Alma Gill

By Alma Gill
NNPA Columnist

Trying to Help Mom

Dear Alma,

My dad left my mom for another woman. My mother is so sad and I think it’s affecting her health. She was recently on leave from work because she is too sick to go. She told me and my sister it wasn’t serious and we shouldn’t worry. I am worried and I am so mad at my dad. My mom is taking care of us now and she is doing it all by herself. Although I have a part-time job, I was thinking maybe I should graduate from high school early and start college so I can hurry up and help my mom and my sister. My mom works at a college, so I can take classes for free. What advice would you give me Alma, should I hurry up and start college so I can graduate and help my family?

Worried Son

Awwwe my darling, I applaud your efforts to step up to the plate and fill the role your father has left vacant, but you can’t. You aren’t the father, you’re the son. It’s human nature for you to desire to make everything alright, but that’s too much of a load for you to take on. What I want you to do is concentrate and continue on your path of being an exceptional student.

What’s happening now won’t last forever. Your parents will resolve their issues. Don’t overanalyze, try to compensate, correct, or take ownership of what’s happening between your mom and dad. They’re grown folks handling grown folks business. You can step back and take a breather. I know you know most of what’s going on, but trust me, you don’t know all. Promise me you won’t take sides, but you’ll respect them both and continue to do you. I’m sorry to hear of your mother’s health complications. But in the midst of all this turmoil, I’m sure that your mother sees a few silver linings and you, for sure, are one of them. You can help her in many ways. This isn’t your only option.

Now, as to your question about graduating from high school early….  Wow! That does sound exciting and as with everything in life comes the pros and the cons, so let’s examine a few.

Pros: You’re done with high school, ready to start college and looking forward to starting your young adult life.

Cons: You’ll miss your prom, graduating with your friends and the senior year experience.

Honestly, you’re the only one who knows which choice would be best. Have a long, hard conversation with your guidance counselor; that’s a good place to start. They’ll have an enormous amount of information for you to navigate while making your decision. My two cents worth is, if you’re enjoying your life right now, hanging out and socializing with your friends, don’t rush it. If you’re fully active in your high school extracurricular activities, don’t push yourself to leave early, just stay focused.  Talk to your mom and let her know of your concerns about her health and your future opportunity to attend college for free.  She will share with you what’s best for your family.

Indulge me, as I take a moment to applaud you, young man. In the words of J. Anthony Brown – “Watchoutdehnow!”  Go on with your bad self!  Your question fills my heart. Not only are you a super bright and talented young student, you’re compassionate and concerned about your family. Lawd have mercy, can every mother join me with a shout of “amen!”  Don’t stop believing in yourself. Whatever you decide, I celebrate you sweetheart and pray that all your dreams come true!


Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.


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