Wise answers to perplexing questions.
The Answer Lady invites inquiries from gentle readers on all manners of relationship quandaries, matters of the heart, and ethics. If you’d like to send a query, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Answer Lady
I live in Cape May, my sister lives in Philly. Occasionally we get together for a girls’ weekend, just the two of us. Sometimes it’s New York, sometimes we’ll do a Phillies game, or sometimes she’ll come to Cape May. We’ve been keeping these weekends on the down-low for the past couple of years, because if we mention them to our parents or other siblings, they immediately invite themselves. We’re not an especially close family, and my sister and I really enjoy our time alone together. How can we protect it without feeling guilty? – Sneaky Sister
Ah, “guilt” and “family” – they go together like peanut butter and jelly, do they not? They say that we can pick our friends, but not our family (and then it kind of devolves into something about picking noses, but the Answer Lady digresses). Family-wise, we’re stuck with whatever we get. So if we happen to have a family member who is also a friend, it’s a blessing, not something to feel guilty about. The Answer Lady is assuming that you and your sister are not using this time together to post junior-high-school-era pictures of your family members on awkwardfamilyphotos.com. Quality time with the rest of your family is still a priority, and don’t rub their noses in your time together – if you do not make a big production of your weekends with your sister, eventually no one else will, either. We’re all entitled to a girls’ weekend occasionally (those of us who are girls, anyway), so enjoy it and don’t let anyone guilt you into anything. PS: If you’re looking for a great girls’ weekend, check out the Women’s Mind, Body, Soul Sweet Escape, November 5-7, at www.congresshall.com.
Dear Answer Lady
I am married with three kids, and my sister is a child-free newlywed. She recently adopted a dog and named it after my eldest! I don’t know whether to be flattered or insulted. – Sibling Silliness
The Answer Lady thinks that’s what you get for naming your daughter Spot. She jests, of course. Assuming that you have a decent relationship with your sister, and, more importantly, that your daughter isn’t upset about this, I wouldn’t make an issue of it. Or, you could adopt a dog and name it after her husband – that’ll fix her.