Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “To Bris or Not to Bris” Responds

updatesIt’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “To Bris or Not to Bris” who were asked by their son’s in-laws to split the expense of their new grand baby’s bris. They were dumbfounded. “Now the parents, ex-parents, new spouses, and whoever have moved forward and sent out invitations that listed them as the hosts of the event and no mention of my wife and me. Further, they did not send out an invitation to us. I can only assume it is because we did not indicate that we would pick up the cost. So we can only assume we were not invited.” Keep reading to see whether LW and his wife went to the bris:

So one day before the event we got a call from our son to “make sure we would be there.” I guess better late than never. We took the high road, and we attended. As parents it seems we make excuses for our children, but it is a continual learning experience (a lot of OJT) for them and we hope we set an example for them.

The event was lovely; however, it was quite obvious that for some reason we were outsiders. Our son and DIL didn’t introduce us or include us in the conversations. Fortunately, my wife of 48 years and I now know how to hold on to each other no matter what. We got through it with smiles but didn’t stay long. So all in all, I guess it’s just another event in one’s life.

Now, on another matter, that you will have a hard time believing, our DIL went through a psychotic episode and had to be hospitalized (no history to predict this). And, who do you think got called? My wife, of course. Our son — a 40-year-old man with a newborn infant and no family but us — was in a state of panic. So my wife packed a bag in minutes and has stayed there for several weeks now. The baby is doing fine, and I have a very tired wife to take care of, both of whom are fine with me. Interestingly, the DIL’s parents are nowhere to be seen.

The hospital was about to start aggressive treatments on our DIL and fortunately we got a referral and got her out of there with a very experienced psychiatrist in these matters. She is doing much better with a good prognosis and is home now, but both baby and new mom need care, and we have dropped everything and jumped in.

Thank you for your kind thoughts and time to correspond. Someone to talk to was comforting.

 
How fortunate that your son and his family have you and your wife looking out for them! I hope this recent situation brings you all closer. Your DIL’s parents sound difficult, and perhaps that lends you some perspective when you consider past behavior toward you and helps you extend compassion to her. I wish all of you the best!

***************

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at [email protected] with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

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15 comments… add one
  • avatar

    LisforLeslie July 10, 2017, 1:35 pm

    Sounds like the in-laws are more about appearance than anything else. That you and your wife stepped up to help out when your dil became ill, well that says a lot about you and your wife; your son knows who to turn to.

    Be the mensch you were meant to be. Avoid the mishagas when possible.

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  • Cleopatra Jones

    Cleopatra Jones July 10, 2017, 1:41 pm

    Oh yay to the LW & wife for being there when his son’s family needed them!
    One very hard lesson that I’ve had to learn as a parent is that parenting is really a thankless job. It’s immensely rewarding and challenging but definitely thankless!
    .
    I’m holding out hope that one day…one (or all) of my kiddos will say, ‘Thanks Mom & Dad for all of the stuff that you’ve done for us, sacrificed for us, or taught us so that we could have a good life’. It probably won’t happen until I’m on my deathbed but a girl can dream, can’t she?

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    • avatar

      TheHizzy July 11, 2017, 8:27 am

      I’m 31 and at about 27 I started thanking my parents.

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  • avatar

    Zahav July 10, 2017, 2:17 pm

    You are wonderful for being there for your DIL .
    On a separate note, a bris happens exactly eight days after the birth of the baby, assuming all is good in terms of the baby’s health. If it isn’t a planned C-section, there is no way to tell when this is going to be. Having gone through the brises of two sons, this is…a challenge of sorts. But maybe it throws into perspective the whole ”being told the day before” to show up.
    And for the record the grandparents split the bill: in laws paid the mohel for my oldest, my parents paid when it was my younger son, split the bill for the reception according to number of guests each invited (in laws paid for their guests, my parents paid for their guests). My involvement was limited to giving birth and crying during the ceremony and eating ALL THE FOOD at the reception so I still don’t know how they knew who should pay for what but WHATEVER; all the grandparents still like each other…

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  • avatar

    Northern Star July 10, 2017, 2:43 pm

    I’m still confused as to why YOU didn’t call your son before the bris. Good thing he picked up the phone—or you wouldn’t have attended?

    It also makes total sense that a 40-year-old man with a newborn infant and no family but you would call his parents for help if his wife was suddenly hospitalized with a severe condition.

    Nice job taking “the high road” with your only family member, I guess. Good for you.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor July 10, 2017, 3:09 pm

    I maintain my original point that grandpa and grandma are high drama passive aggressive people/

    “So one day before the event we got a call from our son to “make sure we would be there.” I guess better late than never. ”

    Keep in mind that the last letter was written a “few days” after the birth so the “better late than never” invitation was only a few days later. And the son probably reasonably assumed that his parents didn’t require a formal invitation to their own grandson’s bris.

    “We took the high road, and we attended.”

