I want to throw away my daughter’s gifts, is that wrong?

DEAR ABBY: I have a 4-year-old daughter. She spends time at her grandma’s house and does arts and crafts projects there. When my MIL drops her off, she brings the project to our house. We enjoy seeing it for a few days, and my daughter plays with it for a few days.

Then it gets added to the rest of her toys. I want to give them back to my mother-in-law, but is it polite to send them? They are genuinely cute projects, so I don’t want to throw them away, but we have too much stuff here. 

This same dilemma arises with birthday and Christmas gifts. My daughter receives nice gifts, but we don’t want to keep them at our house, so we’ve asked my mother-in-law to keep some at her house for when my daughter visits. I think she’s offended by the request. 

Should we just keep the projects and gifts and eventually throw them away or donate them? Or should we be honest and ask for an alternative? I’m not sure honesty is welcomed in society anymore. Your thoughts are appreciated. — HONESTLY UNSURE

DEAR UNSURE: If Grandma wanted the toys and art projects at her house, she wouldn’t be sending them home with your daughter. I do think a “truth session” is in order. The lead-in should be something like this: “Ethel, honey, we wish you would keep some of our little angel’s toys at your place so she can enjoy them while she’s visiting you. These things are piling up at our place and we no longer have anywhere to put them. Would you please help us out?” 

Then, shut your mouth and see how your MIL responds. If she isn’t helpful or receptive, toss the stuff sooner rather than later, and pray it doesn’t appreciate in value as your budding artist grows older.

DEAR ABBY: I wonder what I should do about a friend (“Corinne”) I knew through high school and who was a bridesmaid in my wedding. Seven years ago, my husband was diagnosed with tongue cancer and had to have a 16-hour surgery plus chemo and radiation. I called Corinne and told her about my husband’s cancer and surgery, which was at a hospital three hours from our home. She sounded like she cared and was concerned, but she never called or texted me after that. She just stuck her head in the sand and offered no support while I was going through this major ordeal. 

Now, another girlfriend from high school wants me to attend a lunch with her and Corinne. Should I meet them? Or should I disown Corinne as a friend? It still hurts after all these years. — WOUNDED IN WISCONSIN

DEAR WOUNDED: Before “disowning” Corinne for having let you down when you needed her, go to the lunch with your mutual friend and ask her why she disappeared. She may be embarrassed, but it’s a fair question. Corrine’s absence may have been caused by a terror of cancer and its treatment, which can be so strong that some people are afraid to seek treatment for themselves after they are diagnosed. (Years ago, I lost a wonderful friend because he treated his liver cancer “homeopathically.”)

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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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