Dear Annie: Your recent letter from, “Grieving My Childhood,” reminded me of a very old German song, written by a renowned clergyman, that begins with the line, “Der Mond ist aufgegangen.”
It later says, roughly translated: “Do you see the moon over there? You can only see half of it, yet it is round and beautiful. So are many things at which we laugh or which we belittle because our eyes cannot see them.” How true.
Thank you for your insightful and helpful responses, from which we all can learn things.
— Half Moon
Dear Half Moon: I love your letter. Thank you for sharing a great saying!
Dear Annie: My daughter has a friend from college, and for some reason this friend’s parents decided they wanted to interact with us socially. We went out with them a few times, and I found the wife to be especially annoying. All she did the whole night was talk to me about her “best friends” and all the things she does with her many “girlfriends.”
She never really interacts with me on a personal level. Now it is getting worse, with them wanting to stop over at our house after a dinner out. They stay till all hours and won’t leave until we have made plans with them for another night out.
I am starting to feel trapped. How do I get out of this situation?
— Trapped in Connecticut
Dear Trapped: It’s time to give these clueless friends some clues. The best way to stop this intrusion is to set boundaries. If they say they want to stop over late at night after a dinner out together, simply say that they cannot because you are heading straight to bed as soon as you get home.
As far as her talking about all her other girlfriends, that sounds like insecurity, and that type of childish one-upmanship, or making others feel excluded, is very toxic. You are wise to keep your distance from her.
The fact that your daughter is friends with their daughter does not mean that you have to be best friends with them.
However, it is nice to be cordial, and the best way to do that with this couple is to be kind but direct.
Dear Annie: I inherited my stepdad’s ring. I cared for him in my home for the last four months of his life. He wanted me to have it because he said I had loved to try it on and look at it as a little girl. It was in his will for me.
When he died, I did get it, but my mother told me I needed to give it to my stepdad’s grandson, whom he rarely saw.
I told her it was his wish for me to have it, so I will keep it. She was so mad. That was her issue, not mine.
I do wear it every so often and fondly think of him, knowing that he is smiling that I treasure his ring.
— Stepdad’s Ring
Dear Stepdad’s Ring: You’re a brave woman to stand up for what you want. I’m not really sure why your mother said that the ring should go to her grandson, but I admire you for keeping the ring and treasuring it.
It is hard enough when we lose the ones we love, but if a small memento brings you joy, don’t let anyone take that away from you.
Annie Lane, a graduate of New York Law School and New York University, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.