Wife dis­ap­points fam­ily with transcon­ti­nen­tal birth­day

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - LIFE - AMY DICKINSON Email: askamy@tri­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy

Dear Amy: My son and daugh­ter-in-law seem to have a lovely re­la­tion­ship. They are on the same page in re­gard to chil­drea­r­ing, val­ues, etc. How­ever, I feel that my son shoul­ders more than his share of the re­la­tion­ship. I al­ways thought this was a mu­tu­ally ac­cepted sit­u­a­tion.

Re­cently my daugh­ter-in-law turned 40. She chose to spend this special day with her friends in NYC (they live in LA).

My son and grand­chil­dren were very sad about her choice.

My ques­tion: It breaks my heart to see my son hurt­ing in this way. He’s such a good per­son.

I want him to feel sup­ported by us, but I don’t want to stick my nose in where it isn’t wanted.

My ques­tion: Should I just stay out of it or is there some­thing con­struc­tive to say? — UP­SET MOTHER

Dear Up­set: I’m not sure what you mean when you say that your son shoul­ders more than his share of the re­la­tion­ship, but yes, it is wis­est for you to stay out of this.

You don’t men­tion your own mar­i­tal his­tory, but in many func­tion­ing mar­riages, power and re­spon­si­bil­ity shifts back and forth, based on what­ever life stage the cou­ple and their chil­dren are in.

I would also say that a spouse who de­cides to cel­e­brate a mile­stone birth­day lit­er­ally a con­ti­nent away from her fam­ily is mak­ing an un­for­tu­nate state­ment about where she re­ally wants to be (at least on that par­tic­u­lar day), but I can also imag­ine many sit­u­a­tions where that choice would be ab­so­lutely fine with ev­ery­one.

A wise par­ent ex­presses sym­pa­thy (“Oh, I’m sorry you’re feel­ing that way...”), but not judg­ment (“What kind of mon­ster would leave you and the kids...”). Un­less there are clear signs of abuse or ne­glect, you should let your son ex­pe­ri­ence this in his own way and work things out with­out too much in­volve­ment from you.

Dear Amy: I can’t be­lieve you ac­tu­ally had to coun­sel

“Sale of the Cen­tury” to re­turn to a Tar­get store and pay for an item they had (ac­ci­den­tally) not paid for.

In this po­lit­i­cally cor­rect world, peo­ple don’t even know how to do the right thing.


Dear Dis­turbed: I’m not sure what po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness has to do with this, but even though most of us know what the right thing to do is, we don’t al­ways do it (in­clud­ing me). That’s what makes eth­i­cal dilem­mas so in­ter­est­ing.

Dear Amy: I dis­agree with your an­swer to “An Older Lonely Heart,” the woman en­gaged to a wid­ower with a 10-year-old daugh­ter.

I agree that be­reave­ment coun­sel­ing would be help­ful for the 10-year-old, but think that sleep­ing with the girl and her dad should not be out of the ques­tion.

There are many so­ci­eties where the whole fam­ily sleeps in one room, and mak­ing the tran­si­tion into this fam­ily by sleep­ing to­gether may be a help­ful step. As the girl be­comes a teen and wants to have friends stay over, hav­ing her de­sign a room of her own would be the next tran­si­tion to in­de­pen­dence.


Dear Rae: This fa­ther and his young daugh­ter are shar­ing a bed. The pri­mary rea­son this fi­ance should not co-sleep with them is that she doesn’t want to.

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