Dear Ann Landers: Three or four times a year, my wife and I get together with my daughter, her friend and the friend's two teen-agers. It is too much work to prepare a dinner for six, so we take them to a nice restaurant. My daughter's friend and her children always order the most expensive items on the menu, sometimes, two beverages apiece, and invariably a rich dessert. They pick at everything but the dessert, and what is left over, they take home.
My daughter does not do this. She takes her cue from what we order, as she was taught to do when she is an invited guest. I am not cheap, nor am I hard up for money, but I don't want to be taken advantage of. My daughter's friend is an educated businesswoman, who I'm sure has an expense account and is old enough (42) to know better. She works with my daughter, so I don't want to embarrass her and create a problem. Any suggestions?
-- A Midwestern Dilemma
Dear Midwestern: If you don't want to be taken advantage of, take control. When you treat your daughter's friend and her teen-agers to dinner, order for the table -- giving the guests a choice (your choice) of two or three items. Also, ask what beverage (singular) they would prefer. By now, you know the young guests have not been taught manners, so you shouldn't be surprised when they behave like slobs.
One tough job
Dear Ann Landers: "Second Banana in Oklahoma" told you that for four years, she has been seeing a 39-year-old man who takes care of his mother. "Banana" felt slighted. You suggested Mama's apron strings might be too tight.
This man is not a mama's boy. He is making sacrifices to ensure that the woman who gave him life is properly cared for. I know this from experience, because I spent the past five years doing the same for my mother. She passed away in November. I will never do another job (and yes, it is a job) as stressful and demanding as caring for her was. Yet I don't regret a second I spent with my mother, because she needed me.
Taking care of an elderly person full time can be debilitating. Mental health counseling can be a godsend. There are times when you just don't believe you can make it through another day. And those days become more frequent and more draining as your loved one's health deteriorates.
Tell your readers if they know someone who is taking care of an aging or sick relative, to offer a hand, or an ear, or a hug -- and a word of appreciation and praise. It can mean more than you will ever know.
-- Beaver Falls, Pa.
Dear Beaver Falls: The only people who can understand what it is like to take care of an aging or ill relative are those who have been there and done that. Obviously you qualify. There are no medals for you heroic individuals, just the satisfaction of knowing you did the decent thing when the situation demanded it -- and that should be reward enough. You won't regret it. Trust me.
Problems? Dump on Ann. Write her at The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.