Dear Abby: The grandson I’m raising has started calling me ‘Mommy’

The child’s grandparents believe that term should be reserved for his mother, who died last year.

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DEAR ABBY: My daughter passed away last year, and we received custody of our grandson, who was 15 months old at the time. He is now nearly 2 1/2 years old. My daughter wanted him to call me Mamaw because that’s what she called my mother, so I’ve always referred to myself that way, but recently, he has started calling me Mommy. I say Mamaw back to him and sometimes he will say Mamaw, but more often it’s Mommy.

I’m uncomfortable not honoring my daughter as his mommy. We display her photos, and he will say that that’s his mommy, but I also don’t want to hurt his feelings by saying I’m not his mommy. His father isn’t in the picture, so my husband and I are the only parents he knows. My husband seems uncomfortable with him calling me Mommy and when he hears it, he tries to correct him. Should we allow him to call us Mommy and Daddy or continue to correct him? — GETTING IT RIGHT IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR GETTING IT RIGHT: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your daughter. I see nothing positive to be gained by not allowing your grandson to call you what he wants. You and your husband have made clear that his mommy is in heaven, but right now the boy needs a “Mommy” right here on Earth. It is not at all disrespectful of your late daughter’s memory to allow him that.

DEAR ABBY: I have been happily married to my husband for five years. When we married, money was tight, so we agreed to use temporary wedding rings and upgrade to our final official set later. Well, we finally did it, and my ring is what I always wanted. It is stunning.

The problem: When friends and family (and sometimes even strangers!) compliment me on my ring, it is often accompanied with, “Can I try it on?” or more forcibly, “Let me try that on!” I would never ask to try on something so precious to someone else, and I never want to see someone else wearing my wedding rings. Why do women do this and how can I politely tell them “NO WAY”? — SHOCKED IN NEW YORK

DEAR SHOCKED: The women want to see it on their own hand and imagine for a moment that the ring is theirs. Feeling as you do, convey your message by smiling and replying, “I never remove my wedding rings other than to clean them.”

DEAR ABBY: I live in Florida, and the rest of my big family lives in Canada. Last year, five of my nieces/nephews were admitted to the hospital for varying health reasons. Rather than send flowers, I sent each a check for $50.00. I thought money would be more useful.

Well, last week my daughter was diagnosed with malignant melanoma after a mole was removed. After I emailed the news to my sisters, I received one response from a sister saying, “Give your daughter our best!” Other than that, there have been no cards — nothing. Am I petty in thinking they should have at least sent my daughter a card? — PETTY IN FLORIDA

DEAR PETTY: Your relatives apparently didn’t consider the thoughtfulness you displayed to their children something to be reciprocated. How sad. In situations like this, it isn’t the tangible item that’s most important, it’s the thought, and it appears your relatives didn’t want to put in the effort. I do not think it’s petty to recognize that fact and feel disappointment. You are human.

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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