Dear Amy: I am the only "not-morning" person in my family. Talking in the morning — or any noise, smell or stimulation, for that matter — is like nails on a chalkboard; it elicits an involuntary reaction of cringe and a desire to retreat.
My mother takes this really personally. First thing in the morning, she wants to tell me things — or worse, ask me things. At best, I can muster a "Good morning" and a grunt, but I don't think she's ever understood just how much restraint is required for anything other than a snarl.
She's repeatedly accused me of being rude or mad at her. It's not her — I just don't want to talk in the morning, at all, to anybody. I have been explaining this for years, and to be honest, I actually feel she's the one being rude for not respecting this simple boundary.
It starts both our days off wrong, to the extent that I just stay in my room until she's out of the house. (Fortunately, we don't have to commute at the same time.) It slightly disrupts my day to get a late start, but logistically it's manageable.
Emotionally, however, this is creating resentment. I feel unheard and disrespected. I don't know what to do anymore! What do you recommend?
Amy says: In researching your question, it seems that there are a variety of reasons for why you might feel this way every morning (including the quality of your sleep), but until you are able to sort this out and perhaps feel differently, I agree with your strategy that you avoid your mother (and others) entirely during the morning hours.
After rising and using the bathroom, you might retreat to your room for some quiet time. You should have something available to drink and a protein bar or similar snack on hand in your room (if you're a coffee or tea drinker, you can have a single-serve beverage maker in your room).
Take the time you need, focus on quietly and slowly waking up, try some brief meditation exercises to settle your mind and your mood, and take advantage of your schedule differences in order to avoid these interactions.
I agree that this is a simple boundary for others to recognize and respect. It would seem that your mother also would want to avoid unpleasant interactions in the morning, but she might be trying to change you or somehow "jolly" you out of a morning phase that you can't successfully control.
What's fair estate planning?
Dear Amy: I'm in a quandary about what to do about a daughter I gave up for adoption many years ago. We recently found each other online and are very happy that we've reunited.
My husband and I have three other adult children. The daughter I recently found is extremely successful professionally and financially, much more so than our other kids.
Should we divide our estate equally among all the kids?
Amy says: How you divide your estate is entirely up to you. Presumably your newly discovered biological daughter has parents who raised her well, who love her and who will perhaps provide for her in their wills.
You and your husband have raised three children to adulthood. You are their only parents. Your daughter's adoptive parents' estate planning will reflect their lifelong relationship with their child, and yours should reflect your lifelong histories with the children you've raised.
Discuss this and any other estate-planning questions with a lawyer, who can review the legal options and consequences of your choice.
Send questions to Amy Dickinson at email@example.com.