Dear Abby: I don’t want to be emergency contact for my sister’s kid

The child’s aunt doesn’t have a car seat and is surprised to be in charge if something goes wrong at day care.

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DEAR ABBY: During my sister’s pregnancy, she made very clear that the only people she wanted to transport her child would be her, her husband and our mother. I disagreed, but because of her pregnancy, I kept silent and abided by her wish that I not purchase my own car seat in the event of an emergency. (I don’t have any children of my own.)

Now that the child is in day care, I found out through a third party that my sister has listed me as an emergency contact. The first question that came to mind was “Why?” but all I could do was acknowledge the information.

Would it be out of line for me to ask her about this, and if she confirms it, to remove my info from her emergency contact? Or should I just hope that I never get called? I don’t want to be unprepared, but I know that emergencies do happen. — TAKEN ABACK IN THE EAST

DEAR TAKEN ABACK: Emergencies DO happen. Lives can be changed in only a moment. Before listing you as an emergency contact, your sister should have asked for permission and discussed it with you. It would not be out of line to tell her you have just been informed about it and ask why she did it without telling you.

While you’re at it, ask if the child has any medical conditions you’re not aware of and EXACTLY what she wants done in an emergency situation. If you decide to follow through with this, you should know the name of her doctor, what — if any — medications the child is taking, and what hospital the ambulance should deliver the kid to if it becomes necessary, since you don’t have a child seat in your vehicle and don’t want to risk being cited should you be stopped on the way.

DEAR ABBY: “Darlene” and I have been friends for 40 years. She moved to Arizona with me in the ’80s from Michigan. Her boyfriend drove out and convinced her to return to Michigan and get married, which she did, but she’s always hated Michigan. She raised two girls. I was always called “Aunt” and was considered close.

Years passed and the marriage was struggling. I invited Darlene to come and visit to get away for a bit. She fell right back in love with Arizona. She expressed her unhappiness in the marriage, and I told her that if she ever needed a place to stay, she could live with me. She came out for another visit, found a job and decided to stay.

Her girls, now in their early 20s, were shocked and hurt by their mom’s decision to divorce their father. One of them blames me, blocked me on Facebook and no longer talks to me. It has been three years, and when Darlene’s daughter comes to visit, I have to stay away. Darlene refuses to talk to the daughter to smooth things out between us. I think she should do something to defend me. Am I wrong? — WRONGLY BLAMED IN THE WEST

DEAR WRONGLY BLAMED: No, you are not wrong. You did Darlene a favor by welcoming her to Arizona, but you were not responsible for her divorce. It appears no good deed goes unpunished. She should not be letting you take the heat for the fact she left her husband.

Darlene should have explained to her daughter the marriage was an unhappy one for a long time, and regardless of where she chose to live afterward, it wouldn’t have been near their father. Darlene and her daughter owe you an apology. Because you are required to stay away when Daughter visits, perhaps it would be better if Darlene found another place to live rather than your home.

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.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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