Annie Lane: Messy tendencies may mean more

Published 5:25 pm Friday, October 14, 2022

Dear Annie: Should we just let this go? My wife and I were invited to my only sibling’s son’s wedding in August. We didn’t attend. For background: My only sister and I have lived our entire lives within minutes of each other. Three years ago, I retired and moved across the state, 240 miles away from her and her family. We were always close during those times, enjoying family events and celebrations.

My nephew’s wedding ceremony was on a Sunday evening, with a pre-celebration slated for Saturday evening. Both were at an outdoor venue (a park). To attend the weekend meant that we would’ve either driven five hours or flown. And as the invitation specified, there were rustic cabins to “camp” in for the weekend, or we could’ve found our own lodging. This was my nephew’s second marriage, and he and his now wife have lived together for at least five years and had a child shortly before the wedding.

After much thought, honestly, my wife and I just weren’t up to making the arrangements for a three-day trip. We sent our regrets a month before the wedding and a generous gift. After the wedding, I spoke with my sister, and she mentioned that “Dylan” was “a little hurt” that we didn’t attend. It’s now a month after the wedding. We have not received any note of a gift acknowledgment from the couple, and communication between my sister and me has chilled. Should I just let time pass and let this go?

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— An Uncle Feeling Guilty

Dear Feeling Guilty: It sounds like the relationship you had with your sister and her family when you lived closer to each other was an intimate one. With such an emphasis on family gatherings and celebrations especially, I could see how your nephew and his wife would feel a little miffed to not have you both in attendance at their wedding. While going through the necessary hoops to be there might have been a slight pain, it’s what we do for family (finances permitting). But it’s also important to note that, regardless of physical presence, the newlyweds should certainly have sent a thank-you note for the generous wedding gift. One month is a short time, however. You might still get a thank-you note.

Smooth things over with your sister and nephew’s family by suggesting a celebration lunch together sometime soon at a halfway point between you.

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Dear Annie: I would feel remiss not to email and let you know that the behavior of the future stepdaughter in “Caring For One Little Pig”’s letter may very well be due to undiagnosed ADHD or depression. Before we start taking things away from her, it would be a good idea to get her looked at by a physician or entered into some kind of counseling. It is certainly possible that she is just lazy, but a lot of the time, what adults see as lazy is actually executive dysfunction caused by other things.

ADHD and other neurodiversities are often underdiagnosed in girls. Instead of seeing this as something that the child is doing on purpose to the adults and then punishing her accordingly, why can’t we start with assuming good intentions and try to figure out where the block is? Thanks!

— A Middle School Teacher Who Was a Slob at 12

Dear Middle School Teacher: A very worthwhile suggestion. Thank you for your perspective based on experience.

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