Lighten up, it’s a party!

Los Angeles Times - - Style & Culture -

Dear Amy: Birth­days were im­por­tant in my fam­ily grow­ing up, and we al­ways cel­e­brated with or­ga­nized birth­day par­ties.

My hus­band has al­ways known I think these big events are im­por­tant.

It is now time for our first child to turn 1.

My hus­band has been hav­ing se­ri­ous health is­sues, and plan­ning the party for our son has been a bright spot for me.

His par­ents are also aware of how im­por­tant this party is to me.

I even had a heart-to-heart talk with his mom about how up­set and dis­ap­pointed I was when my own fa­ther ini­tially said that he would not be com­ing be­cause he did not want to buy a plane ticket.

I told her that I ex­pected him to say “I wouldn’t miss my grand­son’s birth­day for any­thing” and was re­ally dis­ap­pointed when his re­ac­tion was so dif­fer­ent.

My hus­band just in­formed me that his par­ents are skip­ping the party be­cause they are tired from com­ing here so much due to my hus­band’s ill­ness. I am re­ally dis­ap­pointed. I know that my son will not know, but it was im­por­tant to me to have our im­me­di­ate fam­i­lies in at­ten­dance, and I am re­ally hurt be­cause his folks know ex­actly how I feel.

I feel that they are be­ing in­con­sid­er­ate.

I am also hurt by my hus­band, who im­me­di­ately agreed with his par­ents’ choice.

I am dis­ap­pointed by their de­ci­sion. My hus­band says that I am be­ing to­tally crazy and com­pletely over­re­act­ing.

Am I?


Dear Dis­ap­pointed: I agree with your hus­band. You are be­hav­ing like a crazy “Momzilla.” You’re com­pletely over­re­act­ing. I’m ex­hausted just read­ing your let­ter.

Your in-laws might be re­act­ing to the stress you’ve heaped on them over this. Stat­ing your ex­pec­ta­tions is one thing. Stat­ing your dis­ap­point­ment is an­other.

Com­pletely freak­ing out and hyp­ing this event into the strato­sphere makes me worry about the high stakes you will place on your child to ful­fill your ex­pec­ta­tions once he’s old enough to make his own wishes known.

Lighten up. Han­dle your dis­ap­point­ment like a big girl. And try to have fun.

Dear Amy: One of my neigh­bors is driv­ing me nuts. She lives across the street from me.

I am a widow, and this neigh­bor (who is mar­ried) tells me she wor­ries about me.

She rings my bell in the af­ter­noon and calls me re­peat­edly on the phone (three times last Sun­day).

I ap­pre­ci­ate her at­ten­tion, but not daily.

If I go to the mail­box she is there and we might talk for 10 to 15 min­utes.

On a typ­i­cal day, I sit with my blinds closed, try­ing to make it look like I am not home.

I am tired of this and re­ally don’t know what to do.

I would still like to be on a some­what friendly ba­sis, but I don’t want her show­ing up to check on me.

This past week­end I went out with a friend. When I came home, I had three mes­sages from her.

Now I try to screen the calls and not an­swer them.

Do you have any sug­ges­tions?


Dear Ex­hausted: Be­cause your neigh­bor doesn’t read your cues, you’ll have to be ex­plicit in draw­ing bound­aries around your con­tact.

Say to her: “I know you are be­ing neigh­borly, but I am feel­ing over­whelmed and need more space. I’m do­ing fine and will call you if I need any­thing, but oth­er­wise, it would be great if you would not call and visit so of­ten be­cause it’s just too much for me.” Send ques­tions to Amy Dick­in­son by e-mail to

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