DEAR AMY: I’m not the best writer, but I want to tell you about my wife.

She is a person who is always helping kids. She is a teacher’s aide. As a family, we have taken in children who needed homes for the past 17 years.

She helps pregnant, unwed moms by supporting and collecting stuff for them to use for their babies, such as car seats and baby equipment and formula.

She has been an asset to the people in our community for as long as I’ve known her. The friends she went to high school with are still her friends today.

They are all women who have always done the right thing by helping others — sometimes even before helping themselves.

My wife reminds me of my mom, who raised eight kids and also did everything she could to help other children too.

I just want to say thank you to the women of this world. This world isn’t exactly perfect, but they make it a better place to live in. -- Grateful Husband

DEAR GRATEFUL: You perfectly describe your feelings about and gratitude for the women you have been lucky to have in your life.

As we anticipate Mother’s Day, this is a good time to appreciate and thank some of these selfless and unsung heroes. My experience as a mother makes me admire my own mother all the more. She did so much with so little. And she made pickles. When Mother’s Day rolls around, I miss her very much.

Writer Brad Meltzer decided to honor his mother’s memory by pulling together a charming book of “hero” stories for his young daughter. This inspiring book is ideal to share between generations and includes great examples of famous and also everyday heroes (like your wife), who were nominated by readers.

Give your wife a copy of “Heroes for My Daughter” by Brad Meltzer (2012, Harper).

DEAR AMY: I love my mother to death, but she is driving me nuts with her constant calling, text messaging and e-mails.

She is retired (in her 60s) and extremely bored. She sits online all day and sends me about 10 e-mails a day with ideas for my career, endless news articles and forwards.

When I talk to her on the phone, she repeats exactly what she said in her many e-mails. If I tell her I have to get off the phone because I am driving or busy, she gets extremely offended and says no one cares about her.

The guilt trips are killing me, and her victim mentality is driving me insane.

I know she is bored and slightly depressed. I have given up on telling her to go out to do things and exercise. I am at a loss.

I don’t want to take her for granted, and I don’t want to have regrets later, but I have become more detached from her because she is suffocating me with the bombardment of e-mails, texts and phone calls.

I feel terrible, but should I just let her blow up my inbox every day and respond only when I can and ignore her the rest of the time? Is there anything I should do for her? -- Frustrated

DEAR FRUSTRATED: Your mother’s energy is misdirected. If she wanted to, she could become a blogger, make new friends — online or off — and be useful and active in her community.

She sends you lots of ideas for how to run your life; perhaps you could reply with Internet links to groups or activities you think she would enjoy.

Treat her with compassion and take (or make) these calls only when you have the time and patience to listen.

Her life is her responsibility. And if you are worried, you should encourage her to do things differently. But accept the fact that she may not.

DEAR AMY: If you can stand one more response to “Worried Grandma,” whose pregnant daughter had an unruly black Labrador retriever in the household: When people recommend dog training, they focus on the dog; the problem is the people. -- Dog Fan

DEAR FAN: As Cesar Millan (the “Dog Whisperer”) says, “I rehabilitate dogs — I train people.”

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

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