June 29, 2012 • Ask Amy/Chicago Tribune
Dear Amy: I have a 26-year-old daughter that my father has decided to disown because she forgot to thank him for his $25 Christmas check. My father knows all of this. My daughter graduated from law school last fall and is also into competitive boxing which takes a lot of time (my fault).
She crams 40 hours in a 24-hour day. Lots of things go undone in her life.
However, my father will not cut her any slack.
I love my daughter very much and we are very close.
When a gift is given, an official and timely "thank you" is required.
I'm on good terms with my father but don't know how to deal with his bullheadedness on this issue.
My sister and I take turns taking care of Dad (taking him to doctor's appointments, etc.).
If I abandon that duty, my sister will be overwhelmed. What to do?
— Loyal Daughter and Mom
Dear Loyal: Rather than cut off your relationship with your father, how about you suggest to your daughter that she needs to step up?
All of your excuses are running in the wrong direction.
You should say to your daughter, "Look, your grandfather is older. He might even be a little bullheaded. But for goodness sake, cut the guy a break and just say thank you! It is rude, tacky, ungracious and wrong not to thank someone for a gift. And it takes two minutes."
Your message to your father should be, "Dad, I'm embarrassed about this. I can't offer excuses. I wish she was different, but it seems like she's stubborn — like you!"
After that, both parties should be responsible for their relationship.
Sit down, Amy, you missed the boat. Mrs. Linklater thinks this whole sad episode went off the rails with Mom's first sentence:
"I have a 26-year-old daughter that my father has decided to disown because she forgot to thank him for his $25 Christmas check."
So this is all about a $25 Christmas check? Really. Twenty-five bucks, Grandpa? For what? Bus tokens? Extra tampons? Five gallons of gas? $25 ain't exactly Donald Trump money, considering you're going to "disown" your allegedly ungrateful granddaughter for not saying "Thank you" in a manner you deem appropriate for a man of your supposed stature. Seriously, $25 is not even one dollar for each year of her life. Mrs. Linklater's own frugal grandma managed to pony up that much for seven grandkids out of her tiny Social Security check.
Not that Mrs. L thinks one should ignore anybody's gift. But American grandchildren have been ignoring their grandparents for generations. It was a national pastime until Grandma and Grandpa got SKYPE and starting tracking down their thankless loved ones.
So, join the crowd.
But wait just a frickin' minute here, you chintzy old fart. Disowning your granddaughter implies that she could be one of your "heirs." And the last time Mrs. L looked, it's hard to qualify as an "heir" unless there's considerably more than $25 to inherit.
Which makes you one helluva stingy bastard in the Christmas check department.
And speaking of stingy, there's no mention of you sending your granddaughter ANYTHING for graduating from law school. Did you even call to congratulate her? Or take her out to dinner to celebrate?
If your $25 Christmas check is any indication, chances are you didn't donate a penny to offset her $100,000+ law school costs, which she probably paid for herself with scholarships, loans and endless jobs waiting tables. So your $25 may have left her in shock. Because it was such a thankless amount.
Perhaps it's time to cut her some slack instead of sitting there, steaming like the miserly pile of shinola that you are. Get over it, or get somebody else to drive you to your doctor's appointments.
Who knows? Maybe a note of thanks will arrive tomorrow. With your check inside. And a message from your granddaughter, "No thanks, Gramps. You need this more than I do."