DEAR ABBY: My sister was married recently. At the reception, her new mother-in-law was seen by multiple guests gesturing with her two middle fingers while the father of the bride was giving his toast. It was a very formal event, and it was shocking to see an adult act like this. Our family feels embarrassed and insulted because we hosted the wedding, but our biggest concern is how can the bride move forward?
When the groom politely approached his mom about a week after the wedding, she refused to acknowledge it, insisted it was an "inside joke," and then gave him a long list of complaints about our family. (I suppose they were her justifications for her behavior.)
She refuses to apologize. I feel she should extend an olive branch and apologize to my sister and our parents, but at the very least make amends with her new daughter-in-law. It upsets me that she doesn't care about building a good relationship with my sister.
My sister was brought up to take responsibility for her actions. It's hard for her to move on when her mother-in-law refuses to speak of it. Should she really just act like nothing happened? — SISTER OF THE BRIDE
DEAR SISTER: The groom's mother's inhibitions may have been lowered because she was intoxicated when she did what she did, and that may also be the reason she won't speak of it, even to her son. It's an embarrassment for THEIR family, not yours. The woman isn't someone you will be forced to interact with often on an intimate basis. That burden falls upon your sister, who has my sympathy because it appears her M-I-L is going to be a handful. Please allow me to offer you some advice: Stay out of this and let your sister and her husband handle it.
DEAR ABBY: I am a daughter of a blue-collar father. I admire him greatly and am beyond grateful for all his sacrifices. He worked more than six days a week for 30 years to give us a nice life.
When I went to college more than 10 years ago, I took out student loans because my parents couldn't afford to help me financially. I still pay a large amount each month and I see it bothers my father.
I have told him many times how grateful I am for his sacrifices and that I manage to pay my student loans each month. However, I know it still bothers him. He keeps saying, "When I die, I'll take care of you." I don't want him to carry around this burden, especially since he's already done so much so we can live comfortably. How can I erase the guilt he feels about my school loans? — CONCERNED DAUGHTER
DEAR CONCERNED: For your own sake, it's time to realize you cannot wave a magic wand and change the way your father feels. From your description, he seems like a wonderful man. Continue to express gratitude and respect for what he has done for you. Stop discussing your ongoing loan payments, and let your successful life be the proof of your father's diligent efforts.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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