DEAR ABBY: I'm two months pregnant with my second child. Our first child is a boy. My problem is my mother. She loves her grandson dearly, but she's desperate for a granddaughter.
Recently, the subject of names came up. Although we have already decided on a name if the child is a boy, we had not discussed girls names at length.
When Mother asked me what the girl's name would be, I said I had always liked "Melody," and that if I had my way, that is what I'd name a girl. My mother immediately started knitting an afghan with the name Melody on it.
A week later, my husband said that while he didn't mind the name Melody, he thought we should decide on a name together. I tried to tell Mom that Melody might not be the name we choose. Her response was, "Well, my granddaughter will always be Melody to me."
Mom and I are very close, but she can be extremely stubborn. What's the best way to tell her we have decided on another name? -- WHAT'S IN A NAME IN CANADA
DEAR WHAT'S: Tell her in plain English, and do it before the afghan has to be unraveled and redone. If she insists on completing the blanket with the wrong name, accept it graciously and quietly donate it to charity.
DEAR ABBY: I was a busy wife, mother and grandmother who had always been active and involved in my church and community. When my beloved husband died three years ago, everything changed. I became so consumed by grief, all my regular activities suddenly meant nothing to me.
My children and grandchildren were busy with their own families and careers. I missed having someone to talk to and began feeling deeply lonely, even in a crowd.
Then something remarkable happened: I learned I have an incurable cancer. I was so scared and worried, I couldn't eat or sleep. One of my sons took me to a world-famous cancer center. Everyone I met there was loving and kind, and radiated positive feelings. Once again, I felt surrounded by love -- and it changed my outlook.
I was able to return to my hometown for further treatment in a cancer center here, and I return to the larger center for follow-ups. Now I have the best of two worlds -- a world-famous cancer center a plane ride away, and the ability to sleep in my own bed at night. I also have people in two centers who treat me with love and respect. Community and church members are rallying around me to show their support. I feel blessed and content, and the best part is I am no longer afraid.
Abby, what do you think about my change in attitude? Am I in denial or experiencing some new stage of grief? I don't want to have cancer. I don't want to leave everyone behind. But I am not afraid to die. -- LOVING EVERY DAY WITHOUT FEAR
DEAR LOVING: What you have experienced could be called an epiphany. In your case, it may be the simple, striking and illuminating discovery that once you felt again surrounded by love, respect and security, leaving this world and joining your husband in the next no longer held terror, but gave you peace.
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.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)