Dear Abby: My two adult granddaughters have rejected me, their doting grandfather. Their father gave me this explanation: "They are uncomfortable with the way you rub their shoulders and necks."
These girls and both parents have misinterpreted my innocent expressions of affection, which haven't changed since the girls were little. The only change is in their perception of my actions.
I am devastated. I asked twice to meet with these family members to discuss their concerns. It has been 3 months; no meeting time has been offered. There has been no contact, and neither girl has called me for any reason this year.
I can't just stop loving those with whom I have forged a 20-year bond of affection. How can this rupture be repaired? – Grieving Granddad
Dear Grieving Granddad: Clearly, there is a need for some professional mediation here, provided your granddaughters and their parents are willing. If your touches have been regarded as inappropriate, you should have been warned about it years ago. Obviously something has made your granddaughters uncomfortable, and the rupture won't heal until it can be discussed openly.
Dear Abby: Lately I have noticed that people are bringing their dogs shopping with them. I'm not talking about service dogs, but pets.
The other day, a woman brought her dog into the grocery store. While I'll admit the little thing looked cute sitting in the shopping cart, someone else's food will be in that cart next, and who knows where that dog's feet have been?
Why does management allow this? I'm willing to bet money that if I were to bring my pit bull, "Bruiser," inside the grocery store with me, I'd be stopped immediately. Talk about a double standard. I welcome your comments. – Askance in Poway, Calif.
Dear Askance: You should speak to the store manager and ask why it was permitted, because I was under the impression that health laws do not permit canines inside establishments that sell food – unless they are service dogs. "Bruiser" might be unwelcome not because of his size, but because there is concern about the breed's reputation.
Dear Abby: I am responding to your answer to "Lost, Alone and Worried in Urbana, Ill." (Dec. 26), the young girl who is being made to teach her younger, learning-disabled brother how to read. You were right in advising her to talk to her school counselor. However, you should have emphasized strongly to her that it is a MUST.
The school counselor is part of a guidance team that evaluates students with learning differences and strategizes ways to support the student and family. The parents are part of the team and attend meetings requested by the teacher, counselor or the parents themselves. All conversations are confidential.
This may help the sister understand that she will not be blamed for anything. She is in a difficult position, and you were right to suppose that the parents may be frustrated and looking for help. It may be exactly what this family needs to get back on track. – Louise B., Elementary School Counselor
Dear Louise B.: I appreciate your input, and I hope the girl who wrote sees your letter.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.