Dear Annie: My son recently married a young woman from an affluent family. When he was first engaged, we began to see less of him. We invited him and his fiancee to dinners, vacations, etc., but were usually turned down. They do, however, spend a great deal of time with her family, so we have just backed off.
My husband and I contributed almost half of the money for the wedding. We offered to help with whatever we could, but were told that our help was not needed. Her family did all of the planning. She and her mother conjured up lies to throw us off from planning our guest list, what we should wear to the wedding, etc.
We hosted a beautiful rehearsal dinner, with no “thank you” or even a smile from the bride. On the day of the wedding, our daughter-in-law was embarrassingly rude to my husband and me. It wasn’t until the next day, when she refused to attend a family function before going on their honeymoon, that I found out she was angry with me because of what I wore. Annie, I wore the dress my son told me to wear, but he will not admit that to his wife.
We have not heard from either of them since that day. I am so incredibly hurt. I treated this girl like part of the family. I can’t believe she would ruin a relationship over something so trivial. Any advice?
— Mom from Montana
Dear Mom: The dress is just an excuse to limit contact. It sounds as if your new daughter-in-law doesn’t want a relationship with her husband’s family, and he permits it — either because he agrees or, more likely, because he doesn’t want to upset the applecart.
You need to “make nice,” even though it will be difficult. Call or email your son and his wife, apologize for unintentionally selecting the wrong dress, mention something nice about the wedding and about the bride, and sign off by saying you hope to see them soon. We hope your son values his family enough to put his spine back into place.
Dear Annie: I have, for quite some time now, been concerned about a possible water shortage in the U.S. and around the world. I recently stayed with a friend and was amazed at how much water she wasted. She would keep the kitchen faucet turned on full blast for several minutes while working in another area. I didn’t say anything, as it was her home, but it sure hit me that we waste this precious resource.
I am not perfect with my water usage, but I hardly would have let my water run when I didn’t need it. Specialists on water shortage have written articles on how soon our water supply could run out. Also, why don’t all sinks have an “instant hot” so we don’t have to run the faucet until the water warms up?
I am hoping you will print this and it will save water in some households.
— Concerned Water Conservator
Dear Concerned: We don’t always appreciate that we have finite resources on this planet, including water. Please, folks, don’t run the faucet if you don’t need the water. Use cold when you can. Set a timer for your showers. Let’s not take our blessings for granted.
Dear Annie: This is for “Retired Architect in Dayton, Ohio,” who asked why we build houses that can burn down:
I suppose if we mountain dwellers were able to build our ideal homes, we would make certain they were as fireproof as possible. However, there is no such thing as a fireproof construction. We are survivors of the Silver Fire. Many of our neighbors and friends lost their homes. We saw quite a bit of melted steel. Even concrete burns. The most important thing that every mountain dweller can do is keep a defensible space.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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