Love Eventually

16 Jul

Letterbalm Old Couple in LoveDear LetterBalm: Three months ago, my father and his high school girlfriend reconnected after both of them lost their spouses. He and she are in their early 70s, and they are sweethearts again, making plans to be married at Christmas. Our two families, all grown children, are happy for their relationship, but this has happened so fast that there have been some adjustment problems. My dad’s fiancée is a nice person, but she comes from a much wealthier and more conservative and religious family than ours, and her children are quite opinionated. I guess I’m trying to say we’re having trouble liking these people. I’m the oldest child, and I’ve been hesitant around my prospective sister-in-law, also the oldest child in her family (she’s been overly polite around me, too). How can I break the ice, even though I still dislike her, and I’m pretty sure she dislikes me?

–Walking on Eggs in Elk Grove

Watch a few episodes of the acclaimed BBC series Last Tango in Halifax and you’ll understand the fractious baggage families can bring to a late-in-life marriage. (It’s billed as a warm drama, but Ms. L.B. regards the characters more as badly-behaved annoyances, even the groom played by the splendid Sir Derek Jacobi.) Why don’t you send your future sister-in-law a handwritten note celebrating the blending of your families? You can keep it simple and heartfelt by staying on the topic of rekindled love and how happy you are that your father reconnected with her mother – because you said you do like her, yes? Use good stationery, practice several versions first, and check your spelling. This unexpected gesture from one first-born to another might just be the first step in establishing harmony between your two families. Try this:

Dear Cecilia,

This note comes to you and yours as a welcoming gesture from me and my family. We are so happy that your mother and our father have reconnected so many years later and have rekindled their love. It is clear that they make each other very happy – and that should be celebrated and honored by all.

Let’s always be optimistic about the blending of our two families and forging a strong, supportive bond among us all. When you think about it, love really does win out in the end.

Sincerely,

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