DEAR AMY: My cousin has finally had a baby after years of trying. I was really happy for her, until I found out what she named her son.
Three years ago, my son "Terence" was stillborn when I was eight months along.
This, of course, was very traumatic for my husband, my four surviving children and me.
Now my cousin has chosen this name for her baby.
I'm having some negative feelings about this situation. I don't want to but I can't help it. I know I don't own the copyright for his name, but no matter how I look at this, my cousin seems really insensitive to my kids and me.
There are different ways to look at this: Either she forgot my son with this name died (although I don't believe that because she was at the funeral), or she was using the name as a memorial to my son (I don't believe this either because she didn't say anything to me about using the name).
If only she had given me a heads-up, maybe it would not have been such a shock to my family and me.
I don't want to cause any problems. I am otherwise happy for her and I think she and her husband are going to make great parents — but I can't help the way I feel.
It will be Thanksgiving before I see her and I hope by then I will feel better. I feel horrible, selfish and petty, but I also don't want to see her or her baby right now.
— Name Withheld
DEAR WITHHELD: Your sadness is evident, and I am very sorry for your loss.
Your concern is completely understandable, and the best thing to do is to express it to your cousin with the same thoughtful circumspection you do here.
Contact her and be completely honest. Tell her how challenging this situation is for you right now. Don't ask her reasons for choosing this name (you are right; you don't own the name, especially if it is a family name), but say you continue to feel sad about your loss and the name she has chosen presents a challenge you intend to work hard to tackle, but which might take some time.
DEAR AMY: I am a 63-year-old single mother and grandmother.
I am educated, neat and clean. I dress with classic style, and have always been considered attractive.
I have three lovely daughters.
Whenever we spend time together, they want to "improve" the way I look.
They give me advice on using makeup and exercises to help with my wrinkles.
They claim I need to cut my hair, color it (I just started getting a little gray), dress younger, put on weight, etc.
I would rather spend my time enjoying one another's company and catching up, rather than facing a complete overhaul.
How can I get them to understand that I want to age naturally?
I remember how beautiful my parents, grandparents, and other older relatives looked to me as a child. I feel that anything else is a vain attempt to be something I prefer not to be.
— Renovation Project
DEAR PROJECT: My own mother also has three daughters. When we used to scrutinize her under the harsh light of our youthful glares, she would say, "I hope I live long enough to enjoy it when your daughters do this to you."
Fortunately, it happened, and I know she enjoys our discomfort as our own daughters weigh in on our looks or fashion choices.
Bring down the full weight of your motherly authority onto your young lovelies.
Say: "Girls, I adore you but my looks are not up for discussion. I think I look great and I don't enjoy hearing your ideas to the contrary."
DEAR AMY: You asked readers if it is necessary to thank someone for an e-card sent through the Internet.
That's ridiculous. I think e-cards are a nuisance. If someone wants to wish a friend a happy birthday they can get a card, stick a stamp on it and send it through the mail.
— Responsive Reader
DEAR READER: There is a high volume of mail on this topic. Most readers seem to agree with you.
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