Ask Amy — Invite gay couple and hope grandma won’t make a scene
By Amy Dickinson
Tribune Media Services
DEAR AMY: In three months, my wife and I will celebrate our daughter’s first birthday.
Two of our friends are getting ready to adopt their first child soon, and we couldn’t be more thrilled for them, but I am hesitant about having my immediate family attend our daughter’s party with this couple.
My mother is a very conservative Catholic, and our friends are gay men. To put it simply, I’m afraid my mother will embarrass us by making a scene at what is supposed to be a joyous occasion for our baby and us. Mom knows we associate with people whom she disapproves of, but I have never told her that we are friends with a gay couple who are adopting a child.
My mother helps us out by baby-sitting during the week (a huge savings for us).
I’m afraid her outrage at having her granddaughter exposed to what she would consider an abnormal lifestyle would be detrimental to the relationships.
Should we have two separate gatherings (one for our conservative families and one for our more open-minded friends), exclude our friends or family, or allow everyone to come and turn my daughter’s birthday into a political statement? — Birthday Dad
DEAR DAD: You should let your mother know you are inviting your friends who are gay and adopting a child. Say: "You are important to me, but so are these friends. I think you disapprove of this, Mom, but I know I can trust you to be cordial and kind to our friends, right?"
A child’s birthday party is not the place to make a scene or hash out the social issues of the day. You should assume that everyone will train their priorities like a laser right where they belong — onto the birthday girl.
If your mother can’t handle the fact that you and she disagree about gay peoples right to form families together, then you should know this now. However, you should plunge into this episode hoping that everyone will be able to coexist.
DEAR AMY: I couldn’t help but laugh at "Hearing Mediocre Music," the woman who was swooning over a musician but not his music.
In my opinion Steve Miller is one of the worst songwriters in rock ‘n’ roll history. And Steve Miller makes the most memorable, danceable, good-time records in rock ‘n’ roll history. Go figure.
I have a solution for Mediocre. She should make an arrangement of the boyfriend’s song she hates the least.
Invite friends over to sing backgrounds, play instruments and bang coconuts on floors for percussion effects. Record it as a couple/community project. Record the song in the version he would like too.
It will settle the issue of whether this couple is poorly matched because you have to trust someone to let her touch and modify your art.
My friend Bumps Blackwell once said to an artist, "I don’t think a line ending with the rhyme ‘good booty’ is going to sell well." They replaced it with "au rutti." And "Tutti Frutti" was a hit for Little Richard.
I was Bumps’ engineer for the last years of his life. Little Richard always listened to Daddy Bumps. ’Cause Bumps was always right. — John
DEAR JOHN: You are so right. Different strokes for different folks. (I appreciate your not dissing Steve Miller too much because now I’ve got "Space Cowboy" running through my head.)
There are a variety of stories concerning the original lyrics to "Tutti Frutti," and though "good booty" wouldn’t raise an eyebrow these days, I can’t imagine "Tutti Frutti" any other way than it is.
DEAR AMY: I am responding to the letter from "Choosing to Respond," who talked about how kids can’t "choose" their feelings.
I have four small children, so you can imagine the number of "feelings" going on in my house. I talk to my kids about choices, but I don’t ask them to choose their feelings, as I feel this is nearly (if not completely) impossible.
If my children are angry or sad or mad, I tell them that they are allowed to feel that way but need to choose better actions. We need to find better channels for our (and our children’s) feelings. "I’m mad" is not an excuse for poor behavior. Choose your reaction. — Chooser
DEAR CHOOSER: Exactly. We choose our behavior — not our feelings.
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