DEAR ABBY: My husband and I had a falling-out with his parents last October. We sent them an e-mail in December to let them know we have no desire to keep our children — ages 5 and 6 — from them. We feel it is important that they have a good relationship with their grandparents even though we don't.
My in-laws never responded and have made no attempt to see the children. They do send cards to them for holidays and birthdays, however.
While we accept that they want nothing to do with us, the kids keep asking why they don't get to see Nana and Papa anymore. We tell them that Nana and Papa love them very much, but are very busy. My in-laws live just 10 minutes away.
Abby, how do I continue to explain this situation to my children? They have done nothing wrong, and my heart breaks for them.
— DON'T BLAME THE KIDS
DEAR DON'T: You are behaving as if the ball is now in your in-laws' court. Continue telling your children that their grandparents love them, and have them pick up the phone and call Nana and Papa. If your in-laws are screening their calls and don't answer, have the children leave a message saying they miss their grandparents and would like to see them. Then the ball will be in their court.
DEAR ABBY: My son will graduate in June from a college in the Northeast. We live way down south. I am sending a few invitations to announce the occasion. No one is expected to make the trip for the event.
If people send only congratulatory cards, is a thank-you in order if no gifts are received?
— GRAD'S MOM
DEAR MOM: You should not send an invitation to anyone you know will not attend the graduation ceremony. To do so would seem like a bid for a gift. Instead, send a graduation announcement. According to "Emily Post's Etiquette": "Recipients of any kind of announcement are not expected to give gifts, though they may want to send a congratulatory note or card."
When someone does something nice for someone else, it deserves to be acknowledged. If your son receives a card congratulating him on his graduation, he should take a moment and drop the sender a note saying, "Thank you for remembering me at this special time in my life."
DEAR ABBY: I am a single woman in my mid-20s and am in the process of buying my first home. It is a great house and not necessarily a typical "starter" home.
My issue is many friends and acquaintances keep asking me how much I am purchasing the home for and how can I afford it. I was raised that to ask about someone's financial situation is rude and intrusive. Am I right, or has this become acceptable?
— VEXED IN TEXAS
DEAR VEXED: It's not surprising that someone would be curious. However, you are right. It IS bad manners to ask people what they paid for something. That's why you are perfectly within your rights to say that you would prefer not to answer and the question makes you uncomfortable.
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.