Dear Amy: My daughter is getting married in two weeks.
My brother and his family are not coming to the wedding, citing COVID as their excuse.
They are all vaccinated and boosted. My brother is the bride’s godfather.
I am very upset, as I attended all his children’s weddings, even though it was very expensive for me to travel there, pay for a hotel, etc.
My best friend is also not coming. She has an eight-month-old grandson whom she is going to babysit for while allowing her daughter to attend the wedding.
She has another daughter who lives with her, and I question why this daughter cannot babysit so my friend can attend.
I also traveled to her daughter’s wedding — again at a significant expense.
I am feeling very hurt and do not know how to respond to these people.
Right now, I don’t feel like talking to them at all.
I know the wedding will be wonderful and that I will have a great time, but my heart hurts that these people have not made more of an effort to attend.
Dear Upset: A friend once told me, on the eve of my own wedding, that she was still upset about the handful of invited guests who hadn’t come to her own wedding, over 10 years before. Yes, it hurts.
The pandemic has affected people’s willingness to travel. I notice roughly two camps: People who are leaping onto planes, and those who are still extremely anxious and reluctant to assume the risk to their health that they believe leaving their own bubble could expose them (or their vulnerable loved ones) to.
I’m not sure it’s really fair to compare your willingness to travel, pre-pandemic, and your brother’s reluctance to travel now.
In terms of these no-shows — one way we learn how important it is to show up for people is by — not showing up and experiencing the regret, later.
You can’t do anything about this, except to refuse to let these disappointments ruin your day.
Dear Amy: This year for Christmas I asked both of my children the rules for the gift exchange.
Both said that gifts would be given to the children in the family only. Adults would not exchange gifts.
Christmas dinner was at my son and daughter-in-law’s house. I asked if I could bring anything for the meal and was told no it was going to be a simple meal.
When I got there, it was a big spread.
After dinner, gifts were passed out to the children and then my children handed me gifts — but I had nothing for them.
I left shortly after that, because I was so hurt.
The same thing happened last year.
I have decided I will not do holidays with my children ever again.
Am I wrong? Fool me once — shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
Dear Fooled: You bring up a good point — that the holidays are fulfilled not only by receiving, but by giving.
But hold the phone while I offer up another interpretation.
Not knowing the specific dynamic of your family, I’m going to offer up a spin based on the dynamic I’m most familiar with — the one in my own family.
You — the elder — have already given a lot. You’ve cooked and hosted holiday feasts; you’ve shopped for or made hundreds of gifts for your children and others.
Now your children believe that they are giving back to you by letting you off the hook. They don’t want you to go to any trouble.
Unfortunately, they have completely misread the situation, because the effect on you is that you feel marginalized, left out, and embarrassed.
They are not trying to fool or trick you. But they have definitely left you out, because they haven’t recognized and celebrated your desire and ability to contribute, and now you feel invisible.
Rather than close the door in anger, you should be completely honest with them about the way this made you feel.
Dear Amy: Thank you for running the question from “Worried,” regarding financial coercion by elder caregivers in her home.
In exposing this issue, you were advocating for good and responsible caregivers. We care very much about what we do. No caregiver should take advantage of an elder. It is a total violation of the trust they place in us, as well as our professional standards.
— Proud Caregiver
Dear Proud: Many professional eldercare providers have contacted me to echo your response.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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