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Mom needs to take a stand and stop providing on-call babysitting.

DEAR ANNIE: At least once a week, my oldest daughter, "Alice,'' asks me to babysit her two kids. I have back problems and cannot get up and down all the time. She has never offered me a dime, even when she was married and had two incomes.

Alice blames me for everything bad that has ever happened to her, because I divorced her father. Of course, their father moved away without saying goodbye to any of the kids and was out of their lives for seven years, leaving me with two teenagers and a 9-year-old to raise.

I am remarried, and my husband and I like to have the weekends to ourselves. We would love it if Alice brought the kids over for a visit and stayed. But she drops them at the front door and speeds away.

Alice never phones just to talk, only to ask me to babysit. If I don't answer, she drives over and pounds on my door. All of the children are reunited with their father. Why doesn't Alice ask him to babysit once in a while? -- HIDING OUT IN INDIANA

DEAR HIDING OUT: You need to be more assertive with Alice. Tell her that you'd like her to visit once in a while instead of using you as a drop-off service. Also say that you love the kids, but cannot babysit so much. It's OK to say no, even if it makes her angry. Don't be afraid to bring up some type of payment.

DEAR ANNIE: I am an 87-year-old widower and am appalled at the number of letters in your column about bickering between parents, children, siblings, grandparents, friends, husbands and wives.

I wish I could share some of the love I am blessed to experience. After my wife of 52 years died, I went out late at night to clear snow from the church parking lot. Upon returning, there were four messages on my answering machine, and my granddaughter was calling to say her father was on his way to check on me -- a 40-mile round trip. For the past 15 years, they have called every night, no matter where they are.

My son-in-law uses a week of his vacation to drive 1,500 miles to check on my 90-year-old sister. He drives 80 miles on Sundays to get me to church. My granddaughters take me to the doctor, and my nephew and his wife often take me to dinner. My wife's family includes me in their get-togethers. My son calls daily, and my grandson fills in when his family is out of town.

We reap what we sow. Love is like an echo: What you do or say will return to you. -- A BLESSED GRANDPAW

DEAR GRANDPAW: It warms our hearts to know how close and loving your family is. We wish everyone were so cherished. Thank you.
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Title Annotation:Living
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:May 22, 2014
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