DEAR AMY: Eighteen years ago I conceived my lovely daughter using an anonymous sperm donor.
We've always been very open about it with her.
She has known that when she turned 18, she could send a letter to her donor in care of the sperm bank.
She is eager to write that letter, and I have encouraged her to follow her heart.
But I am of course worried about the fact that her donor might not want to respond or that he may not be the man she's dreamed of all these years.
How do I help prepare her for silence and/or disappointment?
We've had such a good life together and she seems so happy.
She's about to start her senior year with a 4.3 GPA, a great boyfriend and loving friends and family.
Is there any way for me to diminish the pain of an unanswered letter?
— Proud Mom
DEAR PROUD: You can try to prepare your daughter for this experience by asking open-ended questions and listening to her responses, i.e.: "What are you hoping for?" "What is your intent?" "How do you imagine he might respond?"
You should convey what all great parents tell their kids — by word and deed: "I want you to have whatever you want in life. I will be here for you regardless of how this turns out."
Having an unanswered letter would be tough. Having an answered letter could be tough too. However this turns out, it is bound to complicate your family's life.
You should promise yourself and your daughter that you will do your best to handle it honestly and with love.
I just saw the new, R-rated movie "The Kids Are All Right," which I recommend for you; it's about one family's experience when the kids seek out their donor "dad."
DEAR AMY: I'm a retired 63-year-old living on a pension and Social Security. I am able to put away a bit of savings each month (I still owe money on my home).
My daughter, 35, just became engaged to a man 13 years her senior who lives with his teenage daughter in a rented house.
A few years ago I told my daughter that I set aside $20,000 for either her wedding or for a down payment on a house, if she chooses to buy one.
A couple of months ago, she told me that she owed the IRS $8,000. She chose to receive $10,000 from the stash to pay the IRS and settle other bills.
Now they're planning a wedding that will cost more than the $10,000 left in the fund. Friends and family say I ought to pay up to the $20,000 I originally promised her.
The amount represents about 8 percent of my total savings.
Amy, should I stick to my original promise, or should I break my piggy bank so I won't seem cheap?
No one else knows about the cash advance my daughter took.
I suggested that she ask for her fiance's credit score so she is aware of how financially responsible he is.
She says she doesn't want to be too "nosy."
— Father of the Bride
DEAR FATHER: Do not dip into your savings beyond your original agreement. I say this with the conviction that you will need every cent of your savings to support yourself.
The fact that she and her fiance (a 48-year-old man) might be overbudgeting on their wedding makes me want to smack them both with a rolled-up credit report.
Your daughter and her fiance should discuss everything — everything — before they get married. No subject should be considered too "nosy" between a wife and husband.
DEAR AMY: Responding to the letter from "Wondering Wife" about how her physician husband could thank his
patients on retiring, three years ago I went to my general practitioner for a regular checkup in December.
In January I realized I needed a refill on a prescription.
When I called, lo and behold, I was told he had retired!
Needless to say, I was speechless.
After 40 years as a patient, I wish he had been courteous enough to let me and his many patients know he was retiring.
— What's Up Doc?
DEAR DOC: I completely agree.
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