DEAR MISS MANNERS: My wife and I live on opposite coasts from our son, his wife and their toddler son. For many years now, my wife and my son haven’t been on the best of terms, although both are almost always civil towards each other.
As a result of this underlying tension, they sometimes send photos of our grandson (via email and social media) just to me. This means that, if I want my wife to see and enjoy those photos, I need to forward them to her. This makes her feel bad, for obvious reasons. Either that, or I sometimes feel that I just need to do nothing and pretend that I didn’t get the photos to spare her the anxiety.
I’m thinking I should email my son and daughter-in-law and insist that they include both of us on all future photo sharing. Is this called for? Is there a better way?
GENTLE READER: Yes. Reconcile them.
Miss Manners fears that sending that email will upset the delicate balance that has so precariously been created. And that your proposal will only drive the two further apart -- or worse, exclude you from getting the pictures, as well.
Facilitating a conversation between them -- without using your grandson as bait -- seems far more practical. After all, as you might emphasize to your son, the child will soon be old enough to form his own opinions, and your son will not want to be on the negative end of them.