Dear Abby: My mom and dad say they can travel, but the family can’t.

DEAR ABBY: I am a senior in high school and come from a family that is financially stable but often unable to travel due to time and money constraints. We usually only travel once a year in the summer and most of the time we can’t travel very far or stay long.

For the past three years our vacation plans have been put on hold due to the pandemic and other concerns. My parents have made two trips across the country in the last 12 months. I accept that they are a married couple and sometimes want to travel without the rest of their family. However, recently I learned that mum bought two tickets to Europe for her and dad as a birthday present. She used the money she had saved for a family vacation to pay for them.

I feel betrayed. I felt like we couldn’t afford a vacation at the time, or were still waiting for the chaos of the pandemic to set in before traveling, but my mom was happy to spend the money on vacation for her and dad.

My dad is turning 50, and I understand this is a very special occasion. However, I can’t help wondering why I didn’t get as much as dinner after being accepted to my best college and getting two scholarships. Am I overreacting? If not, how should I solve this problem? — DESIRE FOR A GETAWAY TO NEW YORK

DEAR WANT: I agree that having been accepted to your best university and awarded two scholarships, your achievement was something to celebrate. (In reality, the achievement was a reward in itself.) The fact that it was not recognized tells me that there must be a lot going on for your parents right now.

While family vacations are wonderful and memorable, so are milestone birthdays like your dad’s coming up. Your mom should be forgiven for making sure it’s going to be “extra special.” If you have a desire to travel, if you don’t already have one, consider getting a part-time job so you can afford a getaway with friends, a student, or a church group. Since you are no longer a child, you should talk to your mother about how you are feeling.

DEAR ABBY: My adult son got so mad at me that he called me, yelled vicious things, and threatened to cut me out of his life. I’ve never been spoken to this way before. It was so traumatic that I was shaking after hanging up on me.

What made him so angry was that I didn’t thank his mother-in-law for an email she sent me wishing me a happy birthday. I had received 30 birthday wishes by email that day and did not recognize any of them. I would have thanked anyone who had bothered to call or send a real card. I don’t think I did anything wrong, but maybe there’s a rule I’ve missed. Your thoughts? — UNHAPPY BIRTHDAY IN TEXAS

DEAR UNHAPPY: The polite way to handle special occasion wishes over email is to either acknowledge them individually or to do an email “blast” thanking everyone for remembering you. Being silent was not graceful. HOWEVER, your son jumping out at the deep end, yelling “nasty things” and threatening to shut you out of his life was unwarranted, and whether you got one or not, you deserve an apology.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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