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Stepmother-to-be is happy leaving parenting to parents

Dear Abby:

I’m engaged to a younger man with a 10-year-old son from his first marriage. My two daughters are grown.

My fiancé and I have talked at length about my role in his son’s life after we’re married. The boy’s mother will have him full time; my fiancé will continue to do his part as far as picking his son up from school, taking him to baseball practices and his baseball games, taking him to movies, etc.

I have been told he and his ex will continue to co-parent, and I will not have to be responsible in any way for this child. I have no problem with this. In my opinion, the boy’s parents have the right to raise him as they please. Plus, as an older woman, I’m relieved I won’t have to be responsible again for a child at my age. To me, this is a win-win, but my daughters think it is odd. Who is right?

Hands Off in California

Dear Hands Off:

You are. That boy is lucky to have responsible parents who are able to cooperate with each other in raising him. Your daughters are entitled to their opinions, of course, but you are also entitled to yours. Ignore them.

Dear Abby:

I went to the grocery store today. I was wearing a mask and careful to keep my social distance. The store employees were also wearing masks and keeping their distance.

An older woman stood in front of the chicken for at least 10 minutes. When she finally moved aside, I went over to put some in my cart. She came back and gave me a lecture on which chicken was the best deal. I was horrified. I know she was trying to be friendly, but at this time of social distancing, the best way to be friendly is to give people their space in public!

This scenario seems to happen every time I go to the store. What’s the best thing to say to these people?

Trying to Keep Safe

Dear Trying:

The woman may have forgotten for a moment what the new rules are. The best thing to say in that situation would be, “Thank you, but please, for your health and mine, step back and keep your distance.”

Dear Abby:

I read the “Definition of Maturity” in your column a while ago, and I would like to share a clipping I have been saving since the 1960s. It’s from the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women Newsletter and titled “A Short Course in Courtesy.”

“The SIX most important words: ‘I admit I made a mistake.’ The FIVE most important words: ‘You did a good job.’ The FOUR most important words: ‘What is your opinion?’ The THREE most important words: ‘If you please.’ The TWO most important words: ‘Thank you.’ The ONE most important word: ‘We.’ The LEAST most important word: ‘I.’”

The clipping is disintegrating on my fridge, but the saying has provided a life lesson I’ve lived by. In these times of uncertainty, it’s a good reminder of how to treat others.

N.Y. Transplant in S.C.

Dear N.Y. Transplant:

I agree with the philosophy expressed in the item you shared. It is something to inspire us. Thank you for writing.

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