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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Wants Grandpa at Arm's Length to Come a Little Closer

DEAR ABBY: My daughter just celebrated her first birthday, and I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that my father isn't a "baby person." He has tried holding "Krissy" only twice.

He and his wife showed up to her party an hour and a half late and left early. The gift they brought was for a much younger, smaller baby, and the price tag -- from a budget store -- was still on it. The gift cost less than $10. Dad and his wife are not poor; in fact, they are wealthy.

Dad isn't in good health, so I hate being mad at him. I don't know how many more years he'll be around. Should I talk to him about this, or just let him sit it out and do practically nothing to be a part of his only grandchild's life? My in-laws are happily involved with Krissy. What do I tell her when she's old enough to wonder why Grandpa never sees her? -- MELANCHOLIC MOM IN MICHIGAN

DEAR MELANCHOLIC MOM: If it will make you feel better to talk to your father about this, by all means do so. But keep in mind that he comes from a generation of men who didn't necessarily relate to babies. Also, if he's in poor health, it may be a reason why he's not eager to hold her. It's possible he may relate better to his grandchild when she's old enough to talk and interact with him.

Tackle the question about how to respond to your daughter when she's old enough to question his absence if the issue arises. It's possible he may no longer be around by then. And if that's the case, hope he's more generous in his estate planning than he was on her first birthday.