Dear Annie: My kids, ages 11 and 9, live with my ex-wife over 1,000 miles away from me. Each time I want to visit them, I have to pay for very expensive plane tickets and hotel rooms. If they come to my house, it means I have to fly there to pick them up and fly back to return them.
I know that airlines have services to make sure your kids travel safely. I want my children to spend their next vacation with me, but my ex-wife thinks they are too young to travel without a parent. She worries about turbulence or the chance of a plane crash. I agree with her, but flying is safer than driving, and she has no problem putting them in a car. Besides, it was her decision to move so far away.
My attorney informs me that if I choose to have the children fly here, my ex-wife is required to put them on a plane. I have discussed this with my kids, and my oldest has no problem with it. The younger one is a little unsure. What are your thoughts on the subject? Is my ex justified not to let them see me unless I pick them up? Concerned Parent
Dear Parent: There are no guarantees when it comes to air travel. While your presence on the plane may be comforting, airlines are wonderful about children traveling alone, and heaven knows, there are plenty of them shuttling between divorced parents these days.
Yes, the kids are old enough to fly by themselves, although they may be nervous the first time they do so. It will help if their mother reassures them, so please discuss this with her. If she is unwilling to put them on a plane, the two of you should alternate which one of you gets to travel with them. She should not be using this as an excuse for them to avoid seeing their father.
Dear Annie: My sister requested an expensive perfume for her birthday. When I purchased the item, I was given a bonus gift of a small travel case with several assorted cosmetics. Should I give the promotional items to my sister? I like many of the products and would like to keep them, if it's OK. Indiana Shopper
Dear Indiana: Yes, you may keep them. The perfume is the gift for your sister. The rest belongs to you for making the purchase, so enjoy.
Dear Annie: You recently printed a letter from "You Know Who You Are," who said people took the roses from the flower arrangement at her sister's funeral. It reminded me of something that happened at my cousin's funeral.
At the cemetery, I noticed "Tammy" pulling flowers from the arrangement that was on the casket. I wanted to save some flowers, too, so I was interested in watching her, and a bit appalled because Tammy wasn't that close to my cousin. I wanted to see what she was doing.
When I approached her, Tammy said she planned to press and dry the flowers and frame them for the family. She did this at her own expense, and the results turned out beautifully. I received one of the framed pieces, and now I have a precious reminder of my cousin, and of Tammy's kindness and thoughtfulness. A.T.
Dear A.T.: Several readers pointed out that there may be a perfectly acceptable reason for taking these flowers. Here's one more:
Dear Annie: I am Greek, and at every Greek funeral I've ever been to, we line up to take flowers from the arrangements and place them on the graves of our other loved ones buried in the same cemetery.
I still have a bunch of dried flowers from my grandfather's funeral eight years ago. It is a way to honor the recently departed, as well as remember those who passed before them. I think it's a lovely tradition. Proud Purloiner of Flowers
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