DEAR ABBY: My stepdaughter is planning to be married next spring. Her fiance has two children from a previous marriage. Will they become my grandchildren, my stepgrandchildren, the stepchildren of my stepdaughter, or simply the children of the man who married my stepdaughter?
My wife is teasing me about becoming an instant grandfather. I'm not so sure this marriage makes me one officially. I will, of course, treat them as my grandchildren, but I am curious nonetheless. Please advise. -- WONDERING IN INDIANAPOLIS
DEAR WONDERING: If you are married to "Grandma," that makes you "Grandpa." Stop splitting "heirs" and accept the honor graciously, or you may wind up being called a name that's far less complimentary than "Grandpa."
DEAR ABBY: I'm writing regarding "Just Julie in California," who was upset that her husband carried two pictures of his late wife in his billfold.
I married a widower who not only had pictures of her in his billfold, he also had one on the coffee table. He didn't constantly verbalize his love for me, but he showed it in countless ways every day, and I was happy to display a picture of his late wife in our living room. She was part of his life before me, and because I loved him so, I was grateful that he had a happy life before we met. Had it not been for their happy marriage, he might have been a different man than he was then, perhaps one who wouldn't have been so good to me.
My husband died suddenly after only 8 1/2 short years together. I am thankful that I didn't waste one moment of our wonderful life together by being jealous of the woman from his past. Julie should treasure what she has today, and stop worrying about a couple of photos from the past. -- SOMEONE WHO CARES
DEAR SOMEONE WHO CARES: Your signature says it all. I compliment you on your capacity to love and your common sense. New wives of widowers, please heed her message -- it contains a valuable lesson. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: This is for "Just Julie in California," who complained that her husband carried pictures of his late wife in his wallet.
I married a widower who had lost his wife to cancer six years earlier. This is my first marriage.
I know how overwhelming it can be to feel you are competing with a ghost. I solved the problem by remembering that I have a wonderful husband and that it was that dear departed lady who taught him about women. I also know that my husband gained strength and compassion by caring for his first wife during her illness. I count myself fortunate that my husband knows how devastating it is to lose a spouse, so he cherishes me.
Abby, I have placed some of his late wife's things on display and keep a small photo of her on the mantle over the fireplace. Whenever I walk past it, I always remember to thank her.
"Just Julie" should take heart and consider that if her husband loved his first wife so much that he carries her photo in his wallet 11 years after her death, how much he can love the wife he is able to hold in his arms. Sign me ... JOHN'S SECOND WIFE, NEW JERSEY
DEAR JOHN'S SECOND WIFE: Your husband picked not one but two "winners" to marry. You are a very perceptive woman. Take a bow -- you deserve it. John is a lucky man to have had two such wonderful, loving wives.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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