DEAR READERS: Your questions never take a holiday, but occasionally I must. This week's "best of" columns come from deep within the Ask Amy vault.
DEAR AMY: My sister-in-law and her daughter are making plans for the daughter's wedding. During a recent family reunion they said that they did not want any small children at the ceremony and were going to arrange for a qualified sitter to be available at the church to watch the children during the ceremony. All are welcome at the reception. This offended my daughter, who has a 4-month-old baby. She feels her parenting skills are being attacked in that she would sit in the back of the church and remove herself and the child if she became noisy. She stated that she would not leave her child with a stranger (the child will be 16 months old by then), and if her child were not included, she would not attend. I have tried to talk to my daughter to say that this is a reasonable request by the bride and she should not feel that request is rude. I feel she should respect the wishes of the bride and go, leaving her child in the care of the sitter for the 30-minute duration of the ceremony. My daughter still disagrees. Please give us your advice on this.
-- Grandmother in the Middle
DEAR GRANDMOTHER: Well, I've heard of "Bridezillas"; your daughter sounds like a "Frankenguest." A 16-month-old should not be expected to necessarily hold it together during a church ceremony, and I think it is considerate of the marrying couple to recognize this and be willing to arrange for a sitter for the youngest guests.
Your daughter has several months of motherhood before this event to realize that sometimes the best thing for baby and family is to be happily engaged separately for a short time. If she is offended by this, it doesn't sound as if she would be able to be a good and gracious guest, and maybe it would be better for everyone if she stayed home. (August 2004)