DEAR ABBY: My son is engaged to a girl I'll call Lucy. Lucy has eaten dinner at our house every Sunday for the last seven months. I fix good meals and she eats heartily and acts like she enjoys the meal, but she has never once offered to help me with the dishes or even take her plate into the kitchen.
My son says Lucy is a guest and she's not supposed to. I say he's wrong. What do you say? - A DIFFERENCE OF OPINIONDEAR DIFFERENCE: Who's right and who's wrong is not nearly as important as developing a good relationship with your future daughter-in-law.
Try treating Lucy more like a member of the family than a guest. For openers, after dinner, say, "Let's clear the table - many hands make light work." Or, "How about giving me a hand with these dishes, Lucy? It's been a long day; besides I'd appreciate the company."
It will make Lucy feel useful and will do wonders for your relationship with your future daughter-in-law.
DEAR ABBY: Three months ago, I returned home to find our 29-year-old son lying on his bed, dead! Autopsy report: acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis due to acute alcohol intoxication. Where was the darling 6-year-old child we adopted - the son of alcoholic parents? We took him, raised him and loved him. In his teenage years, he took his first beer, and from that day on, every dime he got went for alcohol.
Sober, he was charming, sensitive and caring. Drunk, he was mean, abusive and unreasonable. We had brought him home from a large city, hoping to help him after he had become a street person. We got him into a treatment center. He had counseling and went to AA. He used to ask me why I didn't go to Al-Anon, and I would say, "Because I am not the one with the problem, YOU are!" How I wish I had gone!
Now I have recriminations. Why did I lock him out of his home the night before he died? Was he ill and dying and looking for help? Had I not interfered in his life and left him in the city, would he be alive today? How I wish I had another chance!
Please, tell other parents of alcoholic children that alcoholics are ILL. Why isn't more done for alcoholism and finding a cure? I would bet it kills more young people than all the other diseases combined. Sign me . . . GRIEF-STRICKEN
DEAR GRIEF-STRICKEN: Please don't beat yourself up with recriminations. You did what you thought was best.
I am printing your letter to let others know that Al-Anon is there for friends and relatives of alcoholics. Unless they've given Al-Anon a chance, they haven't done all they can for their alcoholic loved ones.
DEAR ABBY: How come all those wise guys who claim to know how to run the country are driving taxicabs and cutting hair? - AVERAGE CITIZEN
DEAR AVERAGE CITIZEN: Be thankful that all those wise guys who claim to know how to run the country are driving taxicabs and cutting hair - and NOT running the country.
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a long business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)