DEAR ABBY: I have always been close to my oldest brother and his wife. I'm 24 years younger than they are. In some ways, I think I was like a child to them because they were never able to have children naturally or through adoption.
Ever since I had my first child two years ago, they have become distant. They skip family occasions and don't send gifts anymore. (I don't care about the material items, but they used to send me very thoughtful gifts.) My brother has gotten angry at me over how I feed my son (I don't give him sweets), and says he will no longer be around me if food is involved. He's late to return emails I send. This hurts immensely.
My brother is a straight shooter. When I asked him if I did something to offend him, he said no, but his behavior suggests otherwise. I feel like by having children, I have lost part of my family. Is there anything I can do? — SAD SIS IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR SIS: Because your brother is a "straight shooter," get to the point and tell him you are hurt because of the change in his behavior. Then ask him to explain what's going on. Unless you know for sure what has caused it, there is nothing you can do.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married for two years and everything is great. We rarely fight. The only thing that's bothering me is my husband has never asked me about my past lovers — never asked how many or any other details. I have had quite a past. He hasn't. I feel bad because I feel like I'm hiding it from him. Should I forget about it, unless he mentions it? Even then, I'm afraid to tell him the real number. — TORN UP IN THE EAST
DEAR TORN UP: You were entitled to have a life before you met the man you eventually married. These days, most men and women have a past, so please stop flogging yourself with guilt over yours. Your past is over. Concentrate on your present. Your husband obviously loves you exactly the way you are. Your history has made you the person you are.
DEAR ABBY: I need help. I am a middle school drama teacher. Five years ago, one of my eighth-graders and a friend snuck out late at night during a sleepover. While attempting to cross an interstate highway, my student was struck by a car and killed.
A few days ago, as I was clearing space off an old external hard drive, I found a 90-second video of my deceased student doing a play audition a couple of months before her demise. It is a middle close-up (waist to head) and very clear. It's probably one of the last videos of her with such high quality. My question is, five years after her funeral, should I reach out to her parents or would that be too painful for them? — REACHING OUT
DEAR REACHING OUT: I'm glad you asked. Contact the parents, tell them about your discovery and ask whether they would like to have it. I would be very surprised if they didn't. They will probably regard it as an unexpected gift.