Dear Annie: When my birthday was coming up, I told my wife about a piece of technology I really wanted and asked her to buy it for me. It cost $300. She said it was too expensive and didn’t get me anything except a card.
In the past three weeks, she has purchased three birthday gifts for friends, each costing roughly $100. She put in a ton of effort to find exactly the right gift.
Am I justified in feeling hurt by this snub? Should I talk to her about it, or am I being petty? — Ignored
Dear Ignored: We certainly can understand why you would be miffed that your wife has no problem spending $300 on friends and nothing on you. But some people don’t like being told what to buy, because it takes all the joy out of the occasion. Or perhaps your wife disapproved of the piece of technology you wanted. Or maybe she thinks you could get these things for yourself, especially if the money comes from the same account. We suspect your real issue is that your wife seems to value her friends more than her husband. This certainly merits a discussion. Please talk to your wife. Tell her you are hurt and ask whether more is going on than meets the eye.
Dear Annie: It’s graduation time again. A while back, a teacher asked you about graduation gifts for students. You said, “Many graduates deeply appreciate a personal letter from a teacher expressing positive thoughts about the student.”
Teachers, please don’t underestimate that final statement. For those who feel obligated to give something more tangible, an inexpensive gift representing your relationship with the student along with a personal note would also be treasured.
I know. I received such a gift 30 years ago – a piece of music that our band performed. And while I appreciated the monetary gifts from my relatives, that small gift is the one that still touches me the most deeply.
I’m a parent now. I know that teachers don’t make a great deal of money, but still get invited to a lot of graduation parties. We’d rather have the teacher at the party to give our kids a final word of encouragement than have them stay away for lack of a present.
To my fellow parents: Graduation is such a busy time, but I ask that when inviting a teacher, coach, church youth leader or any other adult who may have had a positive effect on your children’s lives, please include a personal note in the invitation. Here’s mine: “Having you as a music teacher has meant so much to ‘Sally’ that we would be honored if you could join us in celebrating her graduation. You already have given her the priceless gift of a passion for music, so please don’t feel obligated to bring anything else. Your presence at her party would be the greatest gift you could give her.” — Maryland Parent
Dear Maryland: Thank you for reminding teachers, parents and students that personal notes of appreciation, whether accompanied by gifts or not, are cherished for years to come. Now is the time to get started.
Dear Annie: My eyes teared up reading the letter from “Lucky and Appreciative Married Man” and the kind things he said about his wife.
I am 30 years old and have been married for three years. I can only hope that one day my husband, whom I love dearly, is as grateful for me as I am for him. Until then, I will continue to cook dinner, wash our clothes, shovel the snow, mow the lawn, pay the bills and beg for his attention. What I wouldn’t give for a little appreciation. — Lonely in Love
Dear Lonely: Please don’t wait passively. If you want things to change, talk to your husband about this now.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.