Dear Amy: I have a friend who I love dearly, but she’s crossed over a couple of lines with me lately and I have gently cut her off.
She is a drama queen and is constantly having relationship problems.
The other day she texted me at 3 a.m., telling me she was leaving her boyfriend. She showed up at my house at 5 a.m. with her 16-year-old daughter “Cynthia” in tow.
After telling me how horrible her boyfriend is and saying inappropriate things in front of her daughter, the next day she was back with her boyfriend.
When I heard this news, I told her to please talk to her other friends because I was stepping back.
She is also a recreational drug user and I absolutely cannot be around that.
Now she is upset at me, telling me that she would never turn her back on me.
Am I wrong? I don’t have time for her high school drama!
We are in our 50s and are both grandparents!
— Backed Away
Dear Backed Away: Yes, backing away from this friend sounds like the best thing for you, but there is a teenager in this equation, and I hope you will extend a hand toward her.
Because you are exiting from this friendship anyway, you might as well be completely honest about your reasons: “I am terrified that you and your daughter are in this dangerous situation, but it seems I can’t help you any longer because nothing I do or say seems to make a difference. Your choices and your drug use are harmful to you and this beautiful teenage girl. You both deserve so much better.”
Perhaps you could give your phone number to “Cynthia.” It is doubtful that she would use it, but it sounds as if she needs a safe place, and a safe person to turn to.
Dear Amy: My father has a habit of giving cash to my brother and me, if we are going on a family vacation.
He has done this since we were children, so we could treat ourselves while away.
This continues, even now that we are adults with careers of our own.
Dad is not a man of many words or outward emotions, and I know this is a way of showing affection.
On a trip this year, he gave us each $350 in cash.
My husband thinks this is weird. He disapproves.
He gets upset when I accept money from my father, so I have stopped telling him about it, but if he finds out about it anyway, then he is upset that I hid it from him. He acts as though I’m being dishonest.
It hurts my father’s feelings if I decline the gift from him.
This puts me in a terrible spot, choosing between my father’s generosity and my husband’s good graces.
I don’t think what my father is doing is weird or unreasonable.
Am I wrong?
Dear Conflicted: In my opinion, what your father is doing is generous and sweet.
I agree with your take on this — that this is one tangible way your dad shows you how he feels about you.
It’s the sort of bestowing that people of few words will engage in.
If your dad grew up with few resources, this sort of obvious generosity makes him feel good. It reminds him that he has made it in life.
Your husband disapproves. His own father may show his affection differently — or perhaps — not at all. That’s why he is so threatened by this largesse.
You should find a way to convey to him: “Honey, you can either enjoy this gift along with me, or go and sulk. It’s your choice.”
Dear Amy: “Family Afterthought” expressed frustration that their birthday falls on or near Thanksgiving every year.
I too, have a holiday birthday. Mine is Christmas Day.
My parents quickly told everyone that it was not my fault when I was born and that we would celebrate both Christmas and my birthday as two separate events, never joined.
Our family celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve and my birthday on Christmas Day.
I have had only two “real” birthday parties, both surprises, and for momentous years.
This has worked for me and my “birthdays” are some of my most cherished memories.
— Another Holiday Birthday
Dear Another: A Christmas birthday truly offers up challenges, as well as abundant decorating ideas.
I assume that at least once during your childhood you were photographed lying in a manger, attended by three Wise Men bearing gifts?
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