Dear Amy: I recently helped my sister give a baby shower for her daughter-in-law, “Linda.” Linda’s mother and sister were on the invitation as co-hosts.
The shower was at my sister’s house, and she provided the food (about 10 platters), decorations, flowers, etc. Linda’s mother brought one food item for about 12 people, but she knew we were expecting at least 20. Linda’s sister brought the cake.
At the end of the shower, we were busy with guests and carrying all the gifts to the car. Linda’s mother and sister put away the food.
After my sister and I washed all the dishes, cleaned and rearranged the house, we decided to have some of the leftover food. Amy, we couldn’t find anything: no fruit, no cookies, no cake, nothing!
Linda’s mother had taken all the food home!
After speaking with another daughter, she told us that she doesn’t invite this woman to any more gatherings because this is what she does!
Have you ever heard of anything so rude? I am afraid of what I will say if I am in her presence again. By the way, she is wealthy and owns two homes.
The final insult was when the sister posted pictures of the shower on Facebook and did not even mention my sister! What can I say to these boorish people?
Dear Hangry: These two women contributed to the shower and helped afterward. I would not focus on the paucity of their offerings, but I do think it is completely natural to inquire where all of the leftover food went (“Linda’s” sister was within her rights to take home any leftover cake, since she had brought it).
Contact both women to say, “Thank you for your help with Linda’s shower. We appreciated your contributions, and I think everyone had a good time. I’m confused, however. Where did all of the leftover food go? Did you take it home with you?”
That’s it. The cannoli is then in her court.
Dear Amy: My sister and I have been invited to a young relative’s fall wedding. As women in our 70s, we are delighted at the chance to attend a wedding, followed by dinner and dancing. Weddings are few and far apart in our age group.
However, now the bride’s mother is discouraging us both from attending. Her comments include: “There’s very little parking available,” to “It’s just a big drinking party for the bride’s friends.”
I can’t understand why we have received invitations, but are being discouraged from actually attending. The bride doesn’t need gifts, as she has a good job and a large house.
Do they want to save money on dinners? Will they be embarrassed if two older relatives attend a reception for young people? Are we expected to put in an appearance and leave early? Or are we supposed to stay away, and just send gifts?
I don’t want to skip my relative’s wedding, but I don’t know what to do. Any advice for us?
— Invited but NOT Invited
Dear NOT Invited: I can understand your eagerness to attend a wedding, but, from what you report, it is obvious that this family does not actually want you to attend.
Some people issue “obligatory invitations,” these are invitations sent to people they want to honor with an invitation, but don’t actually want (or expect) to attend the event. This is rude, to be sure, but it seems that you and your sister have fallen into this unfortunate category.
Any wedding that is basically advertised as a bacchanal for drunken young people is a wedding I would find it easy to miss.
If you do decide to attend, you can count on being marginalized, seated at the “rando” table and perhaps being disappointed — or even disgusted — by the proceedings. The family is already telegraphing this.
If you don’t attend, you are not obligated to send a gift, although a card offering your congratulations would be a gracious response. If you do send a gift, don’t hold your breath waiting for a note of thanks.
Dear Amy: Thank you for your response to “Worried Widower,” who was berated by his daughter’s health teacher at school because he told his daughter about puberty, menstruation and sexual health.
I was raised by my father. I am so grateful to my dad for talking to me about these things! It can’t have been easy to go over this stuff with a crying 12-year-old, but he did.
— Grateful Daughter
Dear Daughter: Love makes these hard things easy.