Q. I’m a married mother of three young adults, and grandmother to three young children.
All of my life I have taken care of people. I raised my children for 10 years alone, while continuing to work full time.
I have a very loving, supportive husband. We have a home, a cottage, and an investment property, which my husband and I (physically and financially) take care of by ourselves.
Our adult daughter and son-in-law don’t take any interest in helping us, even though they live in the investment property, at a very reduced rent, so that they could save money for their own home.
Three years later, they have saved nothing, and don’t work regularly. They buy whatever they want, but can’t support themselves.
We continue to help with baby-sitting, and by helping to ease their financial burden.
Last night, while visiting my grandchildren, I brought along some essential items for the household and treats for the kids. The kids always express gratitude. Their parents never do.
While I was there, my son-in-law went out for coffee, bringing it back for my daughter and himself! I couldn’t believe it. No one offered me so much as a glass of water!
I left the visit feeling so used, unappreciated, overwhelmed, and heartbroken. I don’t know what to make of this rudeness. I cry by myself in frustration.
This has been going on for years, now, but I did not raise my children to be so rude and unappreciative!
A. I beg to differ.
You are obviously a generous and giving person, but you did raise your children to be rude and unappreciative.
Not only do you not react or respond when these adults are rude to you, but you actually enable and subsidize them.
When you don’t express your feelings directly to the people inspiring them, you are being dishonest. And so, rather than merely assert your own human right to have feelings and express them, you are crying into your pillow and then blaming these adults for not being able to read you.
By subsidizing their rent, you have created a false economy. They don’t put their earnings toward housing costs, because you’re doing it. They go out for coffee instead of brewing it at home, and don’t offer it to you because — why not? They can “afford” it, and you are invisible.
You need to understand who would benefit the most right now from your generosity — and that is you.
Stop impeding their progress by providing so much for them.
Start valuing yourself enough not to be a doormat.
The pandemic has forced many families to pull together, live together, and help one another out, but your situation was not brought about by the necessity of a worldwide emergency.
When you change, they will change. Why? Because they will have to.
Q. I was invited to a Zoom wedding this August for the daughter of some new friends.
When I opened the Evite, I saw that they had several registries for gifts, even though they wrote that the only gift they need was our “attendance.”
I was a little surprised at the immodesty of the items requested. This seemed like a gift grab to me.
Is this a common practice now? What is the etiquette for gifting when there is no traditional post-wedding reception?
If one cannot Zoom in for the wedding, is one off the hook for a gift?
A. If you are asking about registries, yes — registries are commonly used, and have been for a long time.
Is this a gift grab? Well, gifts are traditionally given to celebrate weddings. If you don’t attend a wedding, you are not obligated to give a wedding gift, although some invited guests do give.
Wedding guests generally give gifts because they care about the couple and want to express this through their generosity.
You obviously don’t want to attend this wedding, and you certainly don’t want to give a gift — so don’t!
Q. Like “Concerned Daughter,” I, too, faced the dilemma of how to get mom out of her car. She was clearly driving by feel, due to her waning eyesight.
Hearing from her eye doctor that her vision was too poor to drive did the trick. It was much easier to handle that news from a disinterested professional.
A. This is such a tough moment in a family’s life; many people have responded by saying how helpful their parents’ physicians were.
Amy Dickinson can be reached at email@example.com.