DEAR ABBY: I'm writing because I'm torn. My mother-in-law recently retired and wants to gift stocks to all of her grandchildren. However, my husband refuses to accept them on behalf of our son. We also didn't deposit her wedding and baby shower gifts to us. (Both were checks.) We just kept them because I felt it was the right thing to do.
However, in this case, I appreciate and would gladly accept the stocks. Her gift would pay for my son's higher education. My husband feels we can't accept everything he's given. I think he's being stubborn, not thinking about his son and letting his ego get in the way. What do you think about this? — THINKING OF THE FUTURE
DEAR THINKING: Why am I thinking you omitted an important paragraph (or two) from your letter? The one describing your husband's troubled relationship with his mother. That relationship should be separate from hers with her grandchild.
She was generous with her wedding and shower gifts. (The checks should probably be destroyed at this late date because they can no longer be cashed.) As to the gift of stocks she wants to give your son, I see no rational reason why they shouldn't be accepted, acknowledged and saved to be used for the purpose for which they are intended. Your husband's stance on this is irrational and will serve no purpose other than to penalize the boy — and both of you.
DEAR ABBY: My 29-year-old daughter just moved out on her own from the bedroom she has occupied since she was 7 months old and into a nice place. She has been dating "Ben" for five years. She has helped Ben and stuck by him. Despite the fact that Ben doesn't have a degree, my daughter has helped him improve his potential, and he now has licenses and gets well-paying jobs.
When he met my daughter, he lived with his mom. My daughter gave him the push to get his own place and helped him decorate. Ben is eight years older than she is and has a 9-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, whom my daughter gets along with.
I guess because parents have expectations for their kids, I thought by now there would have been some sort of talk about their future. She and Ben are still together, but I don't know if this relationship is headed anywhere. I like him, and I have a great relationship with my daughter. I don't want to intrude on her private life. What can I do to get them to move toward the future? — CARING DAD IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR DAD: You are certainly free to have the discussion with your daughter, but as much as you love her, this is not your journey. It's hers and Ben's. Don't be a back-seat driver. They are enjoying the present, and the future will take care of itself.
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