I work very hard to set aside money for gifts for them and their three children. We always get cards and gifts to them on time for any occasion.
I am not aware of having done anything that would offend them, but am now assuming that I have.
I am tempted to ask them outright what I have done, but my husband says to "let it go."
We will visit them in a couple of weeks for a few days, and I want to clear the air before we go.
One year, they sent a gift: some measuring spoons that seem to be given away free as wedding reception favors (under $2 online), so I guess there is a history of slighting me for my birthday.
They do not do this to my husband.
What is your advice about asking why they would ignore my birthday this year?
Devastated: The way I read your letter, you have received one birthday gift from this couple, and it was a gift you didn’t appreciate because it wasn’t nice enough. (Or they have sent other gifts to you, but the most memorable one is the one you liked the least.)
I wonder if you thanked them for the measuring spoons, or if you instead found a way to convey to them how slighted you felt when you received them.
And this couple did not ignore your birthday this year. Your daughter-in-law sent you a text saying “Happy Birthday.” Did you respond: “Thank you, where is my card and gift?” Or did you respond: “It is sweet of you to remember. I’m looking forward to seeing you soon!” Most likely you threw your phone down in disgust and didn’t respond at all.
Most of us view gift-giving through a lens of our own experiences. And if someone hasn’t had it easy — either because they have been neglected over the years, or because they feel pressured and inadequate — they’re not going to be good at giving.
You could say to your stepson: “I was hurt that you didn’t remember my birthday this year. These little gestures mean a lot to me.” This would be a simple statement of your own truth. But then . . . you must let it go.
I hope you will continue to be a cheerful giver according to your own wishes, and without thoughts of reciprocation. Sending gifts to children and reserving cards/phone calls/texts for adults might be more comfortable for you.
Dear Amy: About 12 years ago, I started dating a widower whose late wife had died suddenly a few months before we met; they had two adult daughters.
He and I dated for about four years, long distance for much of the time, and while I got to know the younger daughter a bit, I only met the older daughter a couple of times.
After we broke up, we did not keep in touch.
The last time I saw him was a few years ago at the younger daughter's funeral after she lost her battle with cancer.
I found out recently that he passed away last fall. I feel so bad for his older daughter, who has lost all her immediate family (she would be in her early 40s now), but don't know whether I should try to reach out to offer my condolences and perhaps a few pictures of her dad.
I could find her on Facebook. Would it be weird? Should I do it anyway?
Wondering: No, it would not be weird to express your condolences. And yes, you should do it.
If Facebook is the primary way to reach her, send a private message. Remind her of who you are, share some memories: “Your dad often talked about how proud he was of you . . . ” and offer to share some photos, if she is interested.
Dear Amy: "Concerned Wife" was worried about her compulsive spender husband, who was hiding the recent purchase of a Camaro.
In your answer, you noted that the base price of that car is $60,000. No, Amy, that's the base price of a Corvette!
Car Guy: Thank you! I assume I made this error because I’m basically a Corvette woman with a Camaro budget.