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Dear Abby: I gave birth to my daughter three months ago, after 44 grueling hours of labor. My mother, assuming I would want her in the delivery room, booked her flight, flew across the country and stayed at my house without asking when I'd like her to come to help me.

During her stay, she made comments about how she had flown 2,000 miles to "dog-sit" for me, that she knew she wasn't wanted, and had she known my daughter wasn't going to come on time (I was induced), she wouldn't have "wasted her vacation" to fly in early. The entire visit was miserable.

Without consulting my husband and me, she has now booked a flight to come and stay with us for Christmas. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and I'm dreading the thought of her being here and worried this visit will be just as awful as the last. I'd like my daughter's first Christmas to be a happy occasion.

I asked my mother to change her flights and come in after the holiday, only to be met with the accusation "you're being selfish" from her and my stepfather. How do I tell them that I don't want them here for Christmas while minimizing hurt feelings?

— Pushed Too Far in Pennsylvania

Dear Pushed: It appears you not only have a pushy mother, but also one who has no filter. When she made the comments she did when she came to "help" after the delivery, did you tell her how offended you were? Or were you so weak from the struggle to give life that you wilted? If you didn't tell her how you felt, you have a communication problem.

Give your mother one more chance. Welcome her and your stepfather at Christmas and, if she makes a demeaning or unkind comment, call her on it! And when you do, tell her that in the future you and your husband prefer to invite your houseguests rather than have them descend upon you.

Dear Abby: Because my husband and I are reaching advanced years, we know we will soon have to downsize to a senior living facility. In anticipation, we have begun distributing keepsakes we have accumulated over the years. Many were gifts with special meaning. Some are heirlooms that have been passed down from previous generations.

When I helped my son with his garage sale recently, I was shocked to discover several of the keepsakes on display. I didn't know how to react, but I did speak to him about it. Apparently, he doesn't value them! How should I handle future distribution of keepsakes, as there are more of them, some of which I had intended for him and his family? Apparently, his wife and son also have no interest in them.

— Sentimental in Wisconsin

Dear Sentimental: You now have two choices. You can either give the items as gifts to other family members, after first ensuring that they will be appreciated and treasured, or sell them and use the money to cover any expenses that may come up in the future.

P.S. If they have historical value, consider donating them to a museum or your state historical society.

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

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