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.
My wife and I are crushed. We cannot believe we are being excluded. My wife is in tears. In the fifteen years my son and daughter-in-law have been married, we have taken her in and made her an equal in our family unit with all our children. There has never been any distinction between any of our children and their wives or husbands. My wife has been lavish in her attention to our daughter-in-law, even sometimes at the expense of our children.
The daughter-in-law had a rocky childhood in a dysfunctional family, but that is almost forty years ago. We noted that when they got married we put on a beautiful wedding for them when her parents wouldn’t, and we invited the parents to it. Our new grandson is so adorable that we would hate to miss out on this event. However, we both feel so stepped on and abused that we are dismayed as to what to do.
At our age (70+), we should know what to do, but we are afraid of the outcome if we decline to go. However, my wife and I are so insulted that our son would take money over family that we are having a hard time choking this down. He was not raised that way and never exhibited these traits.
How should we handle this? Should we confront both my son and daughter-in-law or just my son? Should we go and just sit quietly in the corner or decline?
Hope to hear your thoughts soon as we only have a couple of days. — To Bris or Not to Bris
I definitely would not just show up at this bris that you believe you’ve been purposely not invited to. First, find out if what you suspect is true. Call up your son and ask him point-blank if you are welcome at the bris. (Speaking to your DIL, since you say you’re so close to her, wouldn’t be wrong, but I think speaking to your son is a better option since he doesn’t have the same sort of “baggage” with the in-laws that his wife likely has.) Explain to your son that you were asked to help pay for half the expenses of the party and you were unprepared for that request and are afraid you may have offended his in-laws. Express how much you love him and your DIL and your new grandson and that it would mean the world to you to be present at the baby’s bris.
If he tells you that you’re welcome, go and be gracious to the hosts. Thank them for hosting and compliment them on a lovely celebration. If he tells you that you aren’t invited, then things are a little more complicated. I would then speak directly to your DIL and express to her how much you love her and your new grandson and how you’re hurt to be excluded from the bris, and ask her to appeal to her parents.
On one hand, I’m inclined to say say that this isn’t her or your son’s fault — that they aren’t the ones throwing the party. But they’re grown adults and the party is in honor of their son. They have some control here. They could have chosen to pay for the party themselves, for example, and invite whomever they wanted, and they could have made it as small as they needed to accommodate their budget. A bris doesn’t have to be very expensive. A mohel and some bagels and lox is pretty much all you need. On the other hand, you say that your DIL had a rocky childhood in a dysfunctional family, and while that’s no excuse to hurt your feelings now, it may explain the continuing dysfunction in the family.
I hope you don’t miss your grandson’s bris, but if you do, keep in mind that it’s but an hour or two in his very young life — one that, thankfully, he will have zero memory of. And while the memory of your hurt feelings likely won’t fade so fast, you can choose to be empathetic to your DIL and your son, to be forgiving to the other set(s) of grandparents who have their own set of limitations, and to celebrate the birth of your grandson in a different way — one that doesn’t even have to involve scissors and tears.
No, you should not ever “say nothing” if you’re feeling something that someone else should know. And I can’t think of a better example of something someone else should know than one person feeling too rushed in a relationship. YOU are the driver of your life. This is as much your relationship as it is his. YOU are partially in charge of deciding where you are “actually heading,” so don’t passively wait for someone else to decide that for you! Tell your boyfriend that you’re enjoying the relationship but you get the impression he is wanting more than you are ready to give just yet. Tell him that marriage isn’t anywhere on your agenda at the moment and you want to take time enjoying each other’s company while figuring out what you want. If that hurts his feelings or he can’t deal with that or he decides that you’re simply at different places in your lives and he doesn’t want to wait for you to be on the same page, then this isn’t the right guy or the right time.
In addition, the idea that you think you need to “fix yourself” is also something that needs to be considered and expressed. If you really think that, then you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship at all, let alone a serious one with someone so much older who’s already expressing interest in marriage. This is the time to be honest with yourself and honest with him. Feelings may be hurt (including yours), but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to express them.
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