Dear Amy: My husband and I are planning to take a trip to Disney World several months from now.
Today I received an email from my sister, saying that her daughter, “Hillary,” “is thinking about joining you on the Disney trip. Would you be able to give her some additional information about what is planned?”
Hillary was never invited to join us. She is lovely, but it is not possible for us to have her along on this vacation.
It is causing grief for my family. It is not as simple as saying no. My family will be considered the bad guys if we do.
Please advise me on how to handle this without causing family strife?
Dear Avoiding: A surefire way to avoid “family strife” would be for your sister not to invite her daughter along on your vacation.
You don’t say how old Hillary is, but a simple, polite response is all that’s called for: “Oh, I know this sounds like it might be fun for Hillary, but we’re going to make this trip on our own. Maybe another time we can have her join us.”
Maintain a good-natured attitude about this. A neutral attitude about being “the bad guys” might ultimately be good for your relationship.
Dear Amy: I am a 35-year-old woman. I had my first child with my boyfriend eight months ago.
We were not planning on having a child together (we had only been casually dating for three months prior to the pregnancy), but he has done an amazing job in stepping up.
He does not want to get married or have any more kids.
I feel conflicted about trying to make the relationship work to keep my family together while my child is young, but I also want to find someone who wants what I want.
Given my age (I am “geriatric” in the labor and delivery world), I feel like if I don’t have another child now, it will be too late.
But also, dating is the worst, and I am not sure I would meet anyone, anyway.
Do I accept that my son will be my only child and I will never get married, or should I risk breaking up my family for the small chance that I might meet someone who wants marriage and more children?
Should I be happy I had a least one child with a decent man?
Dear Confused: Yes, you should be happy you have had a child with a decent man. But this is not the end of your story — your story is just beginning!
You seem to be extremely and needlessly agitated regarding your future. Perhaps it is because a doctor slapped a “geriatric” label on you at the age of 35. This is a disservice to you, because it seems to have made you panic, during the very time of your baby’s early life when you should be learning to live in the moment.
Because your baby’s father doesn’t want to get married or have more children with you (and you want both), perhaps you and he should mindfully transition into an amicable, mutually supportive co-parenting arrangement, and you should both consider yourself available to other relationships.
You should also assume that you will not meet the perfect person who will want to marry you and have a child within the next couple of years. However, you could choose to have another child on your own, through sperm donation or adoption.
What you don’t want to do is convey to your child that your family is incomplete until Mr. Wonderful comes along and is able to fulfill your goals.
If you could settle down a little bit, you might see that your slightly unconventional family is teaching you to adjust to the world as it is.
There are many ways to have more children, including the way I did it, which was to joyfully acquire four additional stepdaughters, after being a single mother for 17 years.
My point is that you can lay out your plans, but the world might have other ideas.
Dear Amy: I read your column every day. I continue to be amazed that you can get some answers so right, and others so wrong, sometimes in the same column!
Dear Frustrated: An answer isn’t necessarily “right,” just because you agree with it, and an answer might not be wrong, just because you hold a different view.
All the same, I like to leave space for readers to disagree.
You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.
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Author: Amy Dickinson
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