DEAR ABBY: I have a brother and a sister. I'm the oldest. My husband and I have a 3-year-old child and no plans for more children.
We have been blessed to be able to afford nice things for our daughter, and I have saved them in the hope of giving them to my brother and his fiancee, who are being married this year. My brother and I are very close, and I love his fiancee. They are not financially well off, so I know it would mean a lot to them.
Now something unexpected has happened. My sister -- the youngest -- just announced that she's engaged and is being married in three months. She plans on having children ASAP, whereas my brother and his fiancee want to wait a year or two after the wedding.
My mom and my sister say whoever has a baby girl first is entitled to all my stuff, but I don't want to give all my "treasures" to my sister. We have never gotten along, and she wouldn't appreciate them like my brother would. Am I wrong for feeling the way I do? What should I do? -- FEELING COERCED IN WASHINGTON
DEAR FEELING COERCED: Cross your fingers and hope your sister's production line produces all boys. (Just kidding.) Your baby items belong to you, not your mother and not your sister. No one is "entitled" to them. If you prefer to give them to your brother's wife, that's your privilege. Your reasons seem valid to me.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 17 and have been in a relationship with "Zane" for three years. We get along beautifully, but of course we have our issues to work through. What upsets me is adults who think our relationship isn't real because I'm under 18. No, Zane and I don't have bills to pay or children to raise, but we talk to each other. That's what I have always thought is the most important thing between two people.
We have fun together, go to church and have meaningful discussions about almost everything. The only thing my divorced parents agree on is that they both love Zane. We know our relationship isn't perfect, but we're committed to working on it, becoming closer and understanding each other.
But I keep getting comments from teachers, my friends' parents, strangers and even Zane's grandma about how we should be prepared for our romance not to last because we're so young. It's annoying and disheartening. How can I prove to these "non-believers" that teens feel love and can have stable relationships, too? -- SERIOUSLY IN LOVE IN MAINE
DEAR SERIOUSLY IN LOVE: I don't blame you for feeling frustrated, because being patronized is annoying. The way to prove to "non-believers" that they are wrong is simply to continue successfully in your relationship. You appear to be mature, grounded and treat each other well. I don't know what your plans are for after high school, but if you keep the lines of communication open, I see no reason why this couldn't lead to marriage one day -- and a good one, based on mutual respect and compromise.
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