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.
DEAR ABBY: I got pregnant by a man I'll call "Ryan," who was just a fling. When I told him, he told me to have an abortion. He even had a friend of his call, offer to pay for it and drive me.
Instead, I decided to "abort" Ryan from my life. I never told him when our baby was born. Part of me feels bad because I think every child should know his/her father and family members. Another man has been willing to step up and be a daddy for my child.
Should I even bother to let Ryan know? Should I give him a chance to rise to the occasion or keep things the way they are? -- LIVING MY LIFE IN INDIANA
DEAR LIVING YOUR LIFE: This is really a question you should ask a lawyer, just in case Ryan has already risen as much as he intends to. Whether or not someone has stepped up to be your baby's daddy, Ryan has a financial obligation to that child.
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.
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