Dear Annie: I would like your opinion on something. I am a grandmother of four wonderful grandkids and very proud of the fact. The problem comes when dealing with the other grandmother, especially when others are in the vicinity. I don’t know whether it’s because I am older than she is or what, but she always addresses me as “Gramma Mary,” as in, “Gramma Mary, what would you like to do today?”

I find this condescending, disrespectful and rude. First of all, I am not her grandmother. Second, I am a person in my own right, with a job and hobbies. I am not defined solely by being a grandmother.

I was at a family function last week where I met my granddaughter’s soon-to-be mother-in-law, and this woman called me “Gramma,” too! My daughter later said it was because she couldn’t remember my name, which is all well and good, but when I couldn’t remember her name, I didn’t call her “Mom.” I took my daughter aside and asked what her name was.

I don’t mean to sound petty, but this bothers me so much that I want to scream. If a grandchild calls me “Gramma,” I’m thrilled and want them to shout it from the rooftops. But when non-related adults do it, it is demeaning. How can I get them to stop? — No Name, No City

Dear No Name: Not every grandmother would object to this, especially since other adults might consider it part of your title and unconnected to your relationship to them. Also keep in mind that, in front of the grandchildren, others may feel it is less confusing to the kids to refer to you by the same name the children use. But since this bothers you so much, it’s perfectly OK to state your preference at the time. When someone calls you “Gramma Mary,” smile and say, “I’d prefer you call me ‘Mary.'” You can remind them when necessary.

Dear Annie: I am a recent widower. I was married for more than 50 years. The problem is, my conscience is really bothering me.

Almost 40 years ago, I had a brief affair with one of my employees. I confessed my sins to my priest, but I never said anything to my wife. I don’t know whether she suspected anything, but if she did, she was silent.

The dilemma is: Should I tell my adult children? Or should I take this unholy secret to my grave? — California

Dear California: Please don’t ease your conscience by burdening your children with this hurtful information.

You might feel better, but they would feel terrible. Even though you spoke to your priest, if you still need to get this off of your chest, talk to a counselor. You made a mistake 40 years ago and crave forgiveness, but you also have to forgive yourself.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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