DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My ex-wife and I split up while I was still in the army. She moved back to her parents’ house with our then six-year-old daughter. We were married way too young and it was just not a good thing for us to be together, especially since she hated the service life, which I never blamed her for.
Both my ex and I have remarried and have kids with our spouses. My oldest son from my second marriage is getting married and I really want my daughter to be there. I want her to be in my life and I want to be in hers. We never fought or anything, we just drifted apart, and I have not been in touch with her much since her high school graduation going on 10 years ago. We exchange emails once in a while and talk on the phone on birthdays and big holidays, but that’s about it. When we do communicate it is awkward, but what I would call cordial.
My wife says I should start with just sending her an invitation to the wedding, but I would like her to be at the rehearsal dinner and some of the other wedding weekend events. I don’t want her to feel pressured, but I want her to feel welcome. This is, after all, her half brother’s wedding.
Do you think that’s overkill and agree with my wife that we should just go with the invitation? I think bringing her more into things, especially a chance to get to know my side of the family, which is also her family, would be great. --- WANT MY DAUGHTER THERE
DEAR WANT MY DAUGHTER THERE: I tend to agree with your wife’s suggestion, with perhaps the addition to the invitation of a personal note, saying your daughter and a guest are also more than welcome to attend the rehearsal dinner, if you and your wife are hosting it. That way, you open the door, and she decides how far to come through it.
Bear in mind, though, that she could very well feel strange about being tossed into a family get-together with people she barely remembers or possibly has never met. It might be more realistic for you to consider this the first step in a reconnection, rather than a chance to wedge your daughter back into your extended family circle.
Being parents of the groom is a big enough job, and trying to split your focus between kindling a tenuous relationship with your daughter and your son’s big day may not be the best idea. Perhaps if she does attend the wedding and/or dinner, once the wedding’s behind you, you can reach out to her and take steps towards becoming more a part of each other’s lives.