I am starting to prepare for one of the most difficult hurdles of my career, the bar exam. Please tell me what I should do about my mother - who just does not seem to get it.
She interrupts me constantly about things that have nothing to do with me. She calls during my study hours with requests or comments about trite issues that could be more easily handled by one of my siblings.
Before I graduated from law school, my mother expressed doubt that I could make it through. She said that two of my sisters are successful in their careers without a higher education. Shouldn't family encourage and support one another?
- Family vs. Career in Berkeley, Calif.
DEAR F VS. C: Yes, they should - but unfortunately, not all of them actually do, and I respect the fact that you have persisted in spite of your mother's lack of vision. You didn't ask for advice, but allow me to offer some. Turn your phone off and tune your mother out until after the bar exam is over.
DEAR ABBY: What is the proper use of paper and fabric napkins in a restaurant? My husband and I enjoy going to fine restaurants and including a young family member to celebrate a triumph and to teach something at the same time. We have always wondered what the proper etiquette is regarding the use of the napkin.
- Ana in Florida
DEAR ANA: The "rules" are simple. When you are seated at the table, the napkin should be unfolded and placed on your lap. During the meal, it should be used to blot your lips if needed. If you must leave the table, your napkin should be placed to the left of your place setting. When the meal is finished, the napkin should be placed to your left - or, if the dinner or dessert plate has been removed, directly in front of you.
DEAR ABBY: For years I struggled with chronic pain from deteriorating knees. My husband and young child saw our family life slowly diminish because of my increasing physical limitations. Chronic pain and frustration changed who I was.
Last year I was blessed to be able to have both my knees replaced. I had a wonderfully skilled surgeon, persistent physical therapists - and a heroic husband.
He learned to do the laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, little girl hair, homework supervision and all of the other literal "legwork" required to keep our family going. And he did all this while working TWO jobs.
I am now completely recovered and realize how fortunate I am to have such a loving, devoted life partner. I make sure to tell him often how much I love and appreciate him, and I also tell others.
Abby, too often we neglect to recognize our own "everyday heroes." Please remind your readers that even what can seem mundane can be truly heroic - and to let their loved ones know that their efforts are recognized.
- Lucky Wife of a Hero, Stamford, Conn.
DEAR LUCKY WIFE: Thank you for an upper of a letter. I'm pleased you're singing your husband's praises, because he deserves to hear every note. You picked a winner.
Readers, I have heard from you often, offering stories about pennies from heaven and acts of kindness. If you have encountered people you consider to be "everyday heroes," I hope you will let me know so I can share their stories with other readers.*