Teenager feels left out as mom travels with dad

Published 9:11 am Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Teenager feels left out as mom travels with dad

DEAR ABBY: I’m a senior in high school, and I come from a family that is financially stable but unable to travel often due to time and money constraints. We usually travel only once a year in the summer, and for the most part, we’re not able to travel very far or stay for long.
For the past three years, our vacation plans have been on hold due to the pandemic and other concerns. My parents have been on two trips across the country in the past 12 months. I accept that they’re a married couple and occasionally want to travel without the rest of their family. However, recently it came to my attention that Mom bought two tickets to Europe for her and Dad as a birthday gift. She used the money she had been saving for a family vacation to pay for them.
I feel betrayed. I was under the impression that we couldn’t afford a vacation at this time, or that we were still waiting for the chaos of the pandemic to settle before traveling, but my mother was happy to spend the money on a vacation for her and Dad.
My dad is turning 50, and I understand it’s a very special occasion. However, I can’t help but wonder why I haven’t received so much as a dinner after being accepted into my top college and earning two scholarships. Am I overreacting? If not, how should I address this? — WANTING A GETAWAY IN NEW YORK

DEAR WANTING: I agree that having been accepted to your top college and having earned two scholarships, your achievement was something to be celebrated. (In reality, the achievement was a reward in itself.) That it was not recognized tells me there must be a lot going on for your folks right now.
While family vacations are wonderful and memorable, so are milestone birthdays such as the one that’s approaching for your dad. Your mother should be forgiven for ensuring it will be “extra special.” If you feel an itch to travel, if you don’t already have one, consider getting a part-time job so you can afford a getaway with friends or a student or church group. Because you are no longer a child, you should talk to your mother about how you feel.
DEAR ABBY: My adult son got so furious with me that he called me, yelled vicious things and threatened to cut me out of his life. I’ve never been spoken to that way before. It was so traumatic that I was shaking after I hung up on him.
What made him so angry was that I didn’t thank his mother-in-law for an email she sent wishing me happy birthday. I had received 30 email birthday wishes that day and didn’t acknowledge any of them. I would have thanked someone who’d gone to the trouble of calling or sending an actual card. I don’t think I behaved improperly, but maybe there’s some rule that slipped by me. Your thoughts? — UNHAPPY BIRTHDAY IN TEXAS

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DEAR UNHAPPY: The polite way to deal with email special occasion wishes is to either acknowledge them individually or do an email “blast” thanking everyone for remembering you. To have remained stone silent was ungracious. HOWEVER, for your son to have gone off the deep end, yelled “vicious things” and threatened to cut you out of his life was uncalled for, and whether or not you receive one, you deserve an apology.
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