DEAR ABBY: I'm the proud mother of four beautiful children -- a daughter, a son and 8-year-old twin boys. I am having a hard time getting people to understand that my boys, whom I rarely refer to as "twins," are two separate people! Every year at Christmas some family members buy gifts for our daughter and our eldest son, and then one gift our younger boys are expected to share. Abby, they once received one T-shirt, which was meant for both of them. This also happens on their birthday.
Yes, they share a room and they are twins, but they deserve the same respect as their siblings. We have never dressed them alike. They are individuals who should be treated as such like their sister and brother.
Christmas is around the corner, and I don't know how to tell my family members to please buy gifts for both the boys. I realize we have a large family. I don't expect anyone to go broke. The gift can be a small one. Can you please help me find the right words without sounding greedy? -- MOM OF FOUR IN OTTAWA
DEAR MOM: Your relatives don't appear to be particularly sensitive, or they would already realize that children are individuals whether they happen to be wombmates or not. Their "frugality" puts a damper on what are supposed to be happy occasions. It would not be "greedy" to tell them that if they can't afford a gift for each child -- regardless of how small it might be -- it would cause fewer hurt feelings if they sent none at all for any of your children.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend's daughter, "Heather," came to me the other day and told me a girl at school is having sex with a 36-year-old. Abby, the girl is only 13. When I told Heather I wanted to tell a counselor, she begged me not to because she's new in the school and doesn't want to be labeled a snitch.
I am torn about what to do. I don't want her mad at me, but I can't just stand back and let this continue to happen. Heather and I are nine years apart, so I don't really come across as a parental figure. I don't know if I should tell her dad or not. Please help. -- DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO
DEAR DON'T KNOW: The girl in question is being raped. The 36-year-old is a predator. What you should do is find out the girl's name and then let her parents know what is going on so they can possibly inform the police. If you can't locate the parents, talk to a counselor at the school, because a counselor is ethically and legally required to report a crime like this.
DEAR ABBY: I recently realized that my parents lied about their wedding date. Because of my mother's age and health, I haven't told her I know the truth. My father passed away several years ago, so his obituary states the date they always used. When my mother passes, do I state the true date in her obituary or perpetuate the lie? -- DAUGHTER WITH A SECRET
DEAR DAUGHTER: I think you should do whatever you think your mother would want when the time comes. The ages of the offspring are not usually mentioned in a person's obituary, and unless your friends read the wedding date with calculators in hand, I doubt they will notice the relationship between your age and the nuptials. But if anyone should be so tasteless as to say anything, just smile and say, "Yes, I was a love child."
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