Grad­u­a­tion threat­ens to end sis­ters’ close­ness

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN 360 LIFE - Jeanne Phillips Dear Abby

Dear Abby: My sis­ter “Maddy” is in 12th grade and will grad­u­ate soon. Over the last two years, we have grown re­ally close — from eat­ing Chi­nese to­gether ev­ery other day, to go­ing shop­ping to­gether. We have the clos­est re­la­tion­ship in the fam­ily, and I con­sider her to be my best friend. Al­though I have many close friends, her be­ing my sis­ter makes her the clos­est to me.

Lately I’ve been mad at her. I thought for a while it was be­cause she got a boyfriend, but her boyfriend is like a brother to me and we get along great. Af­ter hear­ing her say, “Only a cou­ple of more months ’til I’m done with school for­ever,” I have re­al­ized I’m mad be­cause she’s grad­u­at­ing soon.

I have two younger sis­ters, but we aren’t nearly as close as Maddy and I are. For the past month, I’ve been say­ing no when Maddy and her boyfriend ask me to hang out with them. I’m afraid that be­cause of this I’m go­ing to lose the bond I have with my sis­ter.

I don’t want her to grad­u­ate be­cause it means she’ll be mov­ing away, and I won’t get to see my best friend ev­ery day. I don’t know whether to be happy or an­gry. Please help me. — Mixed Up in Penn­syl­va­nia

Dear Mixed Up: Try to be happy for your sis­ter. Ex­plain to Maddy why you have been be­hav­ing the way you have so she will un­der­stand.

From your de­scrip­tion of your emo­tions, it ap­pears you may be suf­fer­ing from a ver­sion of empty-nest syn­drome. It’s a mal­ady that of­ten strikes par­ents when their child is about to “launch.” An ef­fec­tive way to coun­ter­act it is to find ac­tiv­i­ties you en­joy and keep your­self busy so you will have less time to brood.

An­other thought: This is now YOUR chance to be the sup­port­ive old­est sis­ter in the house, and to forge a closer re­la­tion­ship with your younger sib­lings. It’s an op­por­tu­nity that may reap big div­i­dends in the fu­ture, so please don’t waste it.

Dear Abby: The daugh­ter of a friend of more than 20 years is get­ting mar­ried next year. They live 1,400 miles away. She told me yes­ter­day that I am in­vited to the wed­ding, but my live-in boyfriend is not. Her ex­pla­na­tion is she has to con­trol the costs. She told me a mu­tual friend’s hus­band isn’t in­vited, ei­ther.

In­clud­ing the price of a gift, it would cost me around $900 to at­tend the wed­ding. She had im­plied that wed­ding gifts should be in the range of $200 to cover the ex­pense of the food and drink.

I have de­cided to de­cline the in­vi­ta­tion be­cause my boyfriend can’t come. What would an ap­pro­pri­ate gift be? — Stay­ing Put in Wis­con­sin

Dear Stay­ing Put: Ac­cord­ing to the rules of eti­quette, be­cause you don’t plan to at­tend the wed­ding, no gift is re­quired. How­ever, in light of your more than 20-year friend­ship, con­sider send­ing a to­ken gift to the daugh­ter — the price range is up to you.

Read­ers, there is a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion that the price of wed­ding gifts must be in line with what the hosts spend on the food and bev­er­ages at the re­cep­tion. Ac­cord­ing to Emily Post, that is a “mod­ern myth,” and “the amount you spend is strictly a mat­ter of your bud­get.”

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