Dear Annie: Over the holidays, my wife's niece posted a picture of a recipe card on Facebook that was from her grandmother, my wife's mother. She said it was her favorite Christmas recipe from her grandmother and in her grandmother's handwriting. She wants to have it printed on a tea towel (in Grandma's handwriting), and several other relatives have requested one for themselves. Here's the deal: The recipe is correct, and it is Grandma's, but my wife wrote it on a recipe card several years ago and handed copies out to relatives. It's my wife's handwriting, and someone will recognize that. Too funny! What to do? — Laughing All the Way
Dear Laughing All the Way: I think it's a sweet idea to have these towels printed anyway. Penmanship is beside the point. It's the spirit of the thing that counts, and who could better capture Grandma's spirit than her own daughter? That said, it's only fair that you allow your niece to be able to decide this for herself. Tell her the truth.
Dear Annie: The letter from "No More Tug of War" hit a nerve. I married a man whose mother considered me a threat and did everything to get me out of the picture, before and after the wedding. She, too, looked to her son to meet every emotional and intellectual need. She insulted and criticized me every chance she got. She made sure her son knew she thought he was making a mistake in marrying me. She told him at every opportunity that I was inferior as a wife and a person and made my life a living hell for decades.
For years and years, I did everything I could to be nice to her. I deeply loved my husband and wanted very much to get along with his mom, but in the end, I gave up. I ultimately refused to be around her.
My advice to "No More Tug of War" is to run as far and as fast as she can from this dynamic before it goes any further. She'll never win. No matter what she does, his mother will never like her. Counseling probably wouldn't cause "No More Tug of War's" boyfriend to take a stand and tell his mother to back off. "Tug" may love her boyfriend, but she needs to be with someone who respects her and whose parents think she's a great person for their son. I wish someone had given me that advice all those years ago. — Wiser and Bitter
Dear Wiser and Bitter: I appreciate your insight. I'm printing your letter so "No More Tug of War" can hear it from someone who's been there. But I really hope you can find some peace for yourself. It's not wise to be bitter.
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