DEAR AMY: My sister-in-law informed me a few weeks ago that our family of three won't be invited for Thanksgiving this year. The non-invitation is for an event that is still months away.
The reason is because she's having 10 people, including her sons' families, (three each) and her husband's two grown single kids. Her brother (my husband) is left off the list, but she made a point of informing me of this, not him.
He's upset and wants to talk to her. I don't like to ask for an invitation. Last year she implored us to join them for Thanksgiving because it was just her and her husband, and she felt self-conscious about being alone.
My teenage daughter would love to see her cousins, who have babies.
I feel bad for her. She has a very close relationship with this particular aunt and explaining not being invited is tricky and, in the end, hurtful. Our home is much smaller than theirs, and we've entertained more than twice that number at one time. We would stay in a hotel and, of course, help and bring whatever.
What would you do in this situation? — No Turkey off the Turnpike
DEAR NO TURKEY: Here I was, packing my beach bag for the July 4th holiday, and I'm hit with a Thanksgiving question? But I realize that for some families, it's never too early to get started when it comes to having holiday problems.
Your husband should speak to his sister. She is his sister, he is upset, and so he should speak to her. She obviously put the word out months in advance for a reason: She either really doesn't want your family of three to be with them, or she is setting herself up to be talked out of it.
The way you frame this, her choice is very silly.
Don't approach your teenage daughter with an elaborate or dramatic explanation about this. I think you should wait until at least October to discuss it with her at all.
When you do, simply say her aunt has made a choice, and you're not sure why, but it is what it is and you'll have to make an alternate plan this year.
DEAR AMY: I tell my daughters every day that they are smart, beautiful, talented and loved. Recently, a "friend" in my daughter's third-grade class has been telling my daughter that she is stupid, ugly and useless.
I talked to the girl's mother, and she apologized and said that she would talk to the girl, and the behavior has gotten better.
I've also encouraged my daughter to spend time with people who would actually value her friendship, and she seems to be listening. The problem is that now when I tell my daughter how wonderful she is, she shrugs and says, "You have to say that, you're my dad. It's not true." This breaks my heart, and I don't know what else to do to fix the damage. Thanks for your advice. — Concerned Dad
DEAR DAD: First of all, props for being an involved dad. Your closeness with your daughters will resonate for the rest of their lives.
I think you should play a game: Ask your daughter to use five words to describe herself. Then ask her to use five words to describe you.
Then you do the same. Choose five words to describe her and back up your descriptions with examples: "I say 'smart' because you get good grades and you always remember where I parked the car, even when I forget. I say 'kind' because you are thoughtful and a very nice daughter, sister and friend. Plus, you always remember to feed the cat."
She got knocked down, but she knows you're in her corner. She needs some time and TLC to recover.
DEAR AMY: I was very disappointed to read the letter from "Sleepless and Sad," who has a relative who calls her son (playfully) "Stupid."
I have to say, I would never stand by while someone demeaned my child that way. I don't care what the intent. It is not acceptable. — Proud Dad
DEAR DAD: I completely agree.