DEAR ABBY: I have a unique problem. My mother-in-law is too nice. She insists on taking my children once or twice a week so that she can have her own time with them -- often taking them on fun outings for entire afternoons or evenings. I am not invited. Although she cannot refuse to let me come, any time I do, she makes me feel that I am intruding. I guess she likes to "play mom," and my presence interferes.
While I appreciate the fact that she goes out of her way to develop a good relationship with my children, it bothers me that she demands to see them so often and at my exclusion. Am I just being selfish for feeling left out? In my family, the attitude was always "the more the merrier." We have a good relationship otherwise. -- LEFT OUT IN SAN DIEGO
DEAR LEFT OUT: Many people reading this column would fall on their knees and kiss the ground if their parents or in-laws treated their children the way yours does. However, because you feel left out, it's time to have a frank talk with "Granny" and tell her that you would like to be able to join some of those outings without feeling that you are intruding, as you have been made to feel -- however inadvertently -- in the past. She may not be aware of the message she has been conveying.