The Family Stone

19 Nov

Letterbalm FlowersDear LetterBalm: My parents will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in January, and the family will be throwing them a big celebration. I’m significantly younger than my brother and two sisters. They were in their late teens and my older sister was 20 when I was born. I’ve always been told that I was an accident, made to feel as though my parents and siblings joined ranks against me. They criticized me relentlessly growing up and still denigrate my life choices. (I’m liberal and non-religious, all of them are conservative churchgoers.) Fortunately, I did well in school, went away to college and built a life. I now have a wonderful husband and terrific kids. We’re close with my husband’s family who are truly great people. I’m not sure I want to attend the party. I’m not estranged from my family. I see them occasionally, but I don’t want to bring my husband and children halfway across the country to this party to be disparaged. They’ve been with my disapproving parents and siblings before and know how they are. I need help here.

–Youngest Child

What a woeful litany! It is admirable that you broke free from your toxic upbringing and crafted a good life for yourself and your own family. It’s amazing that your poisonous parents have endured for more than half a century together. It stands to reason that your relatives will find fault with you, your husband and your children, whether you attend the party or not. So, Ms. L.B. encourages a radical solution. Your family will not attend the bash. Call your folks, make a brief, heartfelt excuse (“We’re heartbroken, but we won’t be able to come.”), and don’t explain. You and your husband talk with your children and tell them you won’t be attending the soiree. They probably will breathe a collective sigh of relief. All of you decide on a special family outing the day of your parents’ fete (family vacation? fancy dinner? bowling? biking excursion?). Go online. Find the priciest luxury flower delivery website. Order a huge, expensive, knock-your-socks-off bouquet in a gorgeous vase. Arrange for it to arrive on or near the day of the event. Include a card from all of you, the message something like this:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Sixty years! What a tremendous accomplishment and testament to your abiding affection for each other. We wish you many more happy years together. Our warm wishes to you both.


Agatha, Ted, Rosie, Neal and Todd


2 Responses to “The Family Stone”

  1. Jeff 11/19/2014 at 8:42 pm #

    What a beautiful, and considerate solution to an otherwise unavoidable tragedy! If anything I feel the family stone are getting too nice of a flower arrangement, but then most of my family doesn’t even appreciate flowers! Lol. Nice job Letterbalm.

    • Ms. L.B. 11/20/2014 at 1:45 am #

      Thank you. Ms. L.B. happens to love sending and receiving flowers. In this case, they serve as beautiful passive aggression!

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