DEAR ABBY: About four years ago, my dad bought my mother a beautiful set of diamond rings to upgrade the set he had given her many years ago when they first married. My mother gave her smaller rings to my brother, who then proposed to his girlfriend and later married her. I thought it was very nice of my mother, and I was happy for my brother.
Last month, my father died. While my brother and I were staying at her house, my mother gave my brother her new set of diamond rings and told him to give them to his wife.
My brother and I have often joked about how he is her favorite child. (For instance, one year my folks gave him a camcorder and I got a dozen pairs of stockings.) There is nothing in our history that would warrant this favoritism. We both were always responsible, hard-working children and adults.
I am extremely hurt and do not know how to get past the pain. Have you any suggestions? –- DESPERATELY NEEDS ADVICE, NEW ORLEANS
DEAR NEEDS ADVICE: Yes. Tell your mother exactly how you feel and why. Allowing this to fester will only make it worse. It does appear that your brother is the favored child -– and it is not a joking matter. The answer you receive may not be to your liking, but it's better than not knowing. In fact, the truth may set you free.
P.S. Under the circumstances, I commend you for having such a good relationship with your brother.
They have already made arrangements to have a big wedding one year from the date of their marriage. I am unsure if I should send a wedding gift now (which would be a check), or wait until the "big" wedding. I would like to do something. What would you suggest?
We sent the couple an engagement gift as soon as we heard the news. I'd really appreciate your input, Abby. –- UNSURE IN ILLINOIS
DEAR UNSURE: Since you have already given the young couple an engagement gift and you are not attending the "small" wedding, wait until you are invited to the "big" celebration before giving them anything more than your heartfelt good wishes.
P.S. Offering to host a baby shower would be a caring and supportive gesture.
DEAR ABBY: You said you thought it wouldn't be easy to top the story about the 50th anniversary reception collection basket. Allow me to try:
We were invited to a couple's home for a party to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. When we arrived, there was a prominently displayed money tree. Of course, all the guests ended up covering the branches with "leaves" of money. Several days later, we learned that the happy couple had been in the midst of getting a divorce before the party, but needed extra cash, so they decided "why not?"!
We certainly hope the divorce was a friendly one, because I don't think they have any other friends left after that scam. -– DUMBFOUNDED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR DUMBFOUNDED: Your letter is a first. Surely no one can top this one.
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