Dear Abby: This is for "Sally in Fort Collins, Colo.," who is trying to convince her husband to take some time off from their plumbing business to spend with the family.
I, too, used to work a lot of hours, sometimes working two jobs just to have that "extra cash." It seemed important to make sure my kids had the best clothes, toys, went to the best schools whatever. I wanted to drive a nicer car, have a nicer house, etc. There was always tomorrow for field trips or the park. We could wait until next year to take that family vacation.
Now there is no tomorrow. My son died last year. He was only 14. I would live in a cardboard box for the rest of my life to be able to go to a football game or a concert with him. I would take the bus every day if it meant we could hit golf balls in the back yard again.
Dear Abby: My husband and I also owned a plumbing company and worked long and hard to be successful. However, we made our kids and our marriage a priority. Kids grow up quickly, and you can lose sight of what's important in your marriage if you don't remember what you're working for in the first place.
My husband and I made a date once a month just the two of us. We also made sure we spent quality time with our kids.
Dear Abby: My husband also said he was working hard for an early retirement. For 20 years, the boys and I did all the things families do only without their father. I was more or less a married single mother. The boys' barber once asked them if they ever visited their father, because he hadn't seen him for years and assumed we were divorced.
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips. © Universal Press Syndicate