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Column: Grannies galore and gift giving
by Lauretta Hannon
May 09, 2013 04:37 PM | 6704 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lauretta Hannon
Lauretta Hannon
Q: A number of women in my granddaughter’s life want her to call them Grandma or Granny or Nanny. Is this a new quirk or a Southern thing of placing themselves into the family in this manner? I guess it seems petty and jealous, but I feel I am the kid’s granny, not some woman in her neighborhood. I’m glad that they love my granddaughter but also feel that the family names like Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt or Uncle should be reserved for the blood relatives. Your thoughts?

A: It takes a village to raise a child, but there’s only one real grandma in it. And you are that person. Your granddaughter will never mistake the other nannies for the genuine article, so have no worries.

That said, I do prefer that these names be exclusive to the actual relatives, but this is not in your control. Look at this way: Your granddaughter is mighty lucky to have a team of supportive women behind her.

Q: I was at a stage performance last weekend. As I was returning to my seat after intermission, a woman was standing in the aisle blocking my way over to the handrail as she was texting on her phone. I said, “Excuse me, please,” and started to reach around her to the handrail. This self-centered, bottle-blonde witch huffed, “I’m waiting to go down the stairs,” and turned her back to me again. This made me lose my balance and nearly fall. As I was shocked, shaken, and a lady, I said nothing, but I really wanted to tell her what train to take and how far to go. What would have been an appropriate response, other than tripping her on the way out?

A: Personally I like the tripping option. But the better idea would have been to invade her space a little. Imagine you’re wielding a velvet hammer. Then explain to her that she needs to unblock the aisle and allow you and other folks access to the handrail. With someone like Blondie you have to puncture the bubble she’s living in to get her attention.

There’s no need to raise your voice or instigate a confrontation. You can still be a lady — an iron lady — even while teaching the most self-absorbed among us.

Q: I have a problem with my sister. We have always given gifts to each other and the kids over the years. But lately she has been forgetting our birthdays. As for me and my husband, that is fine, and I keep asking to stop with gifts, especially for the adults and maybe keep it going for the kids. She does not want to do that.

So, I have continued giving. When she forgets a birthday, she says “please remind me,” and “I’m sorry.” I do remind her that she has forgotten birthdays, and she always replies, “Thank you so much. I can’t believe I forgot and will get them something soon.” But she doesn’t.

When I bring it up again that I want to stop gift giving — even at Christmas — she gets angry and then I feel bad. I love my sister, but I’m busy, too, yet I still remember the special days of our family. What do you suggest?

A: Things are rarely equal in relationships, so your sister probably won’t change. Instead, it’s up to you to change something. You have two options.

1. Stop letting this bother you and continue to give gifts for the joy of it, without needing anything in return.

2. Give no more gifts. Honor the birthdays with a thoughtful card or phone call. Perhaps Christmas can be the only time that gifts are exchanged.

Most importantly, remember that the deeply cherished things are never things. And the ultimate present is in just being present.

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Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at

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