DEAR MISS MANNERS: My 17-year-old cousin is going to have her first child in two weeks. She is not married. Her immediate family consider themselves religious and, frankly, better than anyone else, so needless to say, this was quite an unpleasant surprise for them and for my grandmother.
The issue is that they haven't told anyone about the child and don't plan on telling our extended family, whom we are quite close to.
My immediate family thinks this is quite appalling. We consider the fact that they are keeping the pregnancy "hidden" out of shame to be shameful in itself, and think that our relatives will be more insulted when they are (if they are) introduced to a 6-month-old baby than if they were told of the expected child beforehand. We have been told that it is "not our place" to tell anyone, but we feel it is just plain rude to keep this hidden.
What is proper and less insulting? To announce the coming birth of a child, or to surprise them more with "Oh, you have a great nephew who turned 6-months-old today, didn't you know?"
GENTLE READER: The branches of your family may differ about religion, but they share an oddly unrealistic notion of censorship. To begin with, why do the prospective mother's wishes not seem to figure into the dispute? Unless she plans to hide the fact of the child's existence, through allowing him to be adopted or by rearing him where she is not known, she is the one who ought to be telling her other relatives.
It may not be your place to make the announcement, but Miss Manners hardly thinks it anyone else's place to clap an order of silence on you. You are honor-bound only to inform the silent grandparents that you cannot promise you will never mention your new cousin.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My daughter was home educated and finished her classes last November. She was married in December. I did not send out a graduation announcement because I did not feel it was proper etiquette to send two invitations at once. I thought people might think we were being greedy.
Now that it is graduation time, I want to send a graduation announcement for her. I know that all graduates like receiving money for gifts, and so does my daughter. Besides, it would really be a blessing for her and her new husband.
How do I go about this properly? We are not going to have a graduation ceremony because it is too hard to accommodate my daughter's busy schedule. What I want to do is send a simple announcement that she did in fact complete her education and if anyone should want to send her a graduation gift that would be wonderful. Should I put her married name, though? At the time of completing her schooling she was not married. Should she be the one to announce her graduation, or should I still do this?
GENTLE READER: Greedy? Because it occurred to you that it might be profitable to announce an event from last year, surely long-since known to anyone who might care, even if your daughter is too busy to socialize with them? Who, besides Miss Manners, would be crass enough to think that?