Loading...
BYH, I just moved to Greenville with my lovely wife and two precious children and a dog. I was so happy when the...

Child's birthday party or gift grab?

Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax

Loading…

Carolyn Hax

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Q Our daughter’s classmate has a July birthday. Her parents always organize a birthday party for her shortly after school is in session, when all of her friends are around. The invitations never state to not bring a gift.

My take is that this is nothing more than a gift grab for their daughter to maximize what she gets. My wife says I’m being silly. Who’s right? — J.

A Only her parents can say for certain. Maybe it’s a gift grab, sure, but it could just be that all of her friends are around. Or something else entirely.

And, for what it’s worth, most parents writing to me about gifts (by far) want to limit them, not maximize the haul. This doesn’t prove anything so it’s not worth much, but I thought I’d mention it.

Here’s what I do know for a certainty, even with the scant information you gave me: You could give these parents the benefit of the doubt. Instead you’ve chosen to think the worst of them.

How’s that working for you, as a general outlook on life?

 

Q My sister has taken her religion to an extreme that is off-putting to most everybody, myself and my son included. Nearly every visit includes a diatribe packed with judgments about what I am doing wrong. She once tried to get my son’s math teacher in trouble because she saw a trapezoid labeled LGBQ on a worksheet. For six months I had to assure her the teacher did not make the worksheet and she would be wrong to persecute an overworked, underpaid public school teacher. She still contacted my son to get the teacher’s name.

Nothing happened, but I now walk on eggshells every time she visits. Last time, she told us churches were withholding help from Habitat for Humanity because some houses were going to people “living in sin.” She was pleased with this. I’m a single mom, and this was a little tone deaf to say in front of my son.

She is lonely, and I want to ease her loneliness by hosting her and showing her some joy — but I dread having her judgments in my house, and chastisements to go to church, for three or four days at a time. It is hard to relax because you never know what will set her off. Can I just say no — I’m through? — Zealot’s Sister

A Yes, of course. Your home, your time, your values, your life.

Even if your sister didn’t overstep so unnervingly on the Great Tolerant Trapezoid Incident, it would still be your prerogative to decide whom you do and don’t invite to your home.

Since it sounds as if you’re being pulled in two directions, though, I’ll offer this: If you still want to ease her loneliness — if — there are ways to do it that don’t trap you into four days of gotchas and diatribes. You can meet her for a mini-vacation at a neutral site halfway between you. With your son, or while he stays with a friend, your call.

Neutral sites not only allow you to bail early if the judgments exceed your patience, but also, if you choose well, give you an impersonal thing — scenery, a show, the food — to talk about ... or change the subject to, stat.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

October 14, 2018

I was a proud Boy Scout and Scout leader but had lost touch with the program.

However, my youngest grandson’s excitement over having just been signed up for Cub Scouts happened to open a window on some truly monumental changes in the Scouting world. Like me, you may have missed them.

The…

Bob Garner

October 14, 2018

Last month’s flooding from Hurricane Florence brought such bad news to New Bern and its neighboring cities, towns and communities.

There is a little bit of good news for New Bern this month.

The town’s best-selling author, Nicholas Sparks, is releasing a new book, “Every Breath.…

DGMartin

October 13, 2018

I was standing along the suburban Washington waterfront a couple of years ago when a Spanish galleon showed up, proving once again that if you wait long enough, everything comes full circle.

This is especially true in the gardening world. Houseplants, embraced by hirsute, plaid-draped baby boomers…

GARDENING1

October 12, 2018

Imagine, if you will ...

A mermaid,

A crocodile,

A flock of yellow birds,

An island, 

and Tinkerbell

In a prequel to the famous story of Peter Pan.

“Who doesn’t want to know where Peter Pan came from?” said Patch Clark, director of ECU’s Loessin Playhouse production of…

101218peterandthestarcatcher-2.jpg

October 10, 2018

A shout-out to all who will join the 2018 Holiday Challenge!

I was happy that Pitt County folks participated but disappointed to learn that in 2017 Pitt County was down to 287 participants. We usually have more than 300 join in this free fun that benefits personal health and wellness.

 The…

October 10, 2018

There is nothing more beautiful than a sunrise or sunset, watching the sky come alive with energy or winding its way down for the day. And, there is nothing more beautiful than driving down 10th Street and being greeted by the bright orange Hot Light outside Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. For many, myself…

Display Case.jpg

October 07, 2018

It’s no surprise. The rest of the 2018 oyster season, extending on into 2019, will likely be a disaster for North Carolina natural harvesters and cultivators.

In addition to the loss of human life, loss of homes, and loss of any sense of normal existence wrought by Hurricane Florence, chalk…

Bob Garner

October 07, 2018

“You’d better be careful,” my wonderful seventh-grade teacher, Miss Winifred Potts, preached to my class more than 65 years ago.

Miss Potts had a set of strategies to encourage us to behave, in and out of class. To discourage mischief-making while she was writing math problems on…

DGMartin.jpg

October 05, 2018

There is something oddly familiar about Florence Ungar and Olive Madison. Their names don't necessarily ring a bell, but the sloppy sports fan and neurotic neatnik are reminiscent of a couple of characters most people have seen before.

But prettier.

Leann Rafferty and Michelle Pittman star in the…

100518gooddcouple-1.jpg

October 03, 2018

Q: I have been taking a medicine to treat heartburn. I have heard that might not be a great idea anymore and that there can be some long-term consequences for taking them. What can I do to naturally reduce or treat my heartburn? — L.J.C., Winterville

A: I asked Kathryn Clary, a second-…

KathyKolasa
244 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 25
        Next Page»   Last Page»