Dear Annie: My fiance and I have lived together for 28 years. We would have married, but we had a slight legal problem.
Jed was still married and for various reasons never got a divorce. Nine months ago, his wife suddenly passed away. We decided it was time to marry, and we’ve set the date for October.
Jed’s 35-year-old daughter, Diane, thinks it is too soon. She didn’t attend my bridal shower (this will be my first wedding).
She said it makes her feel bad when people ask what she thinks about our upcoming marriage.
Now we are not speaking. I believe the whole thing was intended as a slap in the face, illustrating her displeasure with the situation. We had been close until her mother passed away. Am I being too sensitive? What do you think? —New Bride
Dear Bride: Bridal shower gifts traditionally include racy, amusing items. Even if you didn’t find her presents funny and weren’t sure they were well-intentioned, you still could have laughed it off and made light of the situation. When a parent dies, many children, for a variety of reasons, feel guilty for not treating them better.
This could be why Diane is showing her loyalty to Mom now. Also keep in mind that her mother died less than a year ago and she is probably still grieving. It might help your relationship with Diane to treat her with a little more sensitivity, and we hope you will try.
Dear Annie: My husband and I have neighbors who have get-togethers every weekend, and they always invite us.
We like them well enough, but we cherish our time alone together or with friends and really don’t want to socialize with the neighbors every weekend. Although we have attended several of their functions, we know they are offended when we turn them down. How do we handle this? — Canada
Dear Canada: You have become hostages to your neighbors. You are not obligated to tie up your weekends with them, so please don’t allow them to bully you into doing so.
Say as sweetly as possible, “We’re so sorry, but we have plans this weekend. Maybe another time.” Repeat as often as needed. If they are offended, so be it.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from Shorty’s Mom, whose 18-year-old daughter is mistaken for a child. I am a petite 18-year-old girl.
I barely reach 5 feet and weigh 100 pounds. I am always mistaken for being younger — usually around 13 or 14. When I step out of the driver’s seat of the car, people assume I am just 16.
Although my size makes some things difficult (I once had to ask a boy in my art class to reach the paint off the top shelf), I am proud of my height.
Sure, I get discouraged sometimes, and let’s not forget the neck cramps from always looking up. But, hey, that’s what makes me who I am.
Tell Shorty’s Mom to let her daughter know she is not alone in this world. There are a lot of us out there who are mistaken for children and we’re OK. It doesn’t kill us. — Another Shorty
Dear Another: We love your positive attitude and appreciate your taking the time to send those words of encouragement.
Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.