DEAR ABBY: My daughter is graduating from high school in May. She has been accepted to a prestigious university, entirely due to her own hard work and dedication.
My father-in-law recently informed us that his new wife had selected our daughter’s graduation present, and they are excited to give it to her. They chose a pink luggage set. My husband and I are mystified about why they decided this would be the perfect gift for our daughter. We know she will be embarrassed — but gracious — if she receives this gift in front of our family and friends on graduation day. We would like to spare her the awkwardness and having to return an inappropriate gift.
Abby, would it be rude of us to strongly encourage them to rethink their gift? How do we broach the subject so we don’t cause hurt feelings or a rift? We are grateful for their generosity, but we know the gift won’t suit our grad. — MYSTIFIED MOTHER
DEAR MOTHER: I do not advise your becoming involved with this. Warn your daughter in advance what the gift will be so she isn’t caught flat-footed on graduation day. If she chooses to exchange the luggage for something she feels will be more appropriate, she should do so. Luggage that stands out like a sore thumb may be easier to spot on an airport carousel, but it can also be more vulnerable to theft than something that blends in.
DEAR ABBY: I have a tough problem. I care very much for my girlfriend. She keeps me in check and does everything for me. However, my best friend’s sister and I are extremely close. By close, I mean we have conversations about how things would be if we were dating. We have so much fun together. We never, ever argue, whereas my girlfriend and I are constantly fighting. I legitimately want the other girl, but I don’t know what I should do. — SCARED AND STUCK IN ST. PAUL
DEAR SCARED AND STUCK: You are a free man, neither married nor engaged. Because you have romantic feelings for someone else, gather your courage and level with your girlfriend. Tell her that while you appreciate everything she has done for you, you want to be free to date other people and think she should, too. The news will probably come as a shock to her, but it’s the honest thing to do and better for both of you.
DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband recently died, and I have just learned he had an illegitimate son 25 years ago. The son tracked me down wanting to know things about his biological father. My late husband and I had two children before this one was born. So, do I tell my children they have a half- brother and his aunts they have another nephew? — TRACKED DOWN IN ILLINOIS
DEAR TRACKED DOWN: I see no reason to make any announcements right now. Keep the news to yourself until you are sure that the man wants more contact with his relatives and isn’t just looking for medical information that could affect him. You also should make absolutely certain that he truly IS your late husband’s son by discussing it with an attorney before sharing any news or details.
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.