While I’m away, readers give the advice.
On postponing a proposal until you have just the right ring: We will celebrate our 35th anniversary next month, and still have the gold bands I financed with my tax refund way back in ’80. The three C’s never entered the equation other than commitment, contentment and certainty.
On parents who stop traveling to see you, without explanation: Here’s a secret for you young whippersnappers. We old guys don’t like to worry our children with all the details about getting old, and besides, it is embarrassing. Travel becomes more difficult as the years go by, and certain specific problems require a lot of logistical considerations … like easy and frequent use of bathroom facilities. Things like diet, naps, etc. become limits to travel/visits. Sad but true.
On adults who aren’t sure how to talk to children: Treat the kids as people! Always remember the words of Horton the Elephant: “A person’s a person, no matter how small!”
If someone wants to learn what to do or say around kids, spend some TIME with them! Take them to the zoo (with Mom or uncle if you don’t want to go by yourself). Take them to a museum, a hands-on museum. Buy a book and if they’re young enough, sit down and read it to/with them. Take them to a movie. Go to a family restaurant and have a meal. Have them over for pizza and the latest animated musical DVD. Play Clue or Trouble or Chutes & Ladders or chess with them.
How do you get along with people at a cocktail party or business function? You engage them in conversation. You ask them questions about themselves. You tell them about yourself.
They’re people. Not aliens or savages.
And lastly, ask yourself — at what point do these kids no longer require different treatment? When do they cross a line that makes you comfortable talking to or doing things with them? You should soon realize there is no such line of demarcation.
On discomfort with people who use Facebook to deal with a death: When my mom passed in July, I posted the news — and the info regarding the wake — on her Facebook wall. I did not know all of her friends and former co-workers’ contact info, and this was the best way to share the info.
The number of folks who came to remember Mom was astounding. I definitely underestimated the turnout. People called people who called people. Folks who knew her 20-plus years ago showed up. It was fantastic and a wonderful celebration of her life.
Anyway, my point is that you may not want to delete that social media account immediately after things happen. It turns into a place for folks to post memories and condolences, and it provides that place for folks who cannot attend any memorial services to be involved.
The price paid is that I didn’t receive many cards and no one sent flowers, but being able to look back on her wall and see what people wrote is actually more touching for me. And it’s not just for me, but for all those who knew and loved her.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at washingtonpost.com.