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Dear Abby 9/3
Bride's mother is appalled by tacky wedding tradition
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    DEAR ABBY: My daughter, who is being married in three months, mentioned to me that her fiance's friends have a tradition of covering the newlyweds' car with condoms. Whatever happened to tin cans and a "Just Married" sign?
    I'm no prude, but I'm appalled at the tackiness of it. There will be grandmothers and children attending the wedding. My daughter agrees that it's poor taste, but doesn't think there is anything she can do about it. Should I stay out of it, or go clean off the car myself during the reception? -- TEXAS BRIDAL MOM
    DEAR BRIDAL MOM: Condoms on the car? Why, that's almost as much of a thigh-slapper as short-sheeting the bed in the honeymoon suite or trashing it entirely. Of course it's juvenile and in bad taste, but boys will be boys, and this is the element with whom your soon-to-be son-in-law associates. By the time your daughter goes to the car, she'll be a married woman. My advice is to stay out of it and let her fight her own battles.
    DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Kim," and I have been married three years and have 14-month-old twin daughters. We have a beautiful life together with one exception — my father. He thinks he knows everything and isn't afraid to give his opinion. He also makes silly comments to the twins such as, "If your mommy doesn't treat you right, then you can come live with Grandpa."
    Kim is an excellent wife and mother. She takes my father's comments personally, even though I tell her he's just being goofy. She bristles every time my parents come over for a visit. When they do, she leaves the room. She rolls her eyes and has flat-out told me she can't stand my father.
    What can we do? I love my father and am extremely close to both my parents. This has caused several fights between Kim and me. I say it's no big deal, but she REALLY resents my father. What do you think? -- PEACEMAKER IN COLORADO
    DEAR PEACEMAKER: I wonder what your father may have said to your wife that has caused her to react to him so negatively. I recommend family counseling, and the sooner the better. The fact that Kim dislikes your overbearing father to the point that she can't be in the same room with him, and overreacts when he makes comments to the babies — which I agree are goofy — IS a "big deal."
    DEAR ABBY: When I was 23, single and living at home with a manipulative mother, I became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy. At her urging and because I lacked self-confidence, I gave my son up for adoption. Several years later, I married and had two children who are now 29 and 33.
    Recently I have been thinking about telling my children about their half-brother in a letter to be opened after my death. I have reservations about telling them at all, yet I feel they have a right to know. What is your advice? -- MOTHER WITH A SECRET
    DEAR MOTHER: I see no reason not to reveal your secret to your adult children. If you prefer to do so in a letter after your death, that's your privilege. However, they will have questions that you will no longer be around to answer. So when you write that letter, I strongly suggest that you give them all the information you can so they'll be able to start a search if they wish.
    P.S. If your son should show up searching for you somewhere down the line, that way they won't be shocked, and they will be able to provide the answers their half-brother is looking for.
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