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by Abigail Van Buren

Vulgar New Member Puts Pall on Family Celebrations

DEAR ABBY: My fiance, "Blake," called off our engagement recently. He has a 4-year-old son, "Danny," with whom I grew very close during our 3 1/2-year relationship. Danny lives with his grandmother, and she and I also have a close relationship. Danny's mother has never been in the picture, and Blake and I would see the boy every weekend.

The grandmother called me recently and asked if I would still like to see Danny. I want to do what's best for the child. I do not wish to use him as a way to stay in my ex-fiance's life. I grew very attached to Danny and, near the end of my relationship with Blake, he had begun to call me "Mommy." I had hoped that one day we would be a family and he wouldn't have to endure another mother figure leaving him.

Would it be best for Danny to continue to see me, or should I leave him alone? -- ALMOST MOM IN SARASOTA

DEAR ALMOST MOM: Because you have been close to Danny for more than three-fourths of his short life, I see no reason why you shouldn't see him. However, you should no longer allow him to call you "Mommy." Tell him that you love him, but he should call you "Aunty" because you will not be living with him. That way you can still have a warm relationship with the boy, even if his father marries someone else who would assume the mommy role.