Dear Abby: Grandma refuses to share the title with a newcomer

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DEAR ABBY: My granddaughter, “Emily,” is 13. I have been very involved with her all her life. My daughter, “Ginger,” is divorced and has had a boyfriend, “Greg,” for about three years, but there has been no talk of marriage.

Greg’s mother has told Emily to call her “Grandma.” Emily is OK with that, but it hurt my feelings, Abby. I feel that Greg’s mother should realize she’s using a title that’s not hers.

I realize she’s trying to make Emily feel like part of their family, but to me, this is MY title, not hers. She has known Emily for three years, and while she’s nice to her, I’m the one who has been doing grandma duties for 12 years — not her. To me, she should be called something special but not “Grandma.”

How do I cope with this? Shouldn’t the other “grandma” have realized she’s pushing herself into the position of the real grandma? — HURT GRANDMA IN CALIFORNIA

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DEAR HURT: You are taking this too personally. If Greg’s mother wasn’t hoping her son would marry your daughter, she would not be “embracing” Emily the way she has. Your granddaughter does not love this woman more than she does you.

Whether Greg’s mother “should” realize she’s treading on thin ice is something I cannot conjecture. However, I’m sure she didn’t do this to annoy you.

If you bring this up with her, you WILL annoy HER, which will likely annoy her son and your daughter, so I advise against it. I’m betting that eventually she will become an official grandma — however, if that doesn’t happen, your problem will be solved because she’ll be history.

DEAR ABBY: My husband’s horrible sisters have invited themselves to our home in Florida. They hate me. One’s husband sexually assaulted me five years ago. When I had her come and get him (he was drunk), she accused me of making it up! (Abby, she saw it happen.)

The other sister has never invited us over for dinners or special events. She’s extremely obese and will break our furniture if she sits on it.

We are in our 70s, live modestly and can’t afford this selfish intrusion. My husband says, “But they’re my sisters!” Please help me get out of this. — LOOKING FOR PEACE

DEAR LOOKING: I’ll try. You and your husband are not joined at the hip. No law says you must be there. Yes, they are his sisters, so he can visit them in THEIR homes, without you. ‘Nuff said?

DEAR ABBY: I have a friend whose father recently passed away. Her mother passed away eight years ago. Everything was paid for — all funeral arrangements and anything else you can think of.

She’s wondering what to do with the money she received in the cards people sent her. Have masses? Donate it to charity? Her sibling took some of the cards from her mom’s funeral and applied the money toward a vacation.

My friend just wants to do the right thing. What is the right thing? — WANTS TO DO WHAT’S RIGHT

DEAR WANTS: If the money isn’t needed for expenses, it is the recipient’s to do with as she (or he) wishes. However, a thoughtful and respectful thing to do would be for your friend to donate it to a charity her father supported, or toward research into a cure for the disease that took his life.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

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