Son is odd man out when mom sends birthday gifts


DEAR ABBY - My husband, daughter and I all have birthdays in the same month. My mother-in-law always sends gifts for me and my daughter but never to my husband, her son. He tries to shrug it off but I know it bothers him.

In earlier years, I thought it was an oversight. I have tried gentle reminders and hints but again this year there was no gift for her son. It would be different if she sent one only to our daughter but sending one to me and not to her son is a slap in the face. They have a fairly good relationship and my husband is kind and generous to his parents.

I haven't opened the gift she sent me this year and I do not intend to. Should I return it to her with a note explaining why or donate it and forget about it until it happens next year?

Perplexed in the Northwest

DEAR PERPLEXED - Your mother-in-law's behavior strikes me as passive aggressive. That it makes you uncomfortable is understandable. Perhaps you and your husband should ask her directly why she does this and let her explain. Then, after you have heard her out, you can tell her that what she's doing makes you uncomfortable and you would prefer she not send you any more birthday gifts if she intends to ignore her son.

DEAR ABBY - When a large-breasted woman is standing and saluting for the national anthem at sporting events, where should the right hand be placed? Above her breast, under her breast or on her breast?

Just wondering in Florida

DEAR JUST WONDERING - It depends upon whom the right hand belongs to. If it's someone else's hand, it should be kept to oneself. If it's the large-breasted woman's hand, it should be placed on her chest toward the top of her left breast.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.