Malevolent Mazel Tov?
April 2, 2008 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Must I invite my husband's evil relatives to our son's bar mitzvah?

I can only think of 2 people in this world that I truly hate- and they happen to be my husband's aunt and uncle. I actually refer to them in conversation with my husband as Uncle Bastard and his Bitch Wife. This does not insult my husband at all as he agrees with me 100%.

UB is my father-in-law's brother. He used to be an OK guy, apparently, until he married BW, an evil, shallow, materialistic witch. Over the years (they're both around 60 years old) he took on a few of his wife's characteristics. He became more asshole-y at times, though most of the time he was nice to his family, and was on good terms with them.

That all changed about 5 years ago. You see, for the past 30 years or so until then he had been working for my father-in-law. FIL provided him with a good job which included a nice house as a perk. Uncle Bