Dear Abby: We can’t afford our share of big baby shower that son-in-law’s parents want

The pregnant woman’s family, used to simpler affairs at home, is asked to contribute half the cost of a grand affair

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DEAR ABBY: My daughter and son-in-law are expecting their second child. Everyone is very happy for them. The problem is the difference between her in-laws’ beliefs and mine. I was brought up in a family in which parties and celebrations were held at home. We opened our house to friends and relatives, everyone brought food and we celebrated the occasion.

The in-laws are substantially more well-to-do than we are. They celebrate every occasion at a restaurant, club or venue, with many people attending. My daughter has been a part of this family for years and enjoys the big celebrations.

The problem is, I am being asked to contribute half the cost of her upcoming baby shower. For the venue, bartender, fees, linens, table decorations, etc., my share comes to more than $900. Abby, I’m not in a position to do this, nor do I want to. My daughter is angry with me because I refused, although I did promise to buy anything she doesn’t receive at the shower.

Am I wrong for refusing to take part in this? Or must I suck it up and come up with the $900 to keep the peace? — SAD MOM IN NEW ENGLAND

DEAR SAD MOM: Your daughter may be pregnant, but there are other “facts of life” she seems to have overlooked. One of them is that the kind of celebrations to which she has become accustomed cost more than you can comfortably afford to spend.

I assume there will be future celebrations in which you will be expected to participate. If that’s true, then it’s time to explain the obvious to your daughter, her husband and her in-laws: Their style of entertaining is simply out of your budget.

DEAR ABBY: I have a dear friend of more than 30 years who has a bad habit of being extremely nosy. She says it shows she cares about the person. She asks about members of my family she has never met and why they made certain decisions. How can I politely get her to stop? — NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

DEAR N.O.Y.B: Asking questions may be this woman’s way of attempting to prolong a conversation. Tell her you don’t know the answers to her intrusive questions, and if she really needs to know the information, she should ask the person herself. (Caution: Do NOT divulge their phone numbers.)

DEAR ABBY: I’m a shareholder in a small firm. The other shareholders do not like me. It’s not due to performance or personality issues. It’s because they are a cliquey bunch and I don’t live in their city. I will be retiring soon. The tradition is to have a retirement dinner complete with speeches. Any speeches from them would be phony. As for me, a speech about the positives of being with the firm would be very, very short. I would prefer not to have a retirement dinner. What should I do? — SHAREHOLDER IN THE SOUTH

DEAR SHAREHOLDER: Tell the other shareholders (nicely) that you know when a shareholder leaves the firm there’s traditionally a farewell dinner, but you’d prefer not to have one and simply plan to leave at the end of your final day of employment. Period.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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