DEAR ABBY: It’s Father’s Day. Maybe now is the time for people to forgive, forget and remember how wonderful their dad was when they were growing up.
I am dating a man whose two grown children live out of state. He and his wife divorced when the kids were young, and he tried hard to keep a good relationship with them. But even with the best intentions, there are sometimes obstacles that get in the way. He loved being a father and tells me stories about singing songs to his kids at bedtime and getting down on the floor to play with them. I can see how much he loves them and how painful it is for him to not have them in his life. He has no idea why they are distant.
I suggested he ask them directly what happened. He said he has tried, with no response. I’m not saying he’s a perfect man, but he is kind, generous and loving. He has many more good qualities than bad. He hasn’t heard much from his children for several years, and I think the best gift he could receive this Father’s Day would be a simple phone call. No card or necktie would mean as much. Life is short and precious. Holding on to negativity or the past is so much more work than letting it go and forgiving, and it’s good for the soul. — WISE LADY FROM THE MIDWEST
DEAR WISE LADY: If your boyfriend was present in his children’s lives in spite of the divorce while they were growing up, it’s possible they may be so involved in their own lives that they have “forgotten” their dad might appreciate hearing from them. Feeling as you do, continue to encourage him to reach out to his kids.
DEAR ABBY: I incurred a big mortgage two years ago by choice. As a result of the larger payments, I have had little discretionary income to spend. Both of my parents went into the hospital recently. Fortunately, they were discharged after only a few days. My sister has now decided we should all go on a family vacation, mainly because we don’t know how much longer our parents will be alive.
I am all for going on a family vacation, but the one she wants will cost more than $7,000 for my family of four. When I told her I can’t afford it, she laid a heavy guilt trip on me. She said I made a bad mistake incurring a big debt, and accused me of not caring about my parents. It has gotten so bad that I don’t want to talk to her anymore because she will continue to harp on it. What should I do? — FRUSTRATED IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
DEAR FRUSTRATED: You’re handling this about as well as can be expected. The debt has already been incurred. Because of your current financial obligations, you can’t afford the vacation your sister has in mind. Either Sissy will have to plan something more affordable, or your family will be unable to participate. That’s reality.
DEAR READERS: Allow me to wish a Happy Father’s Day to fathers everywhere — birth fathers, stepfathers, adoptive and foster fathers, grandfathers, and all of those caring men who mentor children and fill the role of absent dads. I applaud you all. — Love, ABBY
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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