Dear Abby: May I have some advice about a touchy subject? One of my boyfriend’s close friends is going through his third bout with cancer and the prognosis is not good. He is married with a healthy 3-year-old son. So imagine our surprise when his wife announced she’s pregnant.
This is a decision we do not support. I don’t know what they’re thinking, but if you are facing the reality that your spouse will not be around much longer, we don’t feel it is wise to bring another child into the world who will never know his or her father.
Some of her close friends want to throw her a “sprinkle,” and although I am only an acquaintance, I have been invited. How do I handle this? Should I attend and keep my thoughts to myself, decline and/or send a small gift in my absence? I have a hard time making small talk about subjects I don’t agree with.
Did I mention she does nothing but complain about how hard her life is now? I’m afraid if I go and get involved, I'll be on the hook down the road when she wants to complain about how hard it is to raise two children alone.
Isn’t My Choice
Feeling as you do, decline the invitation. This woman needs friends around her during this painful and traumatic time, and you do not qualify. To send a small gift would be both thoughtful and kind, because I am sure her life is extremely difficult now.
As to this couple having made a decision with which you do not agree, allow me to point out that not all pregnancies are planned, and this may be one of them.
Dear Abby: My folks are in their mid-70s and have health problems. My oldest niece, “Riley,” will graduate from high school next spring and is considering going to a college near them. My parents recently told me that my brother is suggesting Riley move in with them.
The girl has some behavioral issues and is in counseling. She’s not an easy, happy or normal kid. My parents are extremely uncomfortable with the idea, but have not said anything to my brother. I think they are afraid of a fight or causing hurt feelings. He is in denial about his daughter's problems.
I’m concerned about my parents. At their age, I don’t think it’s fair to expect them to have another teenager in their home, much less one with issues. Is it my place to say something, and if so, what do I say?
Looking Out for Mom and Dad
You should definitely say something, but not to your brother. Talk with your parents. Remind them that if they’re not OK with the arrangement your brother has proposed, it’s their responsibility to make plain that because of their ages and their health problems they’ll be unable to accommodate his request. Because it’s the truth, it shouldn’t cause an argument or hurt feelings. Also, your brother will have plenty of advance notice that other living arrangements will have to be made for Riley.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.