Sunday, March 29, 2015

The wrong kind of birthday surprise


From page B5 | December 19, 2012 |

Dear Annie: Back in May, our son and his wife invited us to a concert at the end of December to celebrate my husband’s milestone birthday. They said it would be their treat, and we all agreed it would be a fun evening.

Over the next few months, we got together often, and no mention was made of the concert. Yesterday, I sent a text saying we were excited about the concert and asked what time we should leave. Our son responded with a text saying they weren’t going and that we should have checked with them sooner.

Regardless of the reason — whether illness, money, work schedule or whatever — shouldn’t the people who extended the invitation let the guests know there is a change of plans? We are so disappointed and

— Confused About Cancellation

Dear Confused: Your son and his wife should not have issued the invitation unless they meant it and certainly should have notified you well in advance if the plans had changed. However, it’s also possible they simply forgot about it until it was too late to get the tickets, in which case, mentioning how excited you were about the upcoming concert in, say, August might have averted this family drama.

One should be diplomatic but not so reticent to speak that these things become an issue. Good communication, especially between parents and children, can resolve or prevent a great many problems.


Dear Annie: I read your column every day and love it, so I’d like your opinion on something.

My little brother and his wife are expecting their first child in April. They have decided to have a “reveal party” to let everyone know the sex of the baby. This means the doctor will write down the gender of the baby and put it in a sealed envelope. Then someone takes the envelope to a party supply store where they pack a box with balloons filled with the appropriate color — pink or blue. At the party, the expectant parents open the box, and the balloons fly out letting everyone know the sex of the baby.

To me, this seems like something the expectant parents would like to share with each other, without an audience. I am a gay male and probably will never have children, so this really doesn’t impact my life. But I am curious about what you think.

— Greensboro, N.C.

Dear Greensboro: While some parents prefer to get this news privately, in today’s Facebook age, many want to share it with friends and family as soon as possible. So a party makes sense to them. Yes, some people will interpret this as one more act of narcissism, but most expectant parents are so thrilled to share this news that we think the motives are actually sweet.

Of course, if the parents have a gender preference, it’s best to get the news in private, since guests don’t want to see one of the hosts burst into tears of disappointment. Otherwise, we think these events are a matter of personal choice. Go and enjoy yourself.


Dear Annie: I can relate to “Fran in Frisco,” who moved halfway across the country to live near her husband’s family. They had promised to do things with the grandchildren and spend lots of time with them. But when Fran and her husband finally moved there, the grandparents ignored them.

I had the same experience with my in-laws after moving 1,200 miles from my family. Fran, do yourself a favor and move back to your hometown while there’s still time for your parents to enjoy their grandchildren. We never got that chance, and now it’s too late.

— Still Homesick


Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], 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

— Creators Syndicate Inc.



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