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DEAR ABBY: My sister sent me an email asking what I was getting our mom for her birthday because she had very few ideas. I told her I was planning to get Mom a gift card so she could buy a book for her e-reader.
Two days later, my sister emailed me back telling me she liked my idea so much she used it and mailed Mom the same gift card herself. She said it's "no big deal" if we got Mom the same thing.
It's a big deal to me. I think it was rude and inconsiderate. She says I'm being "ridiculous" because "it's only a gift card" and it doesn't matter if Mom got two of them. To me, if you ask what I'm getting someone as a gift, it's rude to run out and buy that item yourself. Who do you agree with?
- Learned a lesson in Lewisburg, Pa.
DEAR LEARNED A LESSON: I agree with you. But rather than hold a grudge, take the lesson to heart. The next time your sister asks you for gift suggestions for a relative, tell her, "Gee, I haven't decided yet."
DEAR ABBY: I am an 11-year-old boy who lives in San Francisco. I read your column in the San Francisco Chronicle every day. I love your thinking and wish I could be as sensible as you. I just wanted to ask: How old do you think someone should be to read your column? I know your column can be possibly inappropriate, but love reading it anyway.
- T.P. in S.F.
DEAR T.P.: You are not the only young person who reads my column. (I printed a letter from a 7-year-old earlier this week.) I have been told that my column has been used for many years to start important conversations between people of all ages.
When I was growing up, no literature in our house was off limits - and any question I asked my parents was given a straight answer. I hope it's the same in your family because if it is, you will grow up to be at LEAST as "sensible" as me.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter has given me permission to resume communication with my grandson, "Justin." She has kept us apart since he was 3. Justin is now 17.
I have been told by the other grandparents that Justin holds no animosity toward me. He knows I have never given up hope that one day we could reunite. Because of my daughter's unpredictable temperament and her use of my grandson as a way to control me, I'm leery and don't trust her to keep the door open between us. I'm afraid she'll slam it shut again.
What steps should I take? Justin turns 18 next year and his mom plans to "move without him, once he's 18." Should I contact him now or wait until he reaches 18? I am tired and all cried out, but I want to do the right thing for my grandson's mental health, given the craziness his mother has created.
- Loving, longing grandma
DEAR GRANDMA: Write your grandson a sweet note and inform him that his mother has given "permission" for you to make contact with him. Ask him to call you, so he can begin getting to know you. Find out what his plans are, and invite him to visit. However, do this SLOWLY - because you still don't know how much damage your daughter's "unpredictable temperament" has done in the formation of his personality and character. Proceed with your eyes wide open.
Because it appears your daughter wants to abandon her son as soon as she legally is able to, he will need all of the caring and supportive relatives he can find.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.