D ear Amy: In yesterday’s mail we received a birth announcement of a new great-nephew, addressed only to my husband.
Christmas cards, wedding announcements, birth announcements, thank-you cards — anything coming from his sister and her children all are addressed only to him.
The most mention I ever get is “and Family.” One wedding invitation actually came to “Uncle John and Family.” Our children are grown so presumably I’m the nameless “Family.”
I buy the presents and sign the cards and checks. There’s no animosity between us. I’ve known the kids since birth, and they are all nice people. But each omission makes me feel, well, a bit unwanted.
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I’m tempted to have only my husband sign the card that I bought before the announcement arrived. I want him to tell his sister that this makes me feel sad and left out. He doesn’t see it as an issue and thinks I should ignore it, but he also says that since it bothers me, I should tell her myself.
What’s your take?
— The Invisible Aunt
Dear Aunt: Your husband could have easily dealt with this years ago because this lack of acknowledgment affects your place in the family. I agree that it is rude and hurtful. You don’t say whether there are circumstances that might affect his sister and her family’s refusal to acknowledge you — perhaps your husband had a previous wife and your sister-in-law has a misguided notion that you are not “real” family.
Regardless, because your husband is slinking away from this, I agree with him that you should express yourself now. After all, his sister is already negating you, so it’s not like she can rescind an acknowledgment she never makes.
Dear Amy: I was amazed by your response to “Disappointed and Confused,” the mother of two middle-aged children who asked how much they were getting when she informed them of their inheritance from an uncle.
She was appalled that they would not express appreciation first. I’ll bet 99.9% of people would first want to know how much they were getting. Otherwise, how would they know how appreciative to be?
Dear Surprised: The idea is to be equally appreciative, whether the “windfall” is an old teapot or $36,000 (which is what these children received). Their mother was appalled that they didn’t express any appreciation “before the greed kicked in,” and I agreed with her reaction.