DEAR ABBY: I have a 1-year-old daughter with a man I chose not to marry. Every time I take my little girl to visit her grandparents, they bombard me with comments about who my child favors. Everything, from his family's point of view, comes from her father -- down to her baby noises and facial gestures.
What makes this so hurtful is it's simply not true. I have tried to politely slip some baby pictures of myself to them in the hope they'd take the hint and stop. My daughter does resemble her daddy, but she also has my hair, eyes, skin and some facial features. Nothing has worked so far, and I am beyond frustrated.
Please print this because, childish as it may seem, being made to feel like a test tube who contributed nothing really hurts. -- INVISIBLE IN ALABAMA
DEAR INVISIBLE: Stop hinting and tell your daughter's grandparents exactly what you have told me and the rest of my readers. But please say it gently, because what they are doing isn't unusual. When a child is born, it's natural for families to look for and recognize their own genetic traits. They may be tactless, but I'm sure they don't mean to be cruel. You are far more than a "test tube." You're a caring and conscientious mother for making sure that your child has a relationship with her grandparents.
DEAR ABBY: I just got a phone call from my father. He hadn't called in more than three months, so I was a little surprised to hear from him. The first words out of his mouth were, "Can I borrow $250 to get my car fixed? You don't even have to get me a Father's Day present."
Abby, my dad is not poor. Now he is mad at me for saying no. He says I'm ungrateful, and that I owe it to him for all the years he paid child support to my mom.
I don't have the money to spare. I just spent a lot to have my own car fixed, and I'm saving for a new one. Was I wrong not to give him the loan? Should I have done it to keep the peace? -- SECOND THOUGHTS IN OGDEN, UTAH
DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: It depends on your relationship with your father. Obviously, you are not particularly close or there wouldn't have been a three-month gap between conversations. And since "the first words out of his mouth" were to ask for money, your dad's diplomatic skills could use some sharpening.
I don't think you were wrong to refuse. The worst reason in the world to make a loan is to "keep the peace."
P.S. Your father paid child support because he was required by law to do it. You do not owe him money in return.
DEAR ABBY: What is the proper way to communicate to your work colleagues the reinstatement of your maiden name after a divorce? -- SINGLE AGAIN IN SAN RAMON, CALIF.
DEAR SINGLE AGAIN: Tell your co-workers about your name change and have new business cards printed. For those with whom you do business but do not see on a daily basis, a short note informing them of the name change would be suitable. If you are asked the reason for it, a two-word explanation, "I'm divorced," should suffice.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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