A mother wrote in to Dear Prudie on the subject of children at weddings. Here is the question and her response:
I am having some trouble with my son, "Charlie". This past spring, he got married. He and his bride decided to exclude my other son's children, two boys aged 6 and 9, from their wedding festivities. We are a close-knit family, and this was very disappointing to his nephews. I tried to convince him that his actions were hurtful, but he would not listen. Things were said in anger, and as a result, I and my family chose not to attend the wedding if everyone would not be invited.
Since then, he has cut off all communication with us, he won't take or return our calls, and he even "un-friended" his brother on Facebook. My grandchildren's birthdays came and went, and he didn't bother to send a card or even call them to wish them happy birthday.
Prudie, this is not how I raised my son to behave, and it's the kids who are suffering most from this family feud. My heart breaks for them. With the holidays approaching, they're sure to ask why Uncle Charlie hasn't come. They must feel as though he doesn't love them. How do I encourage him to make amends? I just want our family to be whole again.
Emily Yoffe: You say you didn't raise your son to escalate small disagreements into major breaches, but, Mom, you led the rest of the family into a boycott of your son's wedding ceremony! I'd say he's absorbed the upbringing you gave him very well. Your son and his wife didn't want children at the wedding. That is a perfectly reasonable decision to make, even if two of the children excluded were his nephews. It may have annoyed everyone, but what the people with children do is hire a babysitter, keep their complaints to themselves, and enjoy child-free afternoon.
You can try the politician's passive "mistakes were made" locution, but you and the others who didn't go made a whopper of a mistake. Own up. Write a sincere letter of apology saying you made bad decision of your life by not going to the wedding, and the estrangement is tearing everyone apart. Ask their forgiveness and invite the newlyweds out for a peace dinner. Your other son should send his own letter if he would like to repair relations. Do it now -- maybe this Thanksgiving you can all share a family meal.
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