DEAR AMY: My nephew and his wife recently had their first baby. We live in the same city, and are close. The day the baby was born, doctors thought she might be seriously ill. Tests revealed that she was fine. The new parents only allowed grandparents to go meet her in the hospital. My nephew texted me a few weeks later to tell me that I was permitted to meet the baby, but that the pediatrician said that the baby shouldn’t be around children, so my kids, ages 11 and 9, were not allowed to come over for at least two months. I said I wouldn’t meet the baby until my children could. I was upset at the exclusion. I understand wanting to protect a child, but there are photos at my mom’s house with many different people holding the baby for her 1-month birthday. She is now 3 months old. I realize this is not the baby’s fault. It might be mine, for not going to meet her, but my kids were hurt and I was angry. How can I gracefully respond to my nephew when I do meet his baby?
DEAR AUNT: First-time parents are often nervous about exposing their baby to the world. The family had an early health scare, and now they are doing what they think is best for their baby.
You should be tolerant. They’re figuring things out. They might be overprotective, but they are the parents and you should respect their role.
If the message in the early weeks was that your children should not meet the baby, you should have dealt with your kids’ disappointment like a good parent does — encouraging your kids to handle this temporary moratorium in a mature fashion. Instead you joined them, and now you’re all sulking.
The way to respond to your nephew when you finally meet the child is to make a fuss over the baby, telling the young father how perfect and wonderful she is. Apologize for not meeting the baby sooner. Tell him you were upset your children were prevented from meeting their cousin and ask him to forgive you for your pettiness.
DEAR AMY: I recently celebrated my marriage with an amazing wedding! We had the best night of our lives, and so many guests told us it was the best wedding they had ever been to. While enjoying reading cards and opening gifts, we were shocked to find 35 of our 140 guests did not leave a gift. We have racked our brains. Was the gift table too hard to find? Are they planning on sending a gift? Were some gifts stolen? The probability of this is low as the area was secure and well-supervised. The table was a little tricky to spot, but the venue wasn’t that large. We are honestly feeling hurt. As an aside, my husband and I paid for the wedding ourselves and many of our friends knew this. Several people have suggested discussing this directly with the offending guests. This is a really tricky situation, but that number is so surprisingly high. Any advice on how to approach this sticky situation ?
DEAR BAFFLED: Many people don’t bring gifts to a wedding. If they are traveling to the ceremony, they may prefer to ship gifts to the couple’s home for the couple to open after the (presumed) honeymoon. Wedding guests are also aware of the hassle some couples face of guarding gifts and transporting them after the reception.
I’m sure few wedding guests picture the couple keeping score, as you and your husband seem to be doing.
If you sincerely believe that some gifts might have gone missing, you must follow through with guests to let them know of your concern.
If you suspect that some guests have simply decided not to give you a gift, then you must politely accept this choice, remembering that you didn’t have a public wedding celebration for the purpose of receiving gifts, but as a gift to your community of loved ones, so that you could share your joy with them.
DEAR AMY: I appreciated your advice to “Worried Future Mother-in-Law,” whose daughter was marrying a guy whose mother was belligerent when drunk. They were worried about the wedding. We faced something similar in our family. We had a friend who was willing to hang out with our alcoholic family member to intervene, if necessary. It wasn’t.
DEAR BEEN THERE: I’m happy this worked out for all of you.