Q. My son and his wife have been married for 10 years, and they have two children. The oldest child, “Emma,” is my son’s stepdaughter.
Emma is 17 and pregnant. She wants to raise the baby at home while still attending school, etc.
The father of the unborn child is also still in school and is very supportive of the idea. My son, on the other hand, feels that adoption is the perfect solution.
His wife is a wonderful person who tends to be a “softy” and gives in quite easily (we adore her). She feels that he will get used to the idea of having a baby around the house. They both have very demanding careers.
After having several conversations with our son, we know that he is extraordinarily unhappy and is considering leaving his wife.
They both ask for our advice. We, too, are in favor of adoption, but Emma is not having any part of it.
Should we mind our own business? I truly feel that if something isn’t done, they are going to allow a 17-year-old to decide the fate of their marriage.
A. Adoption is “the perfect solution” for two parties in this family drama (you and your son), neither of whom is the parent of the unborn child. So move on.
There is no denying that this is one of the biggest challenges a family can face. But unlike other challenges — such as illness or addiction, for instance — this unplanned pregnancy holds the potential for joy for this family, if they can get through these next few months intact.
Is your son bighearted and brave enough to conquer his own assumptions — about how his family life was going to be when he got married — to build something new?
Or is he going to walk away, thus demonstrating to both children (and the teen father of this unborn child) that when the going gets tough, dad takes a hike?
His hurt and anger may be justified. But he and his wife’s job will be to assist and mentor — not be the primary parents and caregivers to this baby.
They can work this out, but it will be through negotiating workable solutions involving housing, child care, financial support, etc. You should urge them all to be patient.
Q. I have a friend I no longer wish to speak to. At one time, she claimed that I was her best friend. I attended her wedding in her hometown (I was eight months pregnant) and gave a monetary gift.
When my child was born, she called and congratulated me but failed to remember what his name was and didn’t bother to send a card or gift or visit me.
We talked periodically when my child was small, but now I haven’t returned her phone calls in over a year.
She leaves messages asking why I don’t return her calls. On my birthday, she left a phone message wishing me a happy birthday. She said she doesn’t know if I’m mad and doesn’t know why I haven’t called.
I believe she feigns ignorance about why I stopped communicating with her. I never spoke with her about my feelings, but at this point I believe I’ve moved past it. Do you think I’m wrong for not calling her back?
A. You are upset enough to write to me, so you don’t sound ready or able to walk away.
Your friend cannot read your mind. She may be unforgivably dense, but the least you can do is tell her what you’re thinking. Perhaps then she will stop bothering you by asking what’s wrong.Amy Dickinson can be reached at email@example.com.