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Aug
29
Comments Off on My son is getting married and Im not invited | Mariella Frostrup

My son is getting married and Im not invited | Mariella Frostrup

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Mariella Frostrup suggests that a mother excluded from her sons wedding tackles long-standing family discord

The dilemma My son and his girlfriend live in New Zealand and are returning to the UK to get married (not legally binding because of residency requirements), then returning to NZ for what I assumed would be a quiet registry office affair. Having not been invited to my sons first marriage, Ive been very involved in planning this ceremony. Theyve asked me to be a witness, do a reading, etc. I am estranged from my other two sons so didnt attend their weddings. Theres a lot of history here but my lovely husband, relatives and friends say it isnt my fault. Ive now learned online that the legal wedding is next year in NZ and his dad, who holds grudges about our divorce, is attending but Im not invited to the real one. I feel foolish for getting excited about the UK wedding. When I tackled my son he blew up. So I have three sons; between them four weddings I havent been invited to and a granddaughter Ive never met. Am I some kind of monster?

Mariella replies Youve sent me a relatively short letter about what is clearly a complicated family history and its difficult to make a judgment about whats occurred today without being privy to what has gone awry in the past. What I can say is, its not about you. I appreciate it may be hard to get your head around all this, but that could be the lesson you need to learn. If you require reassurance that youre central to your sons thoughts, then consider there might not have been a UK wedding had you not been a priority for them.

Divorce always has a fallout and I do sometimes wonder why, instead of being infuriated by childrens clumsy attempts to negotiate the post-split turmoil, the adults involved couldnt shoulder a bit more of that burden. If you want a harmonious environment where both you and your ex are included in family gatherings, perhaps the first step would be to improve your relationship with him. Obviously I dont know whos making civilised engagement impossible but one of you making peace moves could lead to a new dawn in your dealings. Indeed its hard not to suspect that many of the problems you have within the family might be solvable if you started where the discord probably also began, with the parents separation. As I get older I find most things are forgivable with time.

Weddings are emotionally fraught occasions at the best of times and with this one the proceedings are further complicated by the rifts between you all, the location of their new life and the demands on them to try to include a very divided family. You cant change their plans now and youd be battling against an unyielding force were you to try to do so. So how about you surprise them all with a totally different approach? Accept with grace the honour theyve paid you by making you so central to the UK side of events. Then, and more importantly, resist comforting yourself with the reassurance of your new spouse and assorted friends (all of whom will no doubt have been told the story from your point of view) and try tackling the past in a spirit of reconciliation. No matter how minimal your part you certainly bear some responsibility for the way things have played out, and while its just a hunch, the roots of many of your current woes might be found in the still-acrimonious relationship with your ex. You cant take the sting out of long-harboured hurts overnight but if you revolutionised your own approach, youd find it entirely in your gift to improve familial relationships.

Of course that takes a great deal of courage, the subjugation of personal pride and desire to be a catalyst for change. If you feel capable of those key components, then I suggest you lift your gaze from the emotional quagmire and set your sights on a better future, when your three sons, your ex-husband and your current spouse can sit down and raise a glass to the end of discord. This may sound naive, but forgiveness is possibly the most important human virtue and I doubt any of us, on our deathbeds, will be celebrating the ties weve broken instead of the connections weve made.

You do have one legitimate gripe which is the manner in which you found out, but with more and more of us leading our lives virtually and publicly, youre certainly not the first person to discover unpalatable truths online. Were the situation less emotionally charged you could afford to take issue with your son but as things stand wouldnt you reap far greater reward by swallowing your pride and resolving to make yourself the catalyst for future harmony? We all hold the power to instigate change in our lives but too often were so buried in the business of living that we forget that reinvention is a perpetual possibility.

Yours is certainly an unhappy state of affairs and it barely matters whos at fault: this needs to change. So why not be the one to set about that business, for your own sake as much as anyone elses?

If you have a dilemma, send a brief email to mariella.frostrup@observer.co.uk. Follow her on Twitter @mariellaf1

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/27/my-son-is-getting-married-and-i-am-not-invited-mariella-frostrup

Aug
5
Comments Off on Woman Invites The Obamas To Her Wedding, And Gets The Most Beautiful Reply

Woman Invites The Obamas To Her Wedding, And Gets The Most Beautiful Reply

Author firstcommunioninvitations    Category first communion invitations     Tags

We all dream of reaching out to our heroes, and striking up a correspondence with the paragons of the modern world. But can we ever get a response from them?

Receiving a letter from a US President, if it happens, has always been a thing of great pride. My grandmother’s father received a letter from a President I can not remember, perhaps it was Taft, but he kept that letter and my grandmother still has it to this day. No matter how brief or formal, there is something magical about receiving words from people we consider to be unreachable, or larger than life. The Obamas are the center of so much hope and idealism in the world, that a letter from them could mean the absolute world from someone who idolises them. Perhaps it’s a recognition of social media before the social media age – it’s like getting Retweeted or referenced by your favorite celebrity.

For people like Obama, and anyone at his level of responsibility and fame, living as an individual in the world is likely a very disorienting experience. Who you are no longer matters – you are a symbol of something beyond your control. You’re no longer a person, but a mythical foundation for people to appeal to. When writers evoke the Obamas, it is always in the context of a history that will demolish or revive their ideas. Existing so close to the movements of history makes a person lose touch, and become ‘institutionalized’. For Brooke, the daughter of Liz Whitlow, this letter was a moment of the hall of unreachable heroes reaching back to her. Brooke’s mom Liz had reached out to the former President and First-Lady in order to invite them to her wedding. While the chance of the Obamas actually attending were of course slim, this letter in the mail made the family’s day, week, month and year!

The note goes a little something like this: “Congratulations on your wedding. We hope that your marriage is blessed with love, laughter, and happiness and that your bond grows stronger with each passing year. This occasion marks the beginning of a lifelong partnership, and as you embark on this journey, know you have our very best for the many joys and adventures that lie ahead.” Though the Obamas won’t be attending, the fact that they respond at all is remarkable. I can’t imagine how busy and exhausted they must be, and to make room for things like this must make them just as happy as it makes people like Brooke. It’s probably a way for them to reconnect with normal, rejuvenating humanity after a decade of dealing with world leaders and making decisions that grant and deprive life around the world.

Much of Kendrick Lamar’s album To Pimp a Butterfly was about the struggle of being considered superhuman, while knowing that you are just a flawed human being whose image has been amplified and made into something mythic, outside of your control. The song U is about Lamar confronting the sad reality that despite uplifting the entire world, he is incapable of helping those closest to him.

Icons of the 21st century are human beings born of flesh like everyone else. They’ll always be someone’s child, and even the most powerful people on Earth are still afraid of failing their mothers or falling short of who they could be. Answering letters and corresponding with fans and admirers is one way for people elevated to impossible proportions to feel normal, grounded and human. It’s impossible to speak to everyone you should speak to, let alone read everything you should, think through every problem you need to face, and do it all knowing that your conclusions will be hungrily consumed by hordes of people yearning for direction. In that context, the simple things are what count the most, because the rest is not in your control.

Read more: http://www.viralthread.com/woman-invites-the-obamas-to-her-wedding-and-gets-the-most-beautiful-reply/?all