DEAR ABBY: Our mom just turned 100, and she is in good health. I threw a big birthday celebration to honor this amazing woman. My brother and I were adopted as infants. She gave us a fabulous childhood, and we grew up to be responsible adults.
My brother, who’s retired, lives 6 miles from Mom, but he never goes to see her or offers any type of help he is capable of doing. He thinks a daily phone call is enough. He didn’t even show up to her birthday party. I live 40 miles from Mom. I leave early for work to spend time with her each morning.
My brother and I do not talk, so how do I get the point across that he needs to spend TIME with her? If I mention it to Mom, she constantly makes excuses for his behavior. What can I do? — FRUSTRATED SISTER IN ARIZONA
DEAR SISTER: Although you and your brother were raised by the same woman, you are two different individuals. The pattern of how your brother treats Mom has been established, and because there is little time left, it isn’t likely to change. You cannot control his behavior, so quit making it your problem. You are a dutiful and loving daughter. Leave it at that.
DEAR ABBY: I have recently retired after 40 years of working. My wife, who still works, thinks I should get up every morning and take her to work. We live in a big city where crime happens, so she doesn’t want to take the bus. Uber and Lyft are strangers to her.
I tried teaching her to drive — even bought her a car — but she’d rather I take her. It’s a 40-mile round trip. The traffic is crazy at that time. If I refuse, there are usually hard feelings. I don’t want to do it every morning only to have to pick her up in the evening at major traffic time. What can I do? — UNENTHUSED CHAUFFEUR
DEAR CHAUFFEUR: Uber and Lyft are more expensive than they used to be. Even if your wife were willing to drive herself, the cost of the vehicle, insurance and fuel would cost a bundle. Encourage her to ask if she could rideshare with a co-worker and repay the person for the gas. Even if it didn’t happen every day, it might relieve some of the stress on you. Also, if she would be willing to take a bus to and from work on the lightest ridership day, it might make driving her more palatable. It’s worth a try.
DEAR ABBY: I became “friends” with a woman recently who constantly feels the need to put me down. She criticizes my house decor, my hair, my makeup, etc. WHO DOES THIS? I like to build other women up. I no longer feel good being around her, but she’s part of my larger circle. Please tell me how to handle this. — HURT AND ANGRY IN THE NORTHEAST
DEAR HURT AND ANGRY: In my experience, people who can’t resist the urge to “improve” those around them with “helpful” criticism are insecure and trying to make themselves feel superior. The next time it happens, tell her that when you think you need her opinion, you will ASK for it. Then, to the extent you can, avoid her.
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.
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