Life Advice



Ask Amy: ‘Mama bear’ might want to hibernate

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: A few years ago, my in-laws sent my (then) young-adult daughter a birthday card. Normally this would have included a monetary gift or gift card. However, when she opened it there was simply a note stating that there would be no gift, as they did not agree with what she was hoping to spend some of her birthday money on (a tattoo).

The words were hurtful and made my daughter cry, which woke up the mama bear in me.

I told my husband that he needed to talk to his parents and have them apologize. He didn't get what the big deal was.

I didn't care about a gift, but their note was hurtful, and I felt my daughter deserved an apology from people who should love her, no matter their personal beliefs.

He thought I should call them, as I was more upset about it than he was. I told him I would not be able to control my temper.

He never said anything to them, although I have asked him to on numerous occasions.


Although I know my in-laws love us, they are much more distant — emotionally and physically — than the rest of our family.

My daughter is now planning her wedding. Due to ongoing health concerns, I am not certain they will attend, but I want us all to be prepared.

Should I press my husband to tell them the ways they have hurt our daughter? Should I? Or should I just do my best to stuff my feelings under the rug and try to forget them?

Our daughter has not forgotten, as it is a running joke anytime she gets a card from someone.


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