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by Abigail Van Buren

Minister's Wrath Rains Down on Collecting Ceremonial Fees

DEAR ABBY: When I fell in love with Rodney, he was a single parent with a 4-year-old son called "Junie," for Junior. Rodney's wife had died before Junie was a year old. When I came on the scene, Junie started calling me "Mama" because I was the only mother he had ever known.

Now, after 10 years of marriage, some of Rodney's relatives still refer to Junie and me as "stepmother" and "stepson." That just breaks my heart.

When will I officially be known as "Mom"? -- JUNIE'S ONLY MOM

DEAR MOM: To people who think the way Rodney's relatives do, probably never. You can't change them, but you can change the way you react to them. When you are referred to as "stepmother," you might remind them that, although you may not be his biological mom, you are the only mother Junie has known. Then bask in the knowledge that you are truly Junie's mom, regardless of what anyone calls you.