories of the guilty people who have borrowed items and dont think they have to return them. Im sure others feel as I do that if you lend something out, it does not give the person the right to keep it indefinitely.
DEAR BOOK LOVER: Im printing your letter, but please dont count on the guilty repenting of their sins of omission. In the future, I strongly recommend that you keep a list of the books you loan out, the dates they were loaned, and the names of the borrowers. That way you can call and ask to have your property returned. Im sad to say that many people simply do not respect the property of others the way they do their own.
DEAR ABBY: How does one respectfully decline being included in a will which your mother holds over you? I would like not to be included, but I would also like to come across as sincere and respectful without causing more animosity.
WANTS TO OPT OUT
DEAR WANTS TO OPT OUT: Write your mother a love letter. List the good things she has done for you in your life, and your gratitude for the lessons she has taught you. At the end, state: You have mentioned many times the fact that you have included me in your will. However, because you have already given me so much, I respectfully ask that you leave your estate to other family and friends who need it.