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Annie's Mailbox

Ask Amy column

Q. My daughter had a child out of wedlock four years ago. My wife and I have supported them both emotionally and financially and by baby-sitting the child.

Now my daughter is engaged to a very good guy. She wants to have a wedding that will cost approximately $10,000, and she wants me to pay for it.

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Considering the history, I feel this is a bit much and not fair to my wife and me. Am I wrong?

A. Estimates vary, but the average wedding costs somewhere around $30,000. Does this mean you must pay for your daughter’s lower-cost celebration? No.

You don’t mention what your daughter has been doing to build her own income, but you and your wife supporting her and her child and also baby-sitting should have given her opportunities to further her education and put some money away.

In being there, emotionally and financially, during this important and challenging time, you have done the true “heavy lifting” of parenting.

Even the most generous parents have to draw the line somewhere. If this is your line, then draw it and stand firm.

Q. My eldest daughter is a year away from becoming a doctor of psychology. We funded her undergraduate studies at a top Canadian university, and I have always encouraged her in her pursuits of higher education.

We discussed years ago that when she got married she would keep her surname for her doctorate, and she agreed. I have no issue with her taking her husband’s name in private life, but I feel she’s had our family name 28 years and should keep it.

I have no sons to carry on the family name. This would mean so much. She hasn’t made a decision; she is already known professionally and has published using our family name. Your thoughts?

A. I think your smart, accomplished daughter will find a way to detach, with love.

The great job you did raising your daughter and your generosity in funding her education does not mean that you get to control what name she uses professionally or personally. Her published work is a reflection of her accomplishments, not your reflected glory.

She may choose to keep her surname in both her professional and personal life. She may choose to change it altogether. I do know this: Pressuring her may actually influence her to act in opposition to you, simply to maintain her personal independence and assert her well-earned adulthood (that’s the armchair psychologist in me talking).

You need only ask yourself: Would you be any less proud of your daughter if she chose to publish under a pen name? I hope not. Would she be any less a part of you if she took a different name? Definitely not.

Q. The letter from “Frustrated Mother-in-Law,” struck a nerve.

I am an introverted male whose more outgoing in-laws decided they could “fix.” They would tease me about being quiet, would put me on the spot to make comments during conversations in which I had nothing to contribute and would make fun of me in front of others.

I agree with your comment, to celebrate the good things about introverted people.

A. Many readers have recommended the wonderful book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain (2013, Broadway). I highly recommend it for insight and inspiration.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.
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