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DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Giselle," is scheduled to have serious surgery soon, and she has forbidden us to come to the hospital. She wants only her husband to be there.

She has gone so far as to call us and make me promise that we will not come. She says we need to respect that she is a grown woman in her late 40s, and this is her decision and her way of dealing with the situation.

Giselle lives two hours from us, and she said she will let us know when we can visit for a few days. Her husband will contact us as soon as the doctor talks to him after surgery. But Giselle says that she simply "does not want to be surrounded by family."

I feel like we are being treated like family pets -- come when you're called; otherwise, stay out of the way. Up to this point we had a close relationship with her. We cannot understand her attitude. What do you think, Abby? -– BAFFLED IN NEW YORK

DEAR BAFFLED: This isn't about you or the family pet. It is about your adult daughter facing what might be a life-threatening or life-changing operation and what will make her most comfortable. I know you love your daughter, and I'm sure it is reciprocated. But I think it is imperative that you abide by her wishes and not impose your own on her at this time.

DEAR ABBY: When taking public transportation and you are seated on the aisle, is it customary and polite to get up so that someone can sit down near the window, or is it OK to just swivel to the side and let them "squeeze in"? -- SEAT SITTER IN DALY CITY, CALIF.

DEAR SEAT SITTER: It is better manners –- and sometimes the better part of wisdom -- to stand and allow the person to be seated.

DEAR ABBY: A year ago I received such a thoughtful Christmas gift from my daughter-in-law that I can't resist telling you about it. First, she sent a card instructing me to open my gifts according to the month written on the package -- so the giving would continue all year long.

For January, she gave me a calendar. For February, a heart-shaped pin; for March, a leprechaun figurine; for April, a bag of candy Easter eggs. A kitchen utensil holder with "Mom" on it was her gift for May; for June she gave me sunglasses; Fourth of July candles were the July surprise; my birthday gift in August was a candy dish. September is Grandparents' Month, so she gave me a grandmother plaque.

Her October gift was a small jack-o'-lantern to hang up in my window. November was a decorative wall hanging, trimmed with nuts and berries. And in December, there were two housedresses.

Abby, I loved the series of gifts. They reflected affection, ingenuity and generosity -- qualities my daughter-in-law has in abundance. Sign me ... A VERY HAPPY MOTHER-IN-LAW

DEAR MOTHER-IN-LAW: It's clear from your letter that you and your daughter-in-law have a special relationship, and it's a credit to both of you. "Gifts that keep on giving" -- meaning gifts that continue throughout the year -- are an excellent idea. That's why magazine subscriptions, boxes of fruit and monthly arrangements of flowers are so popular. However, your daughter-in-law's gift was tailored just for you -- a very clever concept.

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