Dear Abby: My fiance, “Rowan,” and I are getting married this year. It is my second marriage and his first. Rowan has a young son I’ll call “Sean” from a previous relationship. I have a good relationship with Sean, and expressed to Rowan that I’d love to include Sean on our honeymoon, so we can have a proper first family vacation. (Rowan’s custody agreement states that no unmarried parties may live together when their child is present in the home.)
Rowan was enthusiastic about it, since I’ll finally be able to have proper bonding time with Sean in a home environment overnight. But when I bring this up with anyone else, they say I am selfish for wanting to play “Mom” and include my soon-to-be stepson on a vacation that’s supposed to be for just me and my fiance.
We want to share this time with his son and have a fun family vacation. Are we doing the wrong thing? Should we leave Sean out? Why, with so many different family dynamics, is wanting to include Rowan’s son regarded as selfish?
Unselfish in the South
Dear Unselfish: You and Rowan should listen to your hearts instead of listening to unsolicited advice. Wanting to include Sean on the trip is the opposite of selfish, and it is your and your fiance’s privilege to decide.
Dear Abby: My husband’s daughter has decided that her children should not call me “Grandma,” because I’m not their biological grandmother. She says her mother is their grandma and not me, even though her father and I have been together since before the birth of her children.
Eight years later, she told them not to call me Grandma. I am so hurt about it I can no longer bring myself to go over to their house. Please tell me how I can deal with being so blatantly disrespected by my husband’s daughter. I seem to be good only for birthday presents and Christmas gifts.
Slighted in California
Dear Slighted: I subscribe to the philosophy that the more love there is in this world, the better. I would take it a step further and add that the more loving grandparents there are in a child’s life, the better. Your stepdaughter’s announcement to the children at this late date that you are not their grandmother seems spiteful and hurtful. That said, there’s nothing positive to be gained by shunning the children if you love them. What they call you is less important than the relationship you have with them. If you continue staying away as you have been doing, you will only drive a deeper wedge between you.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.