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DEAR ABBY: My granddaughter and her boyfriend live in another state, and I love hearing from her. However, when I call her, she always puts me on speaker phone, which I find rude.
I have never met her boyfriend and don't feel he should be in on everything I may talk to my granddaughter about. I think she's forming a bad habit. Am I wrong for feeling this way?
- Private grandma in Florida
DEAR PRIVATE: I don't think so. Not every word that comes out of your mouth should be community property. The next time it happens, all you have to do is say, "Honey, take me off the speaker, please."
DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Carlene," is a neonatal ICU nurse who is required to work a certain number of holidays. For the past 12 years, her family has feigned attempting to accommodate her schedule and then planned holiday events at the same exact time and place as the year before. They have ignored repeated explanations and don't seem to care if we come or not.
For example, last Thanksgiving they once again made a big deal about everyone sending their schedules via email. We responded that Carlene would have to work until 3 p.m. Shortly after, we received a call from the host, who said: "We know you can't make it, but the celebration will be at 12 sharp! Maybe we'll see you some other time."
Abby, my wife feels like she is unimportant to everyone. She plans to stop attending all family events and celebrate only with me and our daughter. While that would be easier, I know it probably isn't the best solution. Should I support her decision, or is there some answer I haven't thought of yet?
- Let down in Texas
DEAR LET DOWN: Your wife should make no decisions about future celebrations while she's angry. If she follows through on her impulse to boycott all family events, she will be cutting her nose off to spite her face.
On those occasions when it's not possible to attend extended family gatherings, celebrating with immediate family seems like a sensible solution. Or consider hosting the celebration yourselves so you can set the party time.
Your wife may have self-esteem issues that need to be addressed if she's taking this personally. As a nurse caring for the most fragile of infants, she's doing important work that should be respected. Please tell her to remind herself of that fact any time she feels "unimportant" because her efforts make the difference between life and death.