Dear Lois: I have one grandchild, 14 months old, who is now being adopted by my daughter's new husband. The father of the baby is not in the picture.
Although my daughter, her husband and I get along fine, I would like to know what my rights are here. If anything happened to my daughter, her husband would be legal guardian.Please advise me if my daughter's will has to give me legal rights? I don't want anything ever to happen to my family, but I am concerned where I stand here. -- P.B., Clearwater, Fla.
Dear P.B.: Since 1993, Florida law has specifically provided for grandparents' visitation rights in intact marriages. Your concern, however, is the preservation of your relationship with your grandchild should anything happen to your daughter.
As most authorities tell us, the relationship hinges to a great degree on the respect between the grandparent and surviving parent. So long as you understand that you are not the primary caregiver and accede to the wishes of the parent in raising the child, chances are you will need no legal protection.
By asking for legal assurances now, you may irritate a sensitive situation. Before proceeding, I suggest that you seek the advice of someone who knows your family and all the personalities involved.
In any event, no matter what occurs in the future, try to stay out of court. If there is ever evidence of mistreatment of the child, seek mediation rather than courtroom solutions.
Now sit back, smile and be grateful that your granddaughter is going to be raised by a man her mother wants to marry.
Dear Lois: We are moving to a new condo and giving up our big house. Our daughter-in-law asked for our dining room table, so I said yes.
Then our daughter mentioned casually as she was helping me pack that she'd like that table. I told her it had been promised to her brother's wife, and she got so mad she cried and left my house.
I have been sick all week. What should I have said? -- Tearful
Dear Tearful: In the stress of your move, your daughter behaved very badly. But I think you know that. If you did indeed promise the table to your daughter-in-law, you must give it to her.
Are there are other things to be divided? If so, get everyone together and make all the wishes known in advance.
Your daughter doesn't sound as if she's selfish -- after all, she was there helping you. Maybe she'd had a bad day, too.
So why don't the two of you sit down together and talk things out? Mothers and daughters can't afford to be angry with one another. They need each other's love too much. Good luck.
Dear Lois: I injured my back on the job, and Ohio Workers Compensation placed me on temporary total disability after many trips to their doctors. Every six to eight weeks I needed to see a doctor or chiropractor to fill out a form proving I was still unable to work.
Everything was fine until I moved to Florida in 1988, and my checks stopped. I lost my home because of this. People claim that because I am 45 I can be rehabilitated -- it sounds like age discrimination to me. What do you think? -- George A. DiFranco Sr., Spring Hill, Fla.
Dear George: I suggest that you go to an attorney in your town and let him or her determine whether this is a case of age discrimination and if legal action is advisable. But I do find it interesting that being too young can cause someone to say "age discrimination."
I think there is evidence of age discrimination in many areas of contemporary life.
We have certainly heard from many older people who feel discriminated against on the job and in the courts in the area of grandparents' rights. But there are probably other examples of age discrimination in the way people are served in stores and restaurants, the way they are treated on public transportation, and so on.
Keep in mind that discrimination can be directed as much against the "too young" as the "too old."
This is a question readers -- young and old -- may want to discuss from their own viewpoints.
Want to ask a question, comment on a letter or share a story about a grandchild? Write to WYSE WORDS, 22 W. 23rd St. , New York, NY 10010 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Third Age News Service