By Alma Gill

NNPA Columnist

I Snapped at my Mother-in-Law

Dear Alma,

We were at my niece’s 5th birthday party. I’m pregnant, and it has not been easy. My MIL [mother-in-law] arrived and started greeting everybody. Then she asks how “baby Orlando” is doing. I didn’t answer her because we have not picked out a name for our baby. She started calling my unborn son by her father’s name about a month ago. This time, I had decided enough was enough. I snapped and told her that wasn’t his name and we would let her know when we had one. Then I left the room before I said something I would really regret. I know that the tone of voice I used was not the best, but I still can’t get over what happened next. My MIL left. She didn’t say goodbye to anyone; she just got in her car and left. She made me feel guilty for the rest of the party. Was there something I could have done better, or should I just chalk the whole situation up to my MIL’s a control freak?

Sherry, Olney, Md.

Hi Sherry,

Ahhh, maybe something else happened that you failed to mention, because from what I’ve read, Miss Do Right – you did wrong.  Ok, so your MIL has pre-named her grand baby. So what? It’s just a nickname and all in fun, I’m sure. Why are you so mad about that? You and your husband will have the final say. We’ve got hungry children in Africa, and this has you all tied in a knot. TBT, you delivered a stinger Mz. Mommie to Bee! You insulted your MIL at the party in front of everybody, and for no good reason.  She didn’t make you feel guilty; that was your conscience trying to have a conversation with you, but you weren’t listening.  Call your MIL and apologize –now. Let her know your hormones have been all over the place lately. Ask her over for tea, out to lunch, shopping or whatever.  Fix this before baby boy is born. There’s too much joy ahead for you and your family to let this foolishness block your blessings.


Financing a Friend’s Cruise

Dear Alma,

A coworker and I planned a cruise vacation. We had become really good friends over the past year. We agreed that I would put the cruise on my credit card and she would pay me back biweekly. She was recently in a horrible car accident that left her with head and back injuries. She will probably never walk again. Since she had her accident, I’m not getting my money. She still owes me $1,000. I don’t think her family knows about our financial arrangement. We’re both single, no kids. How do I ask her mom to pay me back my money? I’m in my 20s and I need my money to pay back my student loans.

MLP, Chicago

Dear MLP,

Are you kidding me?  You should thank God it wasn’t you and let it go.  Because of her accident, your friend may never pay you back, and that’s ok. She has gone through a horrible experience, and she now needs your patience and understanding. It’s not like she went to a casino and gambled your money away. Take ah half ah minute, not a whole one, just ah half, and think about her. That’s hard, I’m sure, since you are used to thinking only of yourself. Keep on living; life lessons will redirect you. Instead of looking for dollars, express compassion, sympathy and kindness toward your friend. Within a year, you’ll undoubtedly spend that much money on your hair, nails and high-heeled shoes…that hurt your feet. Ok, let’s not go there.  If the cruise date hasn’t passed, ask someone else to travel with you. Knock $100 off the asking price and call it a day.  Stay in touch with your friend. Sit with her, read to her and listen to her favorite music. The more you pour into her, blessings will be returned to you…in good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. Allow your friends debt to be erased. Consider it paid in full.  In this teachable life lesson, you have a choice. I hope you’ll choose to let it go and grow.


Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to:  Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and twitter @almaaskalma.