DEAR ABBY: My wife's niece is marrying a wonderful man of Greek descent this summer. Her grandfather insists that his last name is too long and impossible to pronounce. He told the mother of the bride that if they don't change the name, then he's "just not into the wedding anymore," implying that he won't help them pay for the event.
Have you ever heard of this being done for a wedding? Please give us some insight.
- Can't Believe It Down South
DEAR CAN'T BELIEVE IT: You have described a man who is used to being in control and is not above using his money to manipulate. I sincerely hope no one is expecting Granddad to pay for the upcoming wedding. That he would attempt to blackmail the young couple in this way is shameful. Let's hope they are mature enough to ignore him, and that they have a long and happy life together. Opa!
DEAR ABBY: Our youngest daughter will graduate from college next month. The school is 10 hours away by car or a 2 1/2-hour plane ride. There are no direct flights.
My husband and I are excited about this special day, and so is his 82-year-old mother. (I'll call her Ethel.) Abby, Ethel is not a well woman. She has trouble walking, falls occasionally and hasn't been out of this town for 30 years. She is also hypercritical. She does nothing but complain about other people, her health, this country, etc. Looking after her would be a huge burden.
We'd like to attend this milestone event without the added stress of taking care of her. How do we (kindly) tell her that what she has in mind is not going to be possible?
- Ready to Celebrate in San Diego
DEAR READY TO CELEBRATE: You and your husband should tell his mother that graduations in the best of circumstances are stressful events and can be difficult for someone who is unsteady on her feet. You could also mention that seating is limited, because it often is at graduations. Then offer to videotape the ceremony so she doesn't have to miss it.