DEAR ABBY: My daughter has decided to leave her husband. They have been married for 20 years. She says she hasn’t been happy for several years and that it’s time to take care of herself. She won’t be able to support herself and the children, but she doesn’t seem able to grasp that reality. When I voice my concerns, she gets angry with me. She’s determined to go forward with this separation and says her kids will be “fine.” I say that’s bull! She has also embraced an exercise and eating plan that seems radical to me and has a life coach who is also a psychic. I think she’s having a midlife crisis.
If it weren’t for what this is going to do to my grandchildren, I’d keep my mouth shut, but I’m sick with worry. Her siblings think she has lost her mind, so she has pretty much cut herself off from the family. When she became frustrated because she wasn’t able to qualify for a house she wanted to rent, she lashed out at me. I’m waiting for an apology, but I’m realistic that I’ll probably never get one. I feel like I’m in mourning over the loss of this child. What do I do? — SHAKEN UP IN TEXAS
DEAR SHAKEN UP: Your daughter is an adult. By now you must have realized you can no longer control her behavior. For the sake of your own mental health, accept that she’s going to make her own mistakes. Do not accept financial responsibility for your daughter. Be as supportive of your grandchildren as you can be, because at some point you may have to take them in.
As for her “psychic life coach,” you should know that unlike physicians, psychologists and social workers, life coaches do not belong to any organization that requires them to adhere to ethical standards. Your daughter should be made aware that there may be some risk involved in placing her future in that person’s hands.
DEAR ABBY: A dear friend and I decided to visit our old friend, “Carol,” who has been in an assisted living facility for a year. Carol has some dementia, but we took her — arm in arm — to a pizza restaurant at our mall. After we were seated and browsing the menu, a very handsome gentleman approached our table. He said we reminded him of his mother and insisted on treating us to dinner. We thanked him, he laid down a $100 bill and disappeared. We enjoyed a great dinner and left the change ($35) for the server. We would like to thank that nice gentleman again. He made our day. — GRATEFUL IN GEORGIA
DEAR GRATEFUL: Your letter made MY day. Occasionally, I print letters about acts of kindness, and yours definitely qualifies. You and your friend were performing a good deed by taking your friend for lunch, and it was paid forward in record time. It’s nice knowing there are good people out there. Thank you for sharing.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)