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Thu, April 18

Dear Annie: A solution for a lack of gratitude

Dear Annie: Over the years, my son, his wife and our granddaughter have been the recipients of many gifts from my wife and me. Unfortunately, other than the holidays when we are in the same room with them as they receive gifts, we never receive any recognition that they have received the items or any thank-yous for the gifts.

These gifts are given because we are thinking of them. It is frustrating and so disappointing to us and lessens our desire to keep giving. I believe I should express these feelings with my son. My conclusion is that in raising my son, I must have neglected to properly convey proper etiquette and respectful actions to him. My wife believes we should just not say anything. How do we proceed? -- Sad in Wisconsin

Dear Sad: It’s wrong not to send a thank-you for a gift, plain and simple. If your son had written to me, that’s what I’d tell him. But because it’s you who’s written to me, I’ll outline your three apparent options: 1) Keep sending gifts, and make peace with the lack of thank-yous. 2) Continue sending gifts and resenting the lack of thank-yous. 3) Stop sending gifts.

It sounds as if the first option isn’t going to work for you. The second option would most likely lead to a buildup of resentment that would eventually create a wall between you and your son. So that leaves the third option. I don’t see anything wrong with stopping. If they haven’t been bothering to express gratitude for their gifts, then they ought not miss them much. And if your son asks you why the presents stopped, just be honest. Tell him you figured he and his family didn’t care much for them, as you never heard back from them about any.

Dear Annie: Thank you for your words of wisdom to “Not Sure in Norfolk” regarding the use of handicapped restrooms and train seats. Your last sentence should have been in bold print: “Not all disabilities are obvious.” You are 100 percent right. A lot of us do not want to draw attention to our disabilities by having to ask someone to yield the Americans with Disabilities Act seat to us on a commuter train.

I asked a 25ish young man to move so I could sit in an ADA seat and was met with “You’re not disabled. You’re just lazy.” Before I could respond, other riders came to my defense. I then rolled up my pant leg to show the brace I wear on both feet for my foot drop issue (nerve damage from an unsuccessful back surgery). The embarrassed young man got up and moved to a new train car.

I wish I could say this has been my only issue since becoming disabled, but I had several when using ADA parking spots when I first became disabled in my early 40s, before I was wearing the braces. I’d point to my ADA placard hanging from my mirror and then ask whether they’d like to see my Medicare card or my DMV paperwork. That would stop them in their tracks and usually result in an apology. -- Uncle Dino

Dear Dino: I hope that flush of shame was enough to burnish a sense of decency into these folks’ hearts. Thanks for taking the time to share your story.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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