DEAR AMY: I taught elementary school for 34 years and had thousands of students (many of whom have become friends).
However, one woman has taken this friendliness too far by telling her young son (a former student) that I am his "grandmother." She sends me cards addressed to "Mom," which makes me uncomfortable.
She showed up at my house when I was baby-sitting for my grandson and stayed for seven hours.
My husband has cancer; he could not sleep. I begged her to leave.
Since then, I have received emails, calls and cards telling me that her son is brokenhearted because he wants to see his "Grandma" and asking when we can get together. I told her that I need space.
I do not want her son to call me "Grandma." I feel as if this relationship has become too demanding, and I am almost frightened by her relentless pursuit. I do not want to be rude to her or to hurt her or her son's feelings.
How can I communicate this effectively?
DEAR FLUSTERED: You should utilize your decades of experience and teaching skills and communicate with this woman the way you would with a second-grader.
Say to her (by voice and/or email) "Please don't have your son call me 'Grandma.' I don't like it, and I don't permit any former students to call me this because it is potentially confusing for everyone.
"I need you to respect my privacy by not dropping by my house. My husband isn't well, and I cannot spare my attention. If there is ever a time I am free to get together, I will let you know."
If she intensifies her pursuit, and you feel frightened, talk to the police.
DEAR AMY: My fiance and I have both dreamed of a lovely catered beach wedding, but those are expensive, and we can only invite our immediate family due to our strapped finances.
Both his giant Irish family and my giant Swedish family are livid for not including them, even though we have promised to have a big barbecue potluck after the honeymoon.
We have been told to save money by going to the local park with clergy from my parents' church and have a potluck reception there, but it is not what my fiance and I want.
We would like to have our dream wedding. Yeah, not inviting our favorite cousins hurts. The digs about petty materialism are starting to get to me. I think that I will be happier with the elegant intimate wedding than the huge inexpensive one.
DEAR TUG-OF-WAR: You should do what you want, but I think you should consider wanting something different.
Your family should not bully you. However, you only have one family -- and they're not trying to horn in on your elegant time, they just want to see you tie the knot.
One solution would be for you to have your inclusive family wedding, followed by an elegant, perfect, unforgettable honeymoon.
Send questions to email@example.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.