DEAR HARRIETTE: My children are all using smartphones, and they bought me one, too. They send me pictures of their children through the phone, and it's just marvelous. I love it. I do miss handwritten notes, though. I would love for them to encourage their children to write to me. I love having those notes to read and reread. Plus, it teaches the children how to write. I'm afraid if I suggest it, they may be offended. What can I do? I don't want to seem ungrateful for what they are doing. -- Grandma Love, Washington, D.C.
DEAR GRANDMA LOVE: It is wonderful that you are receiving regular communications from your children and grandchildren and that you are open to new ways of engaging them. It is also perfectly understandable that you are longing for a good old-fashioned letter. Rather than imploring your children to get their children to write to you, try another strategy. Write directly to your grandchildren. Write to each one individually, sharing a bit of news that you think they may find of interest. Enclose a little trinket or magazine clipping or some other memento that you think they would appreciate. At gift times, consider giving them personalized stationery. This may prove an incentive for them to write. You can even tell them that you wish they would write to you from time to time.