I want to be able to enjoy a wonderful and relaxing trip with them, as I am concerned about the amount of time I have left to spend with them.
I want to create happy memories with them, my parents and children together. My grandmothers get along very well and often spend time together. Both are widowed, but one of them remarried about a year ago.
Amy, this man is rude and pretentious and makes everyone feel uncomfortable. We all keep our feelings to ourselves and are respectful when we’ve been around him, but my parents and my other grandmother are not fans of this man.
I’m worried that spending a whole weekend with him is too much for everyone. His presence would probably turn this relaxing time with my family into a weekend of lectures, narcissistic antics, and drama from him.
Is it selfish of me to only want to spend this precious time with those who bring happiness? Would it be wrong of me to invite only my grandmother and not her condescending new spouse?
How can I extend this exclusive invitation? Or is there a polite and discreet way to ask him not to make this trip unpleasant?
Happy: Your grandmother chose to marry, and when she did, the man she married came into your family. For better and, apparently, for worse: He is there.
It’s not selfish of you to want “just happiness,” but no family can be guaranteed only happy experiences or happy memories. Each family must face the challenges that their reality presents.
I suggest you issue this invitation to everyone, and then do your best to handle this disruptive new member of the family during your weekend together.
If you establish a basic disposition for dealing with him (“Excuse me, ‘Steve,’ but I’d love to know what Grandma thinks…”), you may have a better time.
dear Amy: Our daughter’s overseas wedding was first scheduled two summers ago. Family on both sides (mostly) don’t live there, so with the borders closed, the ceremony was postponed twice.
Now the wedding is underway, for this month of July. Now we’re seeing a number of guests who RSVPed the first two times now saying they can’t attend. We will miss seeing them.
So here’s the question: Since we already have the lovely venue paid for for a specific number of guests, is it in bad taste to invite those who were originally “not on the first guest list” to join us now?
If it’s not in bad taste, how could we even express that?
— I wonder about the wedding
Wonder: When it comes to “tacky,” I take a stance that’s probably more Dolly Parton than Emily Post.
I say, be authentic, be polite, and if you get cornered, be honest!
Issue your invitations. You could call this event: Third time’s the charm.
I don’t think it’s necessary to make any reference to previous plans when you invite people.
If prospective guests ask, “Hey, I thought you didn’t have room for me…!” say, “The pandemic really messed up our plans and some close family members can’t travel abroad this summer, so if you can join us on relatively short notice, we’d love to!”
dear Amy: “worried sister” was trying to goad his elderly sister into making some plans for her future.
Thank you for highlighting the need for families to discuss end-of-life issues with each other.
My mother descended into the ravages of insanity before we had even discussed these things. In the years I spent caring for her, I often wished I knew what her wishes were. She would have made everything so much easier for me and other family members who were trying to give her the best care.
We were very dark, and I still regret that difficult period.
regrets: The situation you describe is what journalist Ellen Goodman was struggling with through the illness and death of her own mother, which inspired her to start The Conversation Project, which provides helpful prompts for families to talk.
©2022 by Amy Dickinson Distributed by Tribune Content Agency