Annie’s mailbox: It doesn’t pay to stew about unfair gift-giving

It doesn’t pay to stew about unfair gift-giving

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Q. After two months, I am still upset with my father-in-law. My two daughters recently married, and the weddings were six weeks apart. My in-laws gave us a nice sum of money to help us with the weddings. We were very grateful and told them so.


Right before the first wedding, my husband lost his job. In order to finish paying for the second wedding, we had to ask my father-in-law to lend us more money. He said, “Sure. I want to give the girls what they want.” We didn’t tell our kids about my husband’s job situation because we wanted them to soak in all the glory of being brides without any stress.


Here’s what happened: At Christmas, my father-in-law sent small amounts of money to me, my husband and our son with a note saying, “We thought it would be OK to pass on the girls this year.” The money is such a small amount that it didn’t matter, but I cannot get over the fact that he took out our financial difficulties on them. The girls have no idea why their grandfather didn’t give them holiday gifts, and so far, I haven’t told them.


I am so mad, I could scream. I have to see my father-in-law at a family event this weekend and don’t think I can be civil. This man showered his daughter’s children with cars for graduation that mine never got. I slept on this before writing and am angrier now than when I went to bed. At the moment, I don’t want to ever see him again. Please advise. – Washington


A. The fact that Dad is unfair in his gift-giving is a legitimate issue, but that doesn’t mean your children are entitled to receive gifts from him. You refer to the wedding money as “loans,” but Dad apparently considered them his wedding gifts to his granddaughters. If so, he was generous, and the girls should know. If they were actual loans and you are repaying the money, we agree that Dad should have treated your family equally at Christmas.


Either way, it serves no purposes to stew in silence. Talk to your husband and then to Dad, together. Try to be nice. We doubt he intended to be unkind, and he probably doesn’t realize that his behavior disturbed you.


Dear Annie: My family recently planned a special, catered, expensive celebration. We gave much thought to our guest list.


One couple told us they wanted their grown children invited. Then the grown children asked if they could bring their children. Some guests simply assumed their children were invited and brought them.


Please tell them again, Annie: If the invitation is addressed to “Mr. and Mrs.,” it is only for them. It does not include children, grandchildren or friends. What has happened to manners? I hope this will enlighten some folks. – Roanoke, Va.


Dear Roanoke: Some people believe all invitations are casual and open. They are not. Guest lists are limited by space as well as cost. It would be nice if your letter helps people understand this so they can be more gracious when responding.


Dear Annie: I can relate to the letter from “No, I Am Not Trying for a Boy,” who had two girls and was still carrying baby weight.


When I was carrying twins, a woman I knew only casually asked me whether I was having a baby elephant. After the girls were born, I overheard a friend saying, “It looks like she still has one left in there.”


However, a true friend visited me in the hospital after my fifth girl and said, “How many people can say they have five beautiful girls?” Some people know what to say and some don’t. That was 35 years ago, and all of our girls have been true blessings in our lives. – South Dakota Mom



Email questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net.


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