    You are so big for not boycotting your grandson’s bris over….no provocation whatsoever.

    ” As parents it seems we make excuses for our children, but it is a continual learning experience (a lot of OJT) for them and we hope we set an example for them.”

    Everyone made ridiculous excuses for them like “they were busy dealing with an infant and didn’t think that they needed to send their own parents’ formal invitations to their grandson’s imminent bris, which they already knew about.”

    “The event was lovely; however, it was quite obvious that for some reason we were outsiders. Our son and DIL didn’t introduce us or include us in the conversations. Fortunately, my wife of 48 years and I now know how to hold on to each other no matter what.”

    You held onto each other, no matter what! Your kids had an eight day old baby. I was an exhausted mess at my daughter’s naming (seven days old). You are so heroic for surviving at a catered affair surrounded by friends and family and without exhausted son/DIL not catering to you.

    “Our son — a 40-year-old man with a newborn infant and no family but us — was in a state of panic.”

    In a panic! What a pussy! He just had a wife with a severe psychotic episode and infant. He didn’t have to deal with any real struggles like not receiving a prompt formal invitation to a circumcision.

    “And, who do you think got called? My wife, of course.”
    “So my wife packed a bag in minutes and has stayed there for several weeks now. The baby is doing fine, and I have a very tired wife to take care of, both of whom are fine with me. Interestingly, the DIL’s parents are nowhere to be seen.”

    It is gross how much relative attention to give to your own gloating and superiority relative to concern for people going through a serious crisis.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover July 10, 2017, 3:15 pm

      Your last paragraph is what really got me. Like, making drama over a bris, fine whatever. But to be all self-congratulatory and focusing on yourself when your DIL and son are going through a health crisis??? What the actual fuck. Pardon my language. But seriously.

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    • avatar

      Northern Star July 10, 2017, 3:27 pm

      Yeah, the whole tone of this update was really off-putting. Like, gee, what a WONDERFUL PERSON he is for allowing his wife to “drop everything” to help out his only child with a newborn as his DIL went through a major health crisis.

      My, what a hero.

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    • juliecatharine

      Juliecatharine July 10, 2017, 4:30 pm

      Thank you! I thought exactly the same thing. Yes, they show up and help when truly needed which is great but it’s so obvious that there is a running tally in their minds and if they aren’t oohed and aaahed over constantly they’ll keep right on playing the victims.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros July 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

      All of this.

      Like — who else would most people call in an emergency? Probably their immediate family.

      And I’m not sure what the point was about how there was no history to predict the psychotic episode. So?

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark July 10, 2017, 4:50 pm

    Yeah. Some seriously odd tone in both these letters. PS — perhaps the fact that your DIL was clearly only days away from a severe psychotic breakdown gave you some insight as to why a formal invite to a bloody event you already FUCKING knew about somehow slipped her mind?
    .
    Whoops. Nope. Guess not.
    .
    It’s like you both desperately look and nitpick until you find some absurd/imaginary reason to feel slighted… Just so you can then GLOAT endlessly about high roads and being better people….
    .
    Honestly? It’s all very exhausting. Oh, and — wait for it! — pathetic.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros July 10, 2017, 5:32 pm

    It sounds like there’s a lot of scorekeeping going on. I think it’s not the best idea to base your own value as a loved one on special events like this (like weddings, etc.). Having a baby is really rough, and I would probably cut my kid some slack for not being Miss Manners during it. It also sounds like you potentially expect a lot more formality from your child than perhaps most people do? I’m not sure my parents have ever needed me to go out of my way to insert them into conversations.

    I hope that you’re not turning the whole helping out your son and DIL as some sort of vindication proving why you are better than the in-laws or guilting them for not handling the bris how you wanted them to.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 July 11, 2017, 10:33 am

    All Hail Grandma and Grandpa, they are the greatest ever… Fuck everyone else though.

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph July 11, 2017, 12:51 pm

    I do think the whole “make sure we were coming” aspect lends more support to the idea that either the LW’s invitation was lost or that the in-laws were purposely excluding them without the son’s knowlege. It sounds like they expected an RSVP and didn’t get one.

    Otherwise, this LW is just as ridiculous in the update as in the original. I try to imagine this from the son’s perspective: “My parents came to my son’s bris and then stood awkwardly on the sidelines and didn’t socialize with any of our friends.” Like I said in the last comments, your son and DIL had a bit to deal with between a brand new baby and this big event they had to throw– add onto that some serious mental health issues for your DIL that seem to have been simmering below the surface and, well, I can totally see why they didn’t have the wherewithal to cater to you and expected that you, as adults, might be able to just introduce yourself to people at the bris without their help.

    Do you want a medal for helping your son and grandchild through a serious family medical crisis? You seem like a lot of work.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 July 11, 2017, 1:40 pm

    Hopefully the DIL’s parents and in-laws didn’t push her over the edge.

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