DEAR AMY: I am the mother of three adult children and grandmother to six. We usually celebrate holidays, birthdays, etc. together. On Christmas Eve, my son’s 4-year-old was bitten by my daughter’s dog, while my son-in-law had the dog on a leash. The child was upset, but his parents handled the situation calmly. He now has a scar on his hand from the bite. The next occasion that we were to be at this daughter’s home was over Easter. My son’s family has a dog of their own (a very obedient animal), and didn’t want to traumatize their little boy any more than he already was. He asked his sister to please crate the dog when his children (he has the 4-year-old and a 2-year-old) were to be in the home. She answered that the dog would be on a leash while inside. My son said that he and his wife wouldn’t be comfortable with that, and said he wouldn’t attend the family dinner. They celebrated elsewhere. My son and his wife have hurt feelings, as do I. I sent my daughter an email asking her to apologize to her brother and sister-in-law for not respecting their request, which I don’t think was unreasonable. This issue is now causing a problem in our family. Your input?
Upset Mom and Nana
DEAR MOM: Your children are adults. Your son attempted to negotiate with his sister, she turned him down and he delivered an appropriate consequence.
I think you made a mistake by inserting yourself and insisting that one apologize to the other, because now you have upped the ante. It might be wiser to be less directive toward your daughter: “I’m disappointed in how you’ve handled this, and I hope you’ll work things out, because this is having an impact on the rest of the family.”
You shouldn’t worry too much about this, nor should you take responsibility or ownership for a problem that you cannot solve.
DEAR AMY: A good friend of mine owes me a small amount of money ($25). I have reminded this person twice, and still have not been repaid. What should I do? I think I will find it hard to just let it go. I am afraid it will affect the friendship.
Friend in Need
DEAR FRIEND: This loan is already affecting the friendship, because your friend hasn’t bothered to repay you, and you can’t drop it.
This small matter has unfortunately revealed something new about this friend.
Many wonderful people are terrible bets when it comes to money, but they have other qualities that make them worth staying close to. Is this friendship worth $25? This is a question you both need to answer.
You might feel better if you can find it in yourself to proactively forgive this person for revealing their failing to you. Once you finally forgive, you may find that the money magically appears — either that or it simply won’t matter anymore. This is the universe’s way of rewarding forgiveness.
Don’t loan again, however. That would just be buying trouble.
DEAR AMY: Regarding the well-meaning “Big Sister” (“No Kid Experience”) who wondered how to mentor her “little’s” offensive media consumption: I grew up in public housing, at times hung with the wrong crowd, experienced violence at my front door (dad was a police officer killed in the line of duty when I was 12) and drank excessively. Throughout all of this I had an affluent Big Brother from the Big Brother Association who did not try to change my entire world. Had he tried, I would have pushed back and dropped him. What he did was show me the countryside, took me to museums and movies and introduced me to a way of life that was a respite from my environment. As an adult, I wondered how I survived that environment, but realized that, along with some other resiliency factors, having Fred in my life as my Big Brother was a significant contributor. Had I told him about all that was going on around me, he probably would have been overwhelmed. By the same token, had he forced change on me, I would have resented his efforts. To this day he remains a friend, attends family functions and my wife and I have dinner with him several times throughout the year. I hope the Big Sister does not ruin what she cannot fix. Go slow, Big Sister, go slow.
Gary F. McNabb, RN, MSN
DEAR GARY: Perfect. Thank you for your wisdom.