Ask Amy

Dear Amy: My fam­ily has spent a week at a beach house ev­ery sum­mer. My brother, sis­ter and I — along with our fam­i­lies — have con­verged upon the house ev­ery year for a fam­ily re­union and va­ca­tion.

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - by Amy Dick­in­son

My sib­lings and I buy gro­ceries, make meals, and clean and fix what­ever we can as a kind of pay­ment for stay­ing there.

Last sum­mer, my par­ents of­fered to sell the house to one of us, and my sis­ter was able to pur­chase it. She lives only an hour away, whereas my brother and I are only able to visit dur­ing the sum­mer. I felt a sense of re­lief: The place that holds decades of mem­o­ries would re­main in the fam­ily.

As we made plans for this sum­mer, I asked my sis­ter what we could bring. She gave me a list of gro­ceries and sup­plies, but then added that things would be “a lit­tle dif­fer­ent” this year, as my brother and I would be ex­pected to pay for our stay. She is charg­ing about half what a ho­tel in the area would cost, but I can’t af­ford to stay for more than two or three nights.

I don’t know what to do. I have al­ways seen the house as our fam­ily house. It is legally in my sis­ter’s name and I ac­cept that she will make changes. But to be charged to stay there up­sets me, in part be­cause it makes me feel like a guest rather than a fam­ily mem­ber, and in part be­cause of the fi­nan­cial strain. How do I ex­press this to my sis­ter? I don’t want to make our trea­sured va­ca­tion time awk­ward or full of re­sent­ment.

Dear No Place: Be­ing asked to pay your way doesn’t make you a guest, but a cus­tomer. And if your sis­ter is turn­ing you into a cus­tomer, then why is she also ex­pect­ing you to bring sup­plies?

Some fam­i­lies suc­cess­fully share va­ca­tion houses and each per­son pays an an­nual or per/night fee as a way to pay the bills. This is ob­vi­ously not the case here.

Your sis­ter is an­nounc­ing that the house is no longer your fam­ily home, but her home. If you stayed for one or two nights this sum­mer, I sus­pect that the magic would have drained out of this house.

If your par­ents had sold the house to some­one out­side the fam­ily, you would have to ad­just to this loss. It is time for you to find an­other sum­mer re­treat.

Dear Amy: I am 21 years old and at­tend­ing col­lege and wait­ress­ing.

I re­cently de­cided to move to an­other state be­cause they have amaz­ing pro­grams that will re­ally cat­a­pult me in my ca­reer. There is also a guy there whom I’ve grown to care for.

My mother is com­pletely against this. She be­lieves that it’s a stupid idea. She also be­lieves that this guy and I are des­tined to fail.

I un­der­stand that my mother is wor­ried about me. I haven’t had the great­est re­la­tion­ships in the past due to my own bad judg­ment. I had known this guy pre­vi­ously, and we re­ally care about one an­other. I re­ally be­lieve that we’re both ready to make this work.

What should I do? Should I stay to make her happy and give her peace of mind, or should I go and risk ev­ery­thing, but have the op­por­tu­nity to be the hap­pi­est I’ve ever been?

Dear Caught: One of the beau­ti­ful bur­dens of adult­hood is the abil­ity to make big de­ci­sions, along with the ne­ces­sity of taking re­spon­si­bil­ity for them.

Your job is to grow up and even­tu­ally live your own life on your own terms, and your mother’s job is to find a way to let you.

You frame your query as if your choice is pri­mar­ily about your ed­u­ca­tion, but hon­estly, it seems to be mainly about a guy. I as­sume this is the source of your mother’s con­cern. The wis­est course is to do what you need and want to do, but fi­nance your own life and make sure you don’t box your­self in. Leave the door open at home, be­cause you might need to cross the thresh­old again, and you will want your mother there when you do.

Dear Amy: “Up­set Daugh­ter” wrote about her fa­ther, who ver­bally bul­lied her re­gard­ing his ha­tred of “fat and bald” peo­ple. Here’s a use­ful phrase for her: “I hear your opin­ion and I re­spect­fully dis­agree.” That’s all it is, his opin­ion. — KJH Dear KJH: I like it.

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