It's her turn to celebrate, and she wants to do it up right
Q: Most of my close friends and family celebrated huge life milestones by their early 30s. I spent most of my early adulthood climbing the corporate ladder and living single. Enjoying those special times with my friends was a natural and gracious gesture, from coordinating bridal showers and junkets to Vegas to baby showers.
Now over 40 and on the verge of marriage, I'm torn. With the recession and folks worrying about college educations, jobs and little league, coupled with the perception of my high disposable income, I feel like it's wrong for me to want to celebrate. Registering for gifts, destination bachelorette parties and all the things I celebrated with friends 10-plus years ago seems unreasonable.
Is it appropriate for someone my age with my economic status to still wish for these things or, more important, ask for these things? Am I too late to the party?
A: If you mean little-girly, fetch-me-my-tiara, "dream" wedding party, then, yes, you're too late. But that's a great advantage to marrying later, not the booby prize.
Of course, I also see destination bachelorette parties as unreasonable at any age, unless the guests regard this as the best possible use of their vacation time and money, so maybe I have a radically different perspective.
Still, people from all vantage points might concur that, no matter how disappointed you were to be denied a 6th birthday party, it's weird to celebrate your 21st birthday by playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. You celebrate the moment you're in, not the one you're upset to have missed.
That means you create a modest registry intended only to help guests who don't know what to give you — and you provide this information only when someone asks for it. Of course, these apply to couples of any age.
It also means that if your friends' participation is important to you, then you celebrate in a manner they can afford and that takes them no longer or farther away from their homes/jobs/lives than they're comfortable traveling. Also age-proof.
The only nods, then, to your age are that your household is stocked and your friends are settled. Celebrating this maturity doesn't equate, I hope, to not celebrating at all.
Adult sister's neediness may be a cry for help
Q: I didn't get a chance to call my sister until dinnertime on her birthday, and I missed her four messages telling me to call immediately because she was feeling neglected and sad and tearful. I live five hours away, I have a family of six to care for, I always forget birthdays. It wasn't personal.
She is 35, married, a Ph.D. and had about 20 zillion birthday wishes on her Facebook. Can I just say, "I love you all days, please don't load guilt on me, and let's just forget the birthday thing"?
A: If she's always like this, then your request is fair. She can ignore it, though, so prepare to note future birthdays as you deem appropriate, and ride out the (flak) storm.
If she's not always like this, please instead ask her if she's okay. Neediness where there normally isn't any is a cry for help, not just a cry for attention.