DEAR MISS MANNERS: I took the father of a young lady I would like to pursue to lunch a few months ago, seeking his permission and approval to date his daughter. After an encouraging lunch and conversation about our relationship, we decided that it would be best to wait until she was done with school for the year.
As we parted ways, I was instructed to wait until he told me it was OK to talk with her. Now, months later, I still haven't heard anything.
Is it wrong to discuss this with him again? I don't want to come across as impatient, as I certainly believe that she is worth the wait, and I trust that he has her best interests in mind. How would you recommend approaching this conversation?
GENTLE READER: What conversation? The one that starts with the premise that the father is willing and the daughter is eager, but somehow they have neglected to inform you?
Let us hope that the gentleman was charmed or amused or both by your use of the 19th-century formality of asking a father's permission to court his daughter. Or perhaps you had rather hoped that the daughter was charmed -- because one of the two has vetoed the idea. And even in Victorian times, as Miss Manners recalls, daughters would ultimately prevail in such matters.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I became parents through adoption of darling twin boys. My brother and his wife, who live about 15 hours away, sent very sweet outfits a few months after the boys were born. We, of course, sent a thank you card. The boys are now 2 years old, and have never received another card or gift from their uncle and aunt.
My husband and I, on the other hand, always send their three children cards and gifts for every birthday and Christmas. No, their children do not ever respond with thank you cards, but we are not going to hold their parents' failure to teach them to do so against them. Nor do we intend to stop sending them gifts.
Is it silly of me to be hurt that my brother and wife, my children's aunt and uncle, more or less ignore the existence of my children? Do I broach this subject with my brother? If not, what do I say to my children when they get older and start asking questions?
GENTLE READER: It is not silly to be hurt when your children are ignored by their close relatives, but that presumes that there is not any warm contact and interest aside from the matter of presents. It is not silly to be hurt when your own overtures to their children are ignored.
But given that your brother and sister-in-law are rude in the latter case, it is not surprising that they are rude in the former one. Miss Manners hopes that you are able to acknowledge that with the equanimity you apply to their children and not harbor thoughts that their rudeness is in any way connected with your sons' being adopted. And your future answer, should your sons inquire, would be, "I don't know. They're pretty lax about such things and don't even acknowledge our presents. So you see why I insist that you boys pay attention to such things."