DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a retired widower and am planning a dream European vacation. I offered to pay the way for my married son and my married daughter to go with me since they cannot afford it, and I don't want to go alone.
I have not offered to pay for my son-in-law or daughter-in-law; therefore, they will not be going. I think this is acceptable since it is my money and I can invite whomever I wish.
My friend, however, thinks I should pay for them as well or not invite my son and daughter. I am not wealthy, and I cannot afford to pay for five people.
GENTLE READER: Unfortunately, you lost Miss Manners' sympathy when you stated, "It's my money and I can invite whomever I wish."
Had you posed the same conflict to your children, the same result might have been achieved, but with better diplomacy: "I would love to have everyone on the trip, but unfortunately find myself unable to finance it. Do you think that Hamish and Brenda would want to come, too? And if so, let's see if we can figure out a way" garners more sympathy than, "Tough luck for them; it's my money."