Ask Gabby Gayle
Why are kids’ birthday parties so lavish?
Dear Gabby Gayle: Last month, I went to my 5-year-old granddaughter’s birthday party. There were 30 kids and 15 adults in attendance, with one of those blow-up castles that kids jump around in, a face painter and a guy with a pony that gave rides to the kids. The kids had a blast. I know it must have cost a pretty penny, but that’s not what bothers me. Here’s the thing: If a child has this for her fifth birthday, what in the world are they going to expect for their sweet 16 or graduation? Why are these parties getting so lavish? What is wrong with us as a society that we feel compelled to do more, more and more? Signed, BW
Dear BW: It appears that parents always want to do more for their children than what was done for them when they were kids. I did it. You probably did, too. When will it all end? I guess when they have exhausted their funds! Sometimes these lavish parties are more for the parents to feel like they have done something important for their child, which is probably a fallacy because I happen to think that nothing is more important to do for your child than listening to them and spending time with them. GG
Dear Gabby Gayle: My dad is impossible! He is in assisted living and it is really nice, but he finds stupid things to complain about. He needed to be there because he was falling, not eating properly and would forget (or refuse) to take his medicine. He resents the fact that his son and I have taken over his finances, and that he doesn’t know what is going on. It is getting harder to visit him and listen to his criticisms. Any advice would be appreciated. W.R.
Dear W.R.: Since I am old, too, maybe I can help you understand him. He has evidently lost his wife, home, health, independence and ability to manage his affairs. All he has left is complaining and being critical of everything and everyone, especially those who he sees as trying to control him. Give him back some control if you can. Give him a financial report each month. If he doesn’t want to take his meds, he has that right. Let him know that you are not going to scold him. If he falls, he has that right, too. I am a spunky person, and I envision myself being in his position someday. I will be a mean old cuss if my kids begin to act like they are my parents and I am their child. After all, I changed their diapers! Good luck. GG
Dear Gabby Gayle: I am a high school senior and I read your column to my grandma each month. She really enjoys it. Grandma keeps up on everything and is very broad-minded. My problem is my mother. I wish I could get along with her as well as I do my grandma. I can tell Grandma anything, and I do. I can’t talk to Mom. It always ends up in an argument. Why is that? Help! JW
Dear JW: It has been said that there is no gap between grandparents and grandchildren, and sometimes this is true. Your grandma is not responsible for seeing you grow up to be a responsible and successful person. She is there to love you and listen to you. Your mother’s job is to guide and protect you. When she sees you heading in the wrong direction, it is her responsibility to explain that to you and to help you correct it. Someday, when you have children of your own, you will begin to understand that. Meanwhile, try to realize what a big job it is to raise a child, and keep that close relationship with Grandma! Best wishes. GG