The Washington Post

Ask Amy: Teen wants to be queen — for only a day

DEAR AMY: I am the younger of two daughters. My sister is three years older, and we are very close. She is away at college. You’d think that since she is away from home, I would get more of my parents’ focus. But that has not happened.

It’s not as if they neglect me, but I don’t feel my needs, wishes and dreams are on the family agenda.

My 16th birthday is in roughly seven months. I want it to be special. I’ve always dreamed of having a day of just celebrating me.

I remember back to when it was my sister’s 16th birthday, they talked about it for months ahead of time, with plans, a surprise party and a special visit from family members. But my birthday is rapidly approaching and not a word has been spoken about plans for my day.

Should I tell my parents how I feel or just assume they’re working on something — or should I let it go? -- The Forgotten Birthday Girl

DEAR FORGOTTEN: Your situation reminds me of the movie “Sixteen Candles.” If you’ve never seen it, you should.

Your folks may have started planning something. If you have special things you want to do on that day, definitely tell them. You should also offer to help.

Talk to your sister about this. She can rattle your parents’ cage a little bit. Parents get tired. They also get a little lazy when they have only one well-behaved teenager still at home. You may have to work a little harder to get their attention, but you deserve to have it, not only on your birthday but every day.

DEAR AMY: I am terribly hurt. Due to my husband’s health problems, I have had to do everything around our house for the last couple of months, and this will continue for another couple of months.

My husband’s friends have said that if he needs something to just let them know. Their wives are also my friends, but not one has asked if there is something she could do for me, like fix a meal, go to the store or help with the house.

If I had help, I could have dedicated more time to my husband’s care. I cannot understand why they haven’t offered. I would like to suggest to others who have friends in our situation to not just ask, but insist. I’d be so grateful if one of them said: “I’m coming over at 10 o’clock to vacuum for you. Would that be okay?”

I know I would be there for a friend in need. -- Hurting in Colorado

DEAR HURTING: Many people don’t know how to jump in and lend a hand. Because of this, sometimes you have to be brave enough to ask. Wouldn’t you, if someone reached out to say, “Hey, I’m feeling overwhelmed. Would you be willing to help me out this week with ...”?

I’d like to recommend as a way for you (and others with illness in the family) to ask for and organize help from people in your circle. This smart concept makes it easier to reach out and offer to help — and to ask for it. You will also be inspired by the suggestions for caregivers who, like you, are in it for the long haul.

DEAR AMY: I disagree with you and “New Bride,” who included the names of some charities on her wedding gift registry.

My first reaction wouldn’t be, “How sweet.” It would be, “Thanks, but I’m perfectly capable of deciding which charities, if any, I want to financially support.”

I have the same attitude when it comes to shameless supermarkets that try to extract donations to their personal causes by embarrassing customers at each trip to the checkout counter. -- Think Again!

DEAR AGAIN!: You might have a similar reaction to a gift registry, thinking, “Thanks, but I’m perfectly capable of choosing what china pattern, if any, I want to purchase.”

The idea is that these are suggestions for what the couple — not you — want to receive. Of course you can always simply decline to follow the suggestion (or pass by the donation bucket at the supermarket).

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services



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