DEAR ABBY: I am a 68-year-old woman. For the past seven years, I have lived with my daughter, my only child. We have always had a great relationship, and now as adults we have a great friendship.
She and her husband recently separated, and she now has a boyfriend. She has an excellent job and has been talking lately about asking for a transfer to Florida, 900 miles away. I don’t want to move anywhere. I have a part-time job I love and I don’t want to give it up. All my family and friends live here.
My ex-son-in-law has offered for me to come live with him. We have always had a good relationship. So: Do I give up the rest of my life without seeing my only child every day and move in with her ex? Or do I move with her to Florida? In either case, I’ll have to give up my very specialized job that is not transferable. Help! — DECISIONS TO MAKE IN MARYLAND
DEAR DECISIONS: You and your daughter are not joined at the hip. While you won’t be able to be with her every day, there is no reason you can’t talk together on the phone or Skype. She should move alone to Florida and see how her relationship with her boyfriend works out, because there are no guarantees.
Since you and your former son-in-law are comfortable with the arrangement, give living with him a try. It says a lot about both of you that your relationship is such a warm one. If anything changes, re-evaluate your options then. But for now, some separation between you and your daughter might be good for both of you.
DEAR ABBY: My spouse and I are Buddhists, and we do not intend to raise our 2-year-old daughter as a Christian. We plan to teach her about various religions, but we want the opportunity to do so to be ours as parents. I have discussed this at length with my parents. Nevertheless, they insist on teaching her Christian songs even though I have asked them to stop.
I feel their refusal to follow my wishes on this matter is disrespectful. They had their opportunity to raise me the way they chose. Now it’s my turn to raise my child as I choose. How do I get them to take me seriously, short of telling them they can no longer see her? (I’d rather it not come to that.) — CHANTING FOR PATIENCE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
DEAR CHANTING: When are your parents teaching your child these songs? If they are doing it when she is with them without your supervision, limit their alone time with her.
That should work in the short term. But realize that you can’t shelter your daughter from Christianity and other religions forever, particularly as she grows older and the Christian holidays roll around with all the attendant marketing that surrounds them. Having awareness of and respect for other religions is important today, because not all people believe alike.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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