Right now, we live in an urban area, near some big cities. Most of our family originally lived here, but my siblings all moved to a mid-southern state, one after another. Mom says she wants to retire from teaching as soon as I graduate from college, which should happen in two years. She also wants to move to the state where my siblings reside, mainly to see her grandchildren more often.
I understand her motivation, but the thing is, I'm not sure I want to move down there. There are likely more job opportunities where I live right now, and my siblings have a history of driving me absolutely nuts.
Am I overthinking this? Should I move with my mother or stay here? And if I do decide to stay, how should I tell my mother about it? - ON THE FENCE IN THE EAST
DEAR ON THE FENCE: Tell your mother the same way you told me, leaving out the part about your siblings driving you crazy. That there are more career opportunities in the location where you're now living is a sensible, logical reason to stay. If things change, you can always move later.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter and I are like strangers since my boyfriend got into a heated argument with her. She was always hurting my feelings in one way or another, and he got tired of seeing me upset. So even though I asked him not to say anything, he went against my wishes and went off on her. Since then, he is no longer welcome in her home, which means if I want to see my grandchild, I must go by myself, which I have been doing for a while now.
I am torn over this situation and don't know what to do to fix it. I talked to her about joining us for the holidays and she said that if he (my boyfriend of 10 years) is going to be there, then she won't be. What can I do? Any suggestions? -- FAMILY DRAMA IN THE SOUTH
DEAR DRAMA: As a matter of fact, I do have one. Your daughter is attempting to manipulate you and force you to choose between her and your boyfriend. Don't fall for it. Continue inviting her to events, and if she refuses because she doesn't want to see your boyfriend -- who defended you when she was abusive -- tell her you will miss her.
DEAR ABBY: My older brother is getting married. It will be his fifth trip to the altar. When my wife asked me what we were going to get him for a wedding present, I said I don't think we need to buy him a gift. She disagrees. What's the correct protocol in this situation? -- WATCHING MY WALLET IN WASHINGTON
DEAR WATCHING: The correct protocol the fifth time around would be to give a token gift to the happy couple along with your good wishes if you plan to attend the wedding, which reminds me of the movie "Groundhog Day."
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.