cereta: White Wine (White Wine)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Prudence,
Our family has been close, seeing each other every week. My children are all in their 20s and have their own homes. Our only daughter got married earlier this year and we adore our son-in-law. Our son got engaged about three months before our daughter’s wedding. Our daughter was vocally angry that her brother got engaged before her wedding. When the newly engaged couple were looking for wedding venues, I (mistakenly) recommended the place my daughter planned her reception. It is a lovely location and I was thinking it would be a good fit. Unfortunately, they decided to book this same venue for their wedding scheduled a year later. Now my daughter is furious. She is demanding they move the reception somewhere else even though it will mean losing the substantial deposit. This has created a great deal of anxiety, especially for me, because I mourn the loss of our close-knit family. I don’t know what to do. We have even offered to pay the deposit and that angers her too. She says they have to pay the cost (I guess as a form of punishment). This is tearing our family apart. Please help.

—Something Borrowed

I fail to see how your daughter has been harmed in any way. Her ability to spin offense out of the thinnest strands of “thunder-stealing” rivals Rumpelstiltskin’s ability to spin straw into gold. Don’t think of this as losing your tightknit family. Part of what makes a family tightknit is the ability to handle conflict. Your daughter is throwing a tantrum and the best thing you can do for her (and yourself) is to refuse to humor her. She’s denying herself the opportunity to celebrate her brother’s wedding (and trying to manipulate him into giving up a substantial security deposit!) because she thinks the love and celebration that children deserve is a zero-sum game. It isn’t. Her brother proposing to his fiancé did not make her any less engaged to her own; her brother hosting his reception in the same building she once had hers does not diminish the uniqueness of her marriage. I hope very much this is an unusual lapse in grace for her. Tell her that she is being unreasonable and churlish, and that you look forward to her being able to put aside this imagined slight in time to celebrate her brother’s wedding. It’s going to be a lot of fun. She should try to have some.

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Agony Aunt

August 2017

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