Posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My oldest child is 27 and engaged. He and his fiancée, “Kayla,” ordered the wedding rings together.
Last May, my son texted, saying, “We are going to pick up the ring on Thursday.” That Sunday we celebrated Mother’s Day at my daughter’s home. While cooking, I asked Kayla if I could see the ring. She did not respond. Instead, she left the kitchen and sat in the living room. My son told me, “You ruined the surprise.” I was astonished. He said Kayla didn’t know he had picked up the rings. Apparently, when he texted “we,” he meant his sister.
Kayla wouldn’t speak to me the rest of the morning, and my son disinvited me to an evening barbecue because I had “made Kayla cry.” Two weeks later, he called to say I owed Kayla an apology. I disagreed and said if anything, she owes me one for treating me so rudely. I’ve barely seen him since.
My father passed away in September, and all the kids came over. I went to greet them, but Kayla walked away to avoid me. She expressed condolences to my sister, but not to me. Obviously, I feel this girl is immature, disrespectful and extremely selfish, and my son is allowing her to treat me this way. Should I tell them how hurtful their behavior is? — P.
Dear P.: Your son has terrible communication skills and blames you when he messes up. Kayla sounds too infantile to be married. And instead of approaching this oversensitive child to smooth things over, you demand an apology. We think there are plenty of apologies to go around. The question is whether you want to get along with your future daughter-in-law or be estranged.
Neither Kayla nor your son has the maturity to handle this situation, so you will have to be the grownup. Talk to Kayla, preferably in person, and apologize for upsetting her. Don’t judge or blame. Simply tell her sincerely that you want to have a good relationship and hope you can start over. We hope she has the sense to agree.
Dear Annie: My sister is in her early 30s and is getting married for the first time. Due to budget constraints, they are having a small wedding and reception. Only the immediate family will be there.
As the matron-of-honor, I would like to give her a proper shower. However, I am uneasy that many of my sister’s friends and acquaintances are not invited to the wedding. Is it proper to ask them to attend a shower? — Ohio Sister
Dear Ohio: It is inappropriate to invite people to the shower if they are not invited to the wedding. However, if the wedding is only immediate family, it is OK to invite a few close friends to a shower, provided you inform them in advance that the wedding itself is family only. Of course, the best solution is for the bridal couple to have an inexpensive, informal party a few weeks later so that those not invited to the actual wedding still can feel included in the celebration.
Dear Annie: Your response was right on to “Beleaguered Mom,” who expected the grandparents to babysit. When my children were young, I lived 500 miles from my parents, who would have been glad to take the kids. Instead, I lived near my mother-in-law, who would not. So we found babysitters. And that is as it should be.
Now, as a grandmother myself, I love to do what I can for my grandchildren, and I spend time with them, but I do it on my terms. I have a full life separate from the kids. If I am not available to watch them, it is the parents’ responsibility to get a sitter. — Omaha Grandma
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column.
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Published in The Messenger 11.23.11