DEAR ABBY: Recently my three grown children chipped in to send their aunt dinner for her birthday.
She is 79 years old and needs nothing; she doesn’t even come out. Financially, she is in good shape.
They placed the order, and it came to $95. Well, Abby, my elderly mother has gone crazy! She thought it was too little to spend on their aunt.
I think my children were very caring. They are all trying to build their lives. One has two children, a house and a mortgage. The other just got engaged and is saving up for the wedding. The third is to save for one’s future.
My mother thinks her grandchildren should give her gifts and money. I think she should expect money from her own children, not grandchildren.
I hung up on her when she attacked my kids. She still thinks she’s right. Your thoughts?
LIVING WITH A DIFFICULT MOM
DEAR LIVING: Was Auntie satisfied with the meal?
Your mom may think she’s always right, but she was wrong to criticize the amount your kids spent on their aunt’s dinner. That she announces that she is expecting gifts and money from them is beyond presumption. The decision of what to give is up to the giver, not the receiver.
DEAR ABBY: My sister died of lung cancer 10 months ago. My brother-in-law doesn’t want to live in the house they shared anymore because of too many memories, so he gives the house to his daughter and moves into an apartment.
My other sister wants to throw her a housewarming party. Is it appropriate?
THE GOOD INTENT IS IN IT
DEAR GOOD INTENT: Of course it is, as long as it’s okay with your brother-in-law. It’s not only appropriate, it’s a positive gesture of love and, in a way, a celebration of life. Good for her!
DEAR ABBY: My husband passed away two years ago. I hope you can give me advice on how to deal with my 53 year old daughter who has never left home.
We generally get along well. She does freelance art, but doesn’t earn much. She only contributes $30 a month. Also, she has a driving phobia, so she doesn’t drive. She expects me to drive her to various places.
She only has cyberfriends. She wants to travel, but doesn’t want to go alone and keeps pushing me to go with her, even though I don’t really want to. I’ve offered group tours, but she’s hesitant to go alone.
I feel compelled to keep the peace and follow his wishes. How should I handle this?
WITHDRAWAL IN NEVADA
DEAR WITHDRAWAL: You have protected and allowed your daughter for far too long. Tell her that she has become too dependent on you. She needs to overcome her phobia of driving (or at least enjoying public transportation) and her fear of traveling without you.
Unless you have financially provided for her in the event of her death, how do you think she will survive living as a virtual cooper without a job or life skills?
There are psychotherapists who specialize in eliminating phobias. While she’s here, your daughter should also get some help with gaining some independence, even if it’s about 30 years later.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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