Respect for time
Dear Annie: I have a sister-in-law who always has spur-of-the-moment birthday parties for her children — usually just giving us all one day’s notice. They are active in school activities and sports. All of these activities have schedules planned weeks in advance, but my sister-in-law’s excuse is that the parties have to be “squeezed in” when they have time. Well, what about my time? I am expected to drop plans and sacrifice my own children’s activities so they can go to their cousins’ birthday parties? I feel disrespected. I’m sure her kids wonder why no one comes to their parties. How should I deal with the next surprise-for-everyone party? — Party Pooper
Dear Party Pooper: The next time this happens, go to the party, because your little nieces and nephews really shouldn’t have to pay the price for their mom’s mistakes. But afterward, sit down and have a talk with your sister-in-law about her schedule. It sounds as if she is a bit underwater with the kids’ schedules and struggling to stay organized. Encourage her to cut back on a few of the activities. In the long run, she and her kids would benefit from a “less is more” approach.
Dear Annie: This is my first correspondence to any advice columnist — and I go way back to the days of Ann Landers. Your response to “Scuffed” was wrong from the salutation to the period of the last sentence! “Scuffed” wrote to you because her sister-in-law’s fiance “scratched” her car with his truck tires backing out of the driveway and he refused to pay for the damages. “Scuffed” had been leaving her children there for her sister-in-law to baby-sit but was reconsidering that arrangement. You told her to follow her instincts and not leave the kids there anymore.
You would have her cause a family upheaval involving young children because of scratches to a car? Really? Just because you feel you should always follow your gut feeling? And then you told “Scuffed” to just invite the sister-in-law to her house to visit with the kids instead and said she would probably want an excuse to get out of the house anyway because of her fiance’s “lousy attitude.”
It’s as if she had an angel and devil on her shoulders and all your advice came from the one holding the pitchfork. How about taking the high road and a deep breath and worrying about more important things in life? In the fleeting precious time we have on this earth, keep the peace and show the love. You’d have her give that up because of paint on a car door. C’mon. — Older and Wiser
Dear Older: I appreciate your outlook about keeping the peace and showing the love, but I think you misunderstood my point. I wasn’t suggesting that ”Scuffed” stop speaking to her future brother-in-law. I only meant that she should stop leaving her children with the couple. Given the man’s bizarrely aggressive response to the incident — calling up ”Scuffed” and her husband to tell them that he’d never apologize — it seems plausible he has anger issues. Why risk exposing your children to that sort of volatility?
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