Dear Amy: A couple of months ago my daughter gave birth to a baby girl. I was so happy until I learned her name. The baby’s first name is lovely. It honors her father’s side of the family. The baby’s last name is my son-in-law’s surname. But the baby was given two middle names – a male, ethnic version of my late husband’s name, and his last name. My family and I were totally left out.
I was deeply hurt. And I don’t think my husband would have been happy with the way the baby girl is saddled with a very awkward masculine middle name.
I’ve expressed my thoughts to my daughter but she is sticking with the middle names.
My late-husband died when she was in her early teens and our relationship, which had been very good, soured. After that, nothing I did was right.
I was a loving and devoted mother to her and hoped she would realize that, especially after she had a child of her own. But I don’t see that happening and I’m thinking of simply fading out of my daughter’s life. I don’t think she would miss me and, at this point, vice versa. My second husband’s daughter and grandchildren love me. Rather than beating my head against a brick wall, I think I’d rather devote my energy to having a relationship with people who appreciate me. My only reservation is that my natural granddaughter will miss out on having a relationship.
What’s in a name?
Dear What’s: To begin with, I was “saddled” with a man’s middle name, and the damage has been minimal. Your grandchild will be fine, too, but will you be OK never spending time with her?
I get that you feel left out, but you’re missing the big picture here: You have the ability to be present for this child; your late husband does not.
Consider that your daughter wasn’t trying to snub you, but honor the grandparent that her child will never get to meet.
Try to put your hurt feelings aside, and do not punish your grandchild for the difficulties you’ve endured with her mother. Just be present, loving, and let the name issue go. You and your daughter may yet find common ground through this new little girl. I hope you will try harder to understand her motivations, and view this new generation as an opportunity to start over.
Dear Amy: At school I am being ignored by my friends because of the new kids that they have crushes on. They hang outside of school without me and boys are all they talk about! Because of this, I’m currently ignoring them. I’m cutting them from my life. I have unfollowed them on all my social media. It’s sad that they don’t even care. What do I do now?
Dear Dissed: Kids – and adults – grow and change at different rates.
Your friends seem to have entered the crush zone, and – if you’re not into that – they’re going to ignore you, and also be pretty boring to be around.
Your friends may feel like they can’t approach you after you cut ties with them. They might not know why you’ve done this. Have you tried to talk about it? If you try and still feel misunderstood and left out, you should start participating in a new activity -- I recommend checking out the drama department at your school.
School plays are where you meet a variety of pretty cool people, but anything that shakes up your routine will do. Whatever you choose to try, just remember quality over quantity: one great friend can make up for 10 wishy-washy ones.
Dear Amy: I was alarmed at your incorrect response to “Driving Me Nuts,” who was concerned about her granddaughter’s “vocal fry.”
As a nationally certificated, credentialed and licensed speech-language pathologist, I have worked with voice disorders for the last 26 years. I can tell you that without a doubt a person using “vocal fry” is performing a form of vocal abuse and can damage the vocal cords in the same way that yelling and screaming can damage vocal cords. Vocal abuse can create vocal nodules and sometimes irreversible voice damage. That grandmother had every right to be alarmed.
Harriet Snyder, M.S., CCC-SLP
Dear Harriet: My reading showed conflicting professional opinions on this. One thing everyone seems to agree about is that vocal fry is annoying.
My advice to this grandmother, however, was that this is not her problem to try and fix.
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.