DEAR ABBY: I have a relative who is very ill. She's not expected to survive. She has a 1-year-old daughter, "Whitney," and a husband who isn't particularly interested in parenting once his wife is gone. My husband and I have a 3-year-old, and my husband would like to have more children. I love this relative and the little girl, but I'm not interested in raising another child. I'm fine with just one.
My husband feels we have the love and resources to provide Whitney with a good life. I respect the fact that he feels this way, but I work full time. I am also in my mid-40s and already feel overwhelmed being the parent of one child. I enjoy my current lifestyle and being able to travel some. Although we will be fine financially, our lifestyle would be greatly impaired.
My husband says I'm selfish for not wanting to share my good fortune. He may be right, but I feel that if I'm talked into taking her, I'll be unhappy and resentful. Please advise. -- ONLY WANTS ONE
DEAR ONLY WANTS ONE: Children need love and attention from the adults who parent them. While your husband has that to offer Whitney, you do not. Because you would be unhappy and resentful if your husband talks you into adopting her, it would be better for you and Whitney if someone who really wants a child, and is capable of providing the love and support a child needs, took her.
DEAR ABBY: I am retired from teaching high school biology after 39 years. The last year I taught, some of my students said I was the "youngest" teacher on the faculty -- not chronologically, but in the way I talked to them. I treated them as important, as equals. Being around high school students all those years kept me young.
Since my retirement, I can no longer do the thing I loved best: teach biology. However, I am keeping my commitment to staying young. Last summer I bicycled 500 miles across Kansas. I do nine hours of dance exercise and aerobics a week, paint with oils, do photography and am starting to relearn the guitar. I may be in the early stages of Parkinson's disease, so I want to do everything I didn't get to do when I was younger while I still can.
I think too many people are busy being old. Most of my former classmates and friends have died. Many younger people can't do what I do. Some of them tell me I should "act my age" and "learn to be old." But what I'm doing keeps me young, and if I look silly doing it, so be it. I feel more fit now than when I was 21. If I die in an aerobics class it will be a lot better than doing it slumped in a chair. What are your thoughts on this? -- LIVING WELL IN WICHITA
DEAR LIVING WELL: As long as you are living a full life and enjoying what you're doing, you should ignore those "helpful" individuals who tell you to "act your age" and "learn to be old." It has been awhile since I have read such nonsense.
You have been blessed with health, vitality and an inquiring mind. Life is too short to waste a second of it. When you're old and infirm you will know it, so don't let anyone rush you.
TO MY CHRISTIAN READERS: A happy Easter to all of you!
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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