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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Irked by Sister in Law With No Desire to Play Aunt

DEAR ABBY: I have a problem with my sister-in-law. We've never been close, but got along fine until the birth of my son two years ago.

She always said she didn't like or want children, but I never took her seriously. I thought she'd make an exception with her own nephew. She's not nasty, but she takes absolutely no interest in him. She never wants to hold or play with him, and she's made it clear she's not available for baby sitting. At times, I think she resents the attention he gets from other members of the family.

My husband says not to worry about it, but I find her attitude offensive. My relationship with her has deteriorated. I'm upset that our sweet little boy doesn't have a normal, loving aunt.

My mother-in-law understands how I feel, but tells me it's my sister-in-law's choice and that I shouldn't let it get to me. What do you think? -- OFFENDED IN EAST BENTLEIGH, AUSTRALIA

DEAR OFFENDED: I agree with your husband and mother-in-law. Not everyone is able to relate to small children. You'll gain nothing by continuing to personalize this. It has nothing to do with you or the child.

Perhaps when your son is a bit older and easier for your sister-in-law to communicate with, she'll be able to establish a relationship with him. However, if it doesn't happen, the loss will be hers, not the boy's.