While I'm away, readers give the advice.
On having in-laws who regard you as a mistake:
JK in MI: I wouldn't care. I did not marry them. If they don't want to take the time to get to know me for the person I am the way my spouse did, then they can just sit and spin. I would still keep them in the loop of birth announcements and such — but if their attitude carried over then, again, it sucks to be them
Loving daughter-in-law: My husband left his family's strict religion long before he met me, but his mother was devastated and blamed each of his girlfriends for keeping him away from "the church." Although I was only 17, I understood his mother's pain at "losing" her son. I listened to her tales of sadness and showed sympathy for her feelings. She called me the devil when she found out I believed in reincarnation. I held my tongue. My now-husband was always willing to tell her to back off if I agreed.
I grew to love my husband's mom despite our differences. She came to love me, too, and now that she is older, it's apparent that she suffers from mental illness and probably always did.
I feel her non-acceptance helped me to grow and nurture the courage of my convictions — without ever feeling that someone else had to think the same way I did for me to love them.
On disappointment with a child's godparent:
Too big: Many cultures consider the role of godfather in the same way they regard being a best man, groomsman, etc.: It is a wonderful honor, but after that glorious celebration, life goes on.
I remembered my goddaughters on their birthdays, at Christmas, and so on, until life got in the way. I live in the same town, but as my children have gone their way, his children theirs, we have simply grown apart. I haven't spent time with them in years. Sad? Not to them, not to me, but perhaps somebody out there is upset. I think life is tough enough without searching out problems.
On being asked to get separate lodging for a family gathering:
Family designated speaker: You get only the family you were born with and the family you make, so it is always worth it to make an effort. Suck it up and realize that sometimes people don't enjoy your company or the vibe you bring to the party, but since you are family, they are making an effort to keep everyone together.
On being told "no gifts" for a child's birthday:
Anonymous: I never received gifts from aunts and uncles. Instead, all the aunts, uncles and cousins (17 in all) came to our house for birthday parties — nothing fancy, just sandwiches and cake. I'm 67, and I still remember the wonderful, warm gatherings and all the fun we had. I also fondly remember the aunt who took me shopping for clothes (because my mother wouldn't), the aunts who taught me to bake (because my mother didn't), and the welcome mat out at every house anytime I wanted to drop in just to chat.