Dear Savvy Auntie,

My niece's 4th birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks and my sister will be hosting a birthday party for her. Unfortunately, I accidentally booked tickets to a concert that same day. I'm hoping that the party will be scheduled earlier in the day and then I can attend both events but there is a chance that the concert and party might be scheduled at the same time. Would it be selfish of me to forgo my niece's birthday party for the concert?

My niece's favorite cousin will be at the party and usually when this happens, she is oblivious to us adults because she is engrossed in playing with cousin so I don't think she'd miss me. However, I feel that my sister's feelings might be hurt if I skip it. I've already paid for the concert ticket and have a friend counting on me to go to the show.

As a side note, I am the only single, childless sibling in the family and have in the past been diligent about clearing my schedule for whatever holiday, recital, birthday or family event has been scheduled by my siblings.This would be the first time I've opted out. I love my niece and my sister so much and don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but I also really want to go to this concert! What's an auntie to do?

Feeling Selfish

Dear Feeling Selfish,

I have observed over the past fifty years, both personally and professionally, that people who are selfish do not consider themselves selfish. People who are generous of heart are often concerned that they are being selfish... you fall into the second category. So, rest assured you are not being selfish by going to a prearranged concert with a friend instead of your niece’s birthday party.

I suggest you speak with your sister and see if she can time the party so you can attend both events, explaining the situation and how you would like to be at the party, yet have prior plans.
If she is not able or willing to accommodate you, plan a private party with your niece. It could be an outing, a performance, a special meal, or a visit. It goes without saying, that it should include a gift and a cupcake (maybe personalized). As a grandmother I have had a number of one on one celebrations and they are very special.
Kudos to you as the sole single sibling in your family for being so dedicated to your nieces and nephews, I know and someday they will appreciate how difficult this has been for you.
Best of Luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

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