Updated: July 26, 2012 6:23AM
Dear Abby: I just celebrated my 80th birthday at a party with 22 of my dearest friends. I also invited my daughter-in-law, “Sydney,” and her mother.
The problem is, I didn’t invite my 8-year-old granddaughter. I explained that I felt she wouldn’t enjoy herself with all of us senior women. Sydney disagreed.
I then suggested perhaps it would be better if I had a dinner party for the entire family the following evening (on my actual birthday) at a fine dining restaurant. In retaliation for my not inviting my granddaughter, Sydney declined the dinner invitation, although all other family members attended. My “punishment” was not to receive a birthday present from her.
Was I wrong not to invite my granddaughter to a party with my 80-year-old friends?
Tried to be Considerate
Dear Tried: I don’t think so. You were being considerate of your granddaughter’s feelings. Had she attended, she would have been bored, and one of your guests or her mother and grandmother would have had to entertain her. Frankly, it would have been a distraction from the celebration. That your daughter-in-law would be so petulant as to “punish” you for making the intelligent choice you did indicates that she has some growing up to do. You owe no one any apologies; Sydney does.
Dear Abby: My sister-in-law, the only girl and the youngest of my husband’s siblings, is being married soon. We couldn’t be happier. The problem is my mother-in-law. Anytime the subject of the wedding comes up and I chime in, she says, “How would you know? You didn’t have a wedding.”
My husband and I eloped six years ago. Since then, the subject of weddings has been a problem between my mother-in-law and me. In my opinion, I did have a wedding. There was a beautiful location, an officiant, a dress, and a commitment made between my husband and me.
Is there anything I could say to let her know we don’t agree with her without rocking the boat too much before her daughter’s wedding?
As Married as Anyone
Dear Married as Anyone: No, but there is plenty you can say after it’s over. At that time, you and your husband should talk to his mother together so she hears from both of you that her sniping is inappropriate.
Dear Abby: Would you please weigh in on whether you think wearing sunglasses indoors — particularly in the evening — is rude and not conducive to friendly communication with others? (This isn’t a situation involving eye problems.)
Nothing to Hide
in New Jersey
Dear Nothing to Hide: It is said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. I agree that trying to converse with someone who is wearing sunglasses can be confusing, because it prevents you from picking up nonverbal cues you might otherwise be given.
The person you’re writing about may be shy, paranoid or hiding the bleary remnants of a hangover. But unless you ask why he or she is hiding behind the sunglasses, you will never know if there’s a valid reason for it.
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