Graduation vs. Baptism

by Jackie
(Minnesota)

My son will be graduating at the end of May. I have an extremely large family and we live in far away places. I have a sister flying in from Alaska and a sister flying in from Hawaii.My brother will be there as will my 7 other sisters. My 88 year old mother will even be there.


My sister who lives in the same state as I do, won't be attending, because her daughter decided due to her busy schedule to have her infant daughter baptised the same day, 5 hours away, knowing full well that the date was already being used. Her Mother asked her to change it, but to no avail, could her mind be changed. Her husband has a golf thing and her Dad has a hunting thing that takes up other weekends and she sees no other way around it and says her husband won't let her change the date, because its not fair to his family.

His family lives in the town where their daughter is going to be baptised. She is worried about the size of her daughter. My sister lives on a farm and its haying season, so that was also another issue why my sister didn't like the date. I communicated with my neice that choice of date, splits the family up, although I didn't ask her to change the date, I told her that it bummed me out and made me sad.

Not having my sister there is like not having my best friend there. My neice treated me like I didn't think her daughters baptism was special. She got very angry with me, and spoke to me very disrespectfully and basically told me that I was fat and that I was going to die an early life.

Putting her nastiness aside, which is often times typical of her, the family was expecting to be introduced to a baby they have never met and now she won't be there, along with her parents, her other children and her brother and his girl friend. My invitations are done, but they have not been sent out as the party is 4-5 weeks away.

My nieces invites for baptism are verbal, so she claims its okay for her to have the date, because she didn't get in invite yet. I was wondering if it is proper for my neice to take my sons graduation date. She was never intending to come, because that is the time to spend with her husbands family. She is an at home Mom and none of her kids are in school. We are all saddened that my sister will not be there with her family. I felt like I spoke to my neice out of love. I felt it was wrong, what do you think?

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May 08, 2010
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Take the Higher Road
by: Eunice replies

I hear your frustration and my sympathies go out to you.

It gets harder and harder to gather family together as the years roll along. I commend your efforts and your initiative.

I do not know the manner how your message and your niece's message was communicated with each other, but it does seem like it has gotten nasty.

I wish I could present an etiquette rule to save the day but at this point we all have to remember that we have cannot make someone else's choice.

I'd like to point out that the person caught most in between in this exchange is your sister.

If you love your sister so much that you would call her your best friend, help her take the happiest way out. Tell her not to worry about not attending to the family gathering and just be happy celebrating her new grandchild. Tell her you know how much she wants to be at your son's graduation and it would be as if she was there in spirit.

If you like to help your sister feel better, make amends with your niece. Tell her you're sorry for expecting her to change her date and you are happy for her. Send a gift even.

At the end of the day, it is not about who's there but the love we communicate even if unable to be all there together.

Life is never perfect. We can never get 100% attendees at a wedding, or do everything perfectly.

This is just my two cents worth of hopefully a peaceful and elegant solution.

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