DEAR MISS MANNERS: An uncomfortable situation arose prior to my sister-in-law's marriage a few months ago. To be polite as I can, her mother, my mother-in law, is an extremely pushy, insensitive woman who usually does and says whatever she wants.
While making the guest list for the shower, she informed me she was going to invite my mother. My mother does not like this woman for many obvious reasons (her insensitivity would make your hair stand on end). I knew this was going to be a problem. Also, my mother's health has been deteriorating over the past few years and she is unable to sit or stand for long periods of time.
When I informed my mother of the impending invitation, she told me to convey to my mother-in-law that she would not attend because of her health, so please do not send her an invitation. I repeated this back to my mother-in-law, stressing how ill my mother was, and the response I received was "I'm sending her one anyway"! And she did just that!
When my mother got the invitation, she was furious and threw it in the trash. My mother-in-law then kept badgering me about whether or not my mother got the invitation and if she was going to RSVP soon so she could get a head count! My mom said to tell her she never received the invitation, so I ended up lying.
Obviously, my mother-in-law was wrong, but the behavior on both sides left me in the middle and I'm upset. What should have been done?
GENTLE READER: Not having the pleasure of being acquainted with either of these ladies, Miss Manners is able to pass judgment without prejudice.
Your mother-in-law has done nothing wrong.
Wait -- you are prepared to testify that she has done wrongs that would make Miss Manners' hair stand on end, and that may be the case. But it is inadmissible evidence here.
Issuing an invitation is not a rude act, even if it is known that that person will not be able to attend. Refusing to answer an invitation is a rude act.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When preparing Christmas cards, or other holiday cards for that matter, when should one stop listing recipients' children?
If the child is grown and moved out of the home, I would expect that they would no longer be listed. What if the child is grown (over 18), attending college and living at home? Are they adults and therefore not listed on the card, or are they still members of the household and listed as always?
GENTLE READER: What exactly is the reasoning here? Why should you cease to consider children members of the household they inhabit because they are grown up, and why should you want to stop greeting them if you were previously in the habit of doing so? Unless you meant to ask whether they should be sent separate cards, which you could do although it hardly seems necessary, Miss Manners sees no reason to strike them from your greetings on the grounds of age.