20-40-60 Etiquette---Hurt feelings all around!
YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE!
QUESTION: Nine years ago we lost our 5 month old to SIDS and every year on his birthday we take our 3 children to the cemetery to let balloons go in his honor and then we go out to dinner with my husband’s family to be together.
This ritual has included my mother and father- in- law every year and sometimes my husband’s sister has joined us. The last couple of years my husband’s sister has joined us with her new husband and child who’s now 2. We have always asked my husband’s parents to join us but his mother is the one that usually invites my sister- in -law.
Although this a special celebration for our family, sometimes my husband and I feel like we just want his parents to come and not his sister and her family.
Last week my mother- in- law asked me what night we wanted to get together so she could let the sister know. I told her this year we would just like it if they (my husband’s parents) joined us. Now it’s turned into a big deal because my mother- in- law says we are excluding my sister- in -law and she doesn’t want her feelings to be hurt and she would rather not join us if the sister isn’t invited.
My husband and I just want to focus the night on celebrating our son and when my husband’s sister’s family joins us it seems the focus is forgotten.
What should we do? Our tradition has always included my in-laws and we want just them to come…. It really makes us sad that this night is about our family and it seems that my mother –in- law is choosing the sister’s feelings over her son’s feelings. Please help…..hurt..
CALLIE’S ANSWER: I have no idea. I can see both sides. I know that it is supposed to be about celebrating your son, but maybe it would be best to start a new tradition. A dinner with you and your husband, then another dinner with the rest of the family on a different night.
Another idea is ask the sister if she could leave her child with a babysitter, maybe phrase it ‘just adults.’
This is a tough situation… lots of feelings that need to be taken into account.
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: First of all, I am so sorry for your loss nine years ago. What a special way to remember your son and to involve your other children in the memory. I’m also sorry that your celebration of his life is turning into more grief — the stress of trying to accommodate all your family members.
First of all, how does your husband truly feel about this? Does he mind his sister and family tagging along, including their toddler? He might be able to help diffuse this situation by talking to his mother. Perhaps your mother-in-law wants to make sure her other grandchild grows up feeling like a part of the family and knowing about the son you lost. Have you asked her why she has insisted only recently in including her other daughter? That might give you a clue how to proceed.
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