DEAR ABBY: I am the oldest of three 20ish children. Our mother passed away many years ago. My sister is being married later this year, and I'm planning several parties for the happy couple. We are also entering into the planning stages of the wedding, but are encountering some difficulty with my father's wife. My problem is that she wants to be included in the planning of every party, as well as the wedding. It's not because we are particularly close to her -- it's to show her "socially elite" friends what a wonderful wedding SHE threw, even though she and my father refuse to pay for anything.
It has reached the point where we have been ordered to include her and her children. I'm tired of dodging the issue, and my siblings and I are tired not only of being nice and polite, but also of including her on things we are trying to plan for ourselves.
Please advise me about how to handle this. -- STEP-STRESSED IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR STEP-STRESSED: Don't dodge the issue -- face it. Since your father and his wife are paying for nothing, tell them in no uncertain terms that "he who pays the piper calls the tune." If your stepmother would like to take over one event, and pay for it, guarantee that you and your siblings will cooperate in every way and attend. And keep in mind that if you want to keep peace in the family in the future, your father, stepmother and step-siblings must be invited to the wedding and reception.
DEAR ABBY: I can't take it anymore. I am 9, and my sister (age 8) is constantly teasing me. Wherever I am, she's always in my face. I do not know what to do. My dad will not let me clobber her, so physical violence is out. Do you have any advice for me? I hope so. -- TEASED IN MENOMINEE, MICH.
DEAR TEASED: If you "clobber" your little sister, it will make her cry, but it won't solve the problem.
Teasing you is her way of trying to get and keep your attention. The more you try to ignore her, or get away from her, the harder she'll try to get you to notice her.
If you pay more attention to her, perhaps she'll be willing to give you more space when you want to do something on your own. Good luck!
DEAR ABBY: I have HAD it, and would like to express my thoughts on racism. Is there any person in the universe, from the beginning of time, who had anything to say at the moment of birth about whether they would be rich or poor, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, tall or short, boy or girl?
I am outraged at the arrogance of those who have decided that they are "better" than others who are different from themselves. If we are all created by a higher power, I would not choose to denigrate his creations. I wish I could tell each person who has ever been hurt by another person's ignorance how sorry I feel. -- MARY JANE, PORT ORCHARD, WASH.
DEAR MARY JANE: Your sentiments are noble. However, if you have done nothing wrong, it shouldn't be your responsibility to apologize.
When I read your letter, I was reminded of a wonderful quote attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "We all may have come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."
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