2/21/2022 | By Amy Dickinson

Advice columnist Amy Dickinson addresses a grandmother bothered by a correction, overhearing her daughter-in-law contradict something she said to the grandkids. What does Ask Amy have to say?

Dear Amy:

Something is bothering me that I just can’t shake, and I’d welcome your opinion.

My husband and I have three young grandchildren who live across the country. We are seldom able to visit in person, so we use FaceTime to stay in touch.

Yesterday while chatting with the kids (all younger than 10), I mentioned that “the mailman” delivered their Christmas thank-you notes.

I told the kids how much I appreciated their notes.

Off-camera, I heard my daughter-in-law say: “mailPERSON.”

I was a little hurt and a lot irritated that she would correct me like that.

It’s not as if I had used a derogatory term – I would never do that!

My intention was simply to thank the kids for their notes, not to become an example of how ignorant grandparents can be.

Am I overreacting?

– Just Wondering

Dear Wondering:

I have to laugh (a little bit) because for many readers, the headline here will be: Three Children Reported to Have Written Thank You Notes. Story at 11!

So – this mom has done a good thing in teaching your grandchildren to express their appreciation in this way.

And – it seems that maybe she can’t stop teaching, although her correction of mailman to “mailPERSON” prompted another chuckle (from me), because I do believe that the correct and gender-free description of the person doing this job is either “postal worker” or “letter carrier.”

And you can understand why this is: MailPERSON, when spoken, sounds like “Male person,” which sort of defeats the purpose.

I can understand why this failed correction rankled you, but I hope you will shake it off as the actions of an active and engaged mom who perhaps was over-momming (oops, overPARENTING) in the moment.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers – ranging from a grandmother bothered by a correction to DNA surprises. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. 

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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