KATHY MITCHELL AND MARCY SUGAR | Annie's Mailbox Her niece may be a questionable choice as sitter
Dear Annie: One of my closest friends uses my niece, "Gina," as a baby sitter for her 2-year-old son. Over the last few years, I have discovered some things about Gina that make me question her character and honesty. Most recently, she has been in legal trouble for her involvement in a string of robberies.
My friend and Gina have a great relationship, but, as a mother, I would want to know about the person I am trusting to care for my child. It's obvious that my friend has no idea. Should I tell her or stay out of it? Portland, Ore.
Dear Portland: Tell her. But keep in mind that Gina's legal problems may have no bearing whatsoever on her ability to care for a child or her trustworthiness as a baby sitter. Please do not issue a blanket condemnation of Gina's character. Her background is an issue because of the people she may be associating with, who may be hanging around your friend's home while Gina is baby-sitting. Your friend deserves to know all the facts about the person entrusted with her child's care.
Dear Annie: Some time ago, my sister-in-law, "Lettie," asked to borrow a music book my grandmother had given me years ago. I said I would rather not loan it out, as the book was very precious to me. Sometime after the visit, I discovered the book was missing and assumed it had been misplaced and would turn up.
Two years later, I was visiting Lettie. While looking through her piano music, I found the pages of my grandmother's book, separated and scattered among her collection. The pages had Grandma's initials on the corner, so I am sure they were hers. I was so shocked, I was speechless. I didn't know what to do, so I did nothing.
That happened five years ago. Today when Lettie visits, I wonder what else she is taking out my door. I do like her company, but I'm uneasy in her presence. Should I say something about the music after all this time, or let it go for the sake of family harmony? It still eats me up. Heartsick in Chicago
Dear Heartsick: Might as well let it go. You are not likely to retrieve the music now, and even if you did, the original book is not going to be reconstituted. After five years, Lettie considers the music to be hers. That does not excuse her behavior, however. She is a thief, plain and simple.
The next time you are in Lettie's home, locate a piece of the music that you can verify belonged to your grandmother, and show it to her. Smile sweetly and say, "I'm glad to see you've been enjoying Grandma's music. Whenever you're finished with it, I'd love to have the pages returned to me."
Dear Annie: This is in response to "Lonesome Grandma in Texas," whose daughter would not allow her to see the grandchildren.
As a grandmother and an advocate for grandparents' rights in the state of Indiana, I can tell you that what the daughter is doing is very much against the law. Grandparents have the legal right to bond and connect with their grandchildren. The daughter is denying both her children and her mother the right to do that.
Enforcing visitation protects grandparents from being denied contact simply because their daughters or sons decide to act like adolescents. The grandmother needs to contact an attorney to discuss her options. She has many available to her. Indiana Grandmother
Dear Indiana Grandmother: Thank you for the civics lesson. Many states now have grandparent-rights laws on the books. Those who are being denied contact with their grandchildren should talk to an attorney.