Dear Annie: My extended family has always been big on celebrating family birthdays for the adults. Celebrations used to include a meal at a restaurant, but as the families expanded, we began celebrating at relatives’ homes with appetizers followed by cake and ice cream.
The problem is, these parties always take place at the homes of grandparents or aunts and uncles. The adult nephews and their wives never offer to host. They also never offer to bring anything. We have hinted on numerous occasions that it would be nice if everyone contributed, but it falls on deaf ears. There are no financial reasons why they cannot step up.
We have tried to let it go, but at the most recent party, one of the wives stated that giving parties is just too expensive. She said they would not be organizing any more children’s parties and that “someone else” in the family can throw one for the kids.
Two weeks later, we learned that the grandparents on the wife’s side had hosted an extravagant party, and then the parents threw a “kiddo” party for the little ones and their adult parents. Only the adults from our side of the family were excluded.
We cannot tell these wives what we think, because every time we voice an opinion, they go on Facebook and accuse us of “bullying.” We don’t feel the need to give in to their demands, but we also don’t want the children to suffer. We are all
— Going Nuts in the Midwest
Dear Going Nuts: These wives do not wish to contribute to or participate in their husbands’ family events, and that’s unlikely to change unless the nephews insist. You can still celebrate the little kids’ birthdays with something smaller. Skip your adult nephews’ birthdays and those of their wives. They aren’t interested.
Dear Annie: Last year, my 91-year-old father bent over to pick up his morning newspaper, lost his balance and fell, breaking his shoulder. During Dad’s recovery, it became apparent that my 89-year-old mother could not take care of him. My sister and I made the difficult decision to put both of them into the same care facility.
I’ve been going to my parents’ house once a month to sort through a lifetime of memories, clean and repaint. In an effort to move the old TV console, I kept tripping over the cord. When I opened the two sliding doors to stuff the cord inside, I saw a bulging envelope. It was filled with smaller envelopes of $100 bills, $50 bills, $20s and singles, totaling $4,000. After I calmed down, I phoned my sister, and we put the money back into my parents’ bank account.
I’m probably not the first child who has found a hidden treasure in a book or tucked away with the clothes. Tell your readers to be sure to take the time to do a thorough search.
— Learned Something Valuable
Dear Learned: You’ve told them, and we are certain they will be paying closer attention now. Found money is always a delightful discovery.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Young Empty Nester,” who said she phones former mom friends for lunch or conversation, but no one returns her calls. She might need to examine her own personality traits.
I had three friends whom I rarely called back. One has mastered the art of eating, breathing and talking simultaneously. One cried and talked about her latest illness. And the other dominated every minute of every conversation lamenting her three-year-old divorce.
In an effort to be kind, I listened to their woes for years. But there comes a time when you must pursue more positive acquaintances. Those whose worlds revolve entirely around themselves are draining and have to be cut loose.
— Maine Coast
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