Dear Amy: I know I'm old-fashioned, but I still think I'm right!

My son has been dating a young lady for about six months. He is 29 and she is 24. They live together. She has a 3-year-old child and no relationship with that child's father.

Now she and my son are expecting a child of their own. I am not thrilled. They would like me to host a baby shower for them, but I am not comfortable asking friends and family to celebrate this pregnancy.

I don't want to alienate them, but I really don't want to do this. I think parents should be married.

Amy says: If you don't want to host a shower for the baby, then perhaps the child's mother has someone in her life who will step up.

Baby showers are intended to create a circle of support for expectant parents, but they are really supposed to be about the baby. Your old-fashioned standards are putting quite a burden on a baby that didn't ask to come into this world.

Imagine the difference for a child who is born into an accepting and welcoming relationship with its grandmother, vs. a grandmother who disapproves of and is disappointed by its existence because of the parents' marital status.

It is understandable and natural not to be thrilled by an unexpected pregnancy to unmarried parents who haven't been together for very long. But the time to start the process of learning to love this baby is now.

Rude onlookers

Dear Amy: I am a 37-year-old mother of two children. I have had rheumatoid arthritis for eight years.

I have a handicap placard for my vehicle, which I use only on those days that my rheumatoid arthritis makes it difficult to walk a distance in the parking lot of the businesses I visit.

On several occasions, older people have seen my family and me getting out of the car and have made rude comments suggesting that none of us is handicapped and so I should not be parking in the space.

How do I respond to these hurtful, frustrating comments in a kind way, or should I just leave it alone?

Amy says: I am so sorry this happens. Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious, progressive and painful autoimmune disorder that leads to extreme fatigue, joint inflammation and pain.

You should not have to explain this to anyone for any reason. You have the right to use your handicap placard any day you want — not only when you are feeling your worst.

When I hear stories like yours, I think: People ... we're the worst! And yet, you've asked for a "kind way" to respond to this rudeness, which restores my faith in humanity.

Let me suggest a response that could be used in front of your children: "I'm doing my very best today. Are you?"

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