DEAR ABBY: I come from a small, close family. Last year, we suffered a devastating loss. My cousin and her two children were killed in a car accident. We have all been profoundly affected by this loss, especially my aunt and uncle.
Fast forward: Another cousin is pregnant with her second child. She wants to name her daughter “Daisy” because she wants all her children to have flower-themed names. “Daisy” is the name of one of the children who died. I, and others in the family, are upset by her decision because her reason for choosing the name has nothing to do with honoring our lost family member.
I understand no one “owns” a baby name, and she can choose whatever name she wants for any reason. But I am having trouble getting past the fact that I’ll see this child at family gatherings and have to call her by my dead cousin’s name for no reason other than it was a cute flower name.
My cousin is set on using this name despite family protests, and I can’t help but foresee bitterness ahead for us when we’ve already dealt with so much. What, if anything, can we do to make this situation more positive? – Name Game in New York
DEAR NAME GAME: Your cousin appears to have the empathy of a garden snail. Did it occur to anyone in the family to suggest to her that there are other flower names besides Daisy – Dalia, Daphne or even Desert Rose? (Her nickname could be “Desi,” which is cute.) If you haven’t, please do before the baby arrives. However, if she refuses to change her mind, it’s time for you to start memorizing the Serenity Prayer.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 22 years. He’s a diamond in the rough. My grown children, three boys, have always just tolerated him. They say he talks too much, doesn’t listen and still treats the younger two like children. I know he can be overbearing at times.
They have now ganged up and will no longer allow the grandchildren to come stay with me. They say my husband is too harsh in correcting them, which isn’t true. The only time he is loud and fast to correct is if the parents aren’t here to do it. They have offered no alternative solution.
Two have expressed to my husband how they feel. My husband is trying to acknowledge their feelings and wants to do better. How do we proceed as a family? I’m afraid they will withhold the grands each time they disagree with us. Counseling is out since we live in separate cities. Any words of wisdom for us? – Hurting Heart in South Carolina
DEAR HURTING HEART: Look at this from your sons’ perspective. When they hear from your grandchildren that your grouchy (but well-meaning) husband yelled at them, as parents, their first instinct is to protect their kids.
I can’t guarantee that your sons won’t use emotional blackmail in the future, but I can offer two suggestions: Your husband should take a deep breath and count to 10 before he reacts, and he should defer the discipline to Grandma. And if that isn’t enough to satisfy your sons, then you will have to visit them instead of having them visit you.