August 24, 2017
Due to an immigration problem, my son and his fiancée were married in a very small ceremony attended only by close family and friends. They plan to have a large event after the bride’s immigration issues are resolved. We have not told others about the wedding because it will dull the excitement of the big event, and the bridal couple wants to stay under the radar of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Effectively, we lie when people ask. We have also been to oodles of our friends’ kids’ weddings, and they expect to be invited to ours. Should we continue this ruse?
Anyone can miss the forest for the trees — getting so hung up on details that the big picture slips right by. Still, it’s my duty to tell you: Wise up, silly person! You are conflating life-altering issues (ICE agents and possible deportation) with utterly insubstantial ones (wedding frippery). Perhaps you are unaware of the stakes.
People commonly believe that green cards are handed out like Tic Tacs to immigrants who marry American citizens. That is false. Under the best circumstances, the process is costly and time-consuming. And if the immigrant is undocumented (or his or her visa has expired), that person must leave the United States for up to 10 years before trying again — even with an American spouse in hand.
The idea that “immigration issue” and “reciprocating your friends’ kids’ weddings” exist on the same pro-and-con list blows my mind, especially these days, when undocumented parents of young, American-born children are being deported. When people ask about the wedding, say, “They’re aiming for a big party next year.” Your son’s happiness is more important than any soiree. Don’t get me wrong: I revel in first-world problems, but this socialite drama embarrasses even me.
Friends Who Disappear
My wife and I had a close relationship with another couple for 40 years, even though we live far away. We celebrated Christmas together every year. And every summer, we visited them at the Jersey Shore. Four years ago, my wife passed away. For the next three years, we continued as before. But six months ago, my attempts to reach them by phone, email and fax brought no response. Finally, I wrote a letter asking them to let me know they were O.K., even if they didn’t want to be friends anymore. No reply. What can I do? (P.S. I know their health is fine.)
People are funny — by which, of course, I mean: People are hideous. They are also wonderful. And mysterious. I am sorry your friends dumped you, and particularly for the heartless way they did it. It’s possible that your wife’s death ignited some fear of their own mortality that they can’t shake. We’ll never know.
But now it’s time to let them go. Your well-being isn’t served by chasing after people who reject you. My suggestion: Whenever you think of them, try to recall some terrific time that all four of you shared. It may be in the past, but 40 years of friendship is nothing to sneeze at, no matter how it ended.
Who Let the Bugs In?
Friends of ours who are vacationing on Cape Cod invited us for a glass of wine at their cottage. Shortly before the arranged time, they called to say they’d been briefly delayed, but we should make ourselves at home. When we got there, we found the windows closed up tight. It was stifling, so we opened the windows to let in some air. Upon returning, our friends were very upset because they wanted the cottage sealed to keep bugs out. Were we wrong to open the windows?
Either you are remarkably thin-skinned or your friends have anger-management issues, because this sounds like an innocent misunderstanding that could be rectified without recourse to a third party. I mean, how many mosquitoes could have breached the open windows in the 15 minutes they were left (inexcusably) open?
Still, there is a lesson here for all of us: When pals say, “Make yourself at home,” don’t believe them for a second. Nearly all of us are control kings and queens about some unpredictable matter in our own castles. And that’s fine; we’re entitled. Next time, leave the windows closed. Sit under a shady tree until they arrive.
Please Don’t Instagram My Child
My husband and I are expecting our first child next month. How can we ask family and friends not to post photos of our baby on social media?
Your baby, your call. But now that we are squarely in the age of point, click and post, your request will go down better if you explain why you don’t want your bundle of joy plastered all over Instagram. Many people haven’t considered these issues.
When asking them not to share your baby pics on social media, tell them your concern, whether it’s family privacy, “digital identity kidnapping” or even that the photos may end up on some kiddie porn website. An extra word, with your legitimate request, is worth the effort to be better understood.