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by Abigail Van Buren

Bride Works to Make Sure Her Wedding Is Childproof

DEAR ABBY: I have a BIG problem. I am getting married on Nov. 23. My fiance and I are having a wedding reception with more than 200 guests. There are NO children invited.

According to the etiquette books that I have read, it is not proper to put "No Children" on your wedding invitations. (Mine are already printed up the proper way.) Anyway, one of my aunts is upset because her son and his wife have a 2-year-old boy who has cerebral palsy and some mental retardation. They claim that they cannot get a baby sitter for the boy and that they are bringing him to the wedding. They brought him to a family wedding last year, and everyone was buzzing about it.

I don't understand why they can't get a sitter. They have plenty of time to find one. And I don't want you to think that we don't want the boy there because he has a disability. (My fiance also has a physical disability.) But it is not fair to my fiance's family, some of whom have small children, too.

How do I handle this? I have already told my aunt "No" in so many words. She's one of those hardheaded people who wants her way all the time, and I am determined that she is not going to win this time. I don't even understand why she is getting involved when it is her son and daughter-in-law's place to talk to me about it. -- PRESSURED IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR PRESSURED: Wait until your cousin and his wife respond to your wedding invitation with the number of guests that will be in their party. If they put down more than two, then you have every right to call your cousin's wife and explain to her that this is an adults-only affair. You are right -- there is ample time for them to arrange for a sitter. And if they can't find one, then they should send their regrets instead of bringing an extra guest for whom their hosts are not prepared -- which is the height of rudeness.

DEAR ABBY: You once published a piece in your column about a little girl who had died. She was ascending to heaven with her lighted candle, but her mother's tears kept putting the candle out.

Would you please print it again? We recently lost a child, and I keep thinking about that column but am unable to locate it anywhere.

Abby, thank you for all the helpful columns you have written over the years. -- LINDA DOUGHERTY, CHINO HILLS, CALIF.

DEAR LINDA: My heart goes out to you; please accept my condolences.

You must be a longtime reader. The last time I printed that item was December 1984. Here it is:

Losing a child is the most tragic experience a parent must bear. But one must believe that it is more than a coincidence that God and Good are similar words. Here is a little story one of my readers sent me:

There once was a procession of children marching in heaven. Each held a lighted candle, and as they marched, they sang. Their faces shone with happiness. But one little girl stood alone.

"Why don't you join us, little girl?" one happy child asked.

"I can't," she replied. "Every time I light my candle, my mother puts it out with her tears."

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