I love my parents. They are thoughtful, intelligent people who supported (even encouraged) me to attend a good school on the East Coast. I now live with my boyfriend in Connecticut, where my job is located. He’s 23; I am 22. We would like to start a family within the next five years, but I worry that our children will never see their grandparents on my side.
I grew up with both sets of grandparents nearby. They contributed so much to my personhood and upbringing that being without them would likely have been a detriment. The idea of my parents being strangers to my kids makes me sad and anxious.
I feel so guilty already that I want to be proactive in this. Barring the slim possibility of them moving here from Chicago, how can I help them be active grandparents when the time comes? How can I help my kids love and appreciate my parents as much as I loved my own grandma and grandpa, despite the distance?
— LONGING IN CONNECTICUT
You may be getting ahead of yourself. Slow down. Take things one step at a time. Get married and start planning your family.
Many geographically separated families stay in contact by using video chat, but it’s a poor substitute for actual human contact and shared interests. Because this bothers you to the degree that it does, discuss it with your parents. Not knowing the state of their finances or the degree of their freedom to travel, it’s hard to guess how involved they may be with your children. However, if you, your boyfriend and they put your heads together, I’m sure you can arrive at a solution.
I have been friends with “Skip” for a very long time. Our lives have taken us on very different paths. We have always disagreed about certain philosophical issues, but now the divide in our opinions is huge.
Skip makes statements and posts items on social media that, in my opinion, are outrageous. Some of them appear to be merely contrarian. Several other friends have commented about his posts.
I am concerned about Skip because of the extreme nature of his posts, and I think some friends are concerned, too. Skip and I live far away from each other. His family doesn’t live near him, so contacting them probably won’t help. I am concerned that what I am seeing is beyond a difference of opinion, but I don’t know what, if anything, to do about it. Do you have any suggestions?
— JUST POLITICS?
If you are concerned about Skip’s mental health, then regardless of his family’s lack of geographic proximity, they should be told you are worried about him and why. If you are afraid he might engage in activity in which he could pose a danger to himself or others, notify the authorities. However, if this is simply a matter of being at opposite ends of the political spectrum, it may be time to snooze Skip’s posts or block him entirely.
My wife and I have a dilemma we don’t know how to handle. We both recently retired. Our sons (both married with children) live in other states. Since my wife and I no longer have family here, we are going to move close to one of our sons. Our dilemma,
They both want us to move near them, but they are 2,000 miles apart.
Both of the states they live in are similar in terms of taxes, home prices, cost of living, etc. We have decided where we would like to go and found a home to purchase. How do we tell our other son why we moved where we did? He’s going to be very hurt and feel that we favor his brother, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Both are financially stable (as are my wife and I), so that is not an issue.
I’m sure many people would feel blessed to have two sons who both want their parents close by. How do we tell one we picked the other?
— NEARBY IN CALIFORNIA
Do not tell either brother that you picked the one you did. You chose a LOCATION.
Why did you arrive at the decision you did? Make a list of the reasons you made your choice and recite them when you are asked. You are all adults. Your reasons are valid ones, and this should not be couched in terms of one son being loved better than the other, which is childish.
Seven years ago, I found out my husband hadn’t paid our mortgage and credit card bills for more than two years, and our home of 23 years was in preforeclosure. Once the secret was out, we managed to save the house (thankfully).
Problem is, I no longer trust my husband and often doubt what he says. My priority was to save our home, but now I am no longer sure I want to stay with him. Our 40th anniversary is this year, but I feel bitter and resentful about his irresponsible decisions. I want to leave, but I’m scared I am making the wrong decision. Help, please.
— MIXED UP IN wMASSACHUSETTS
DEAR MIXED UP,
Because I have no idea why your husband behaved so irresponsibly, you need to hash this out with a licensed marriage and family therapist. You should also consult an attorney. IF you decide to stay, it is imperative that you be in a position to closely monitor any financial actions and obligations in your household.
I like to jump on our neighbors’ trampoline when they’re out of town. I have been doing it for decades. Normally it’s no big deal, but last weekend they returned home earlier than usual and caught me in the act. Now my wife is ashamed to show her face around the neighborhood, and she’s blaming me for the whole thing.
Abby, I have a simple solution to this mess. If the neighbors don’t want me jumping on their trampoline, they should cough up the money for a privacy fence. Don’t you agree?
— BOUNCING INTO TROUBLE
If you are so jumpy and can’t keep your feet on the ground, it may be time to buy your own trampoline, which would save your wife a world of embarrassment.
Your comment about the neighbors building a fence may have been offered in jest, but it is sensible. If someone’s child were to play on that trampoline in their absence and be injured, your neighbor could wind up paying a lot more than the cost of a fence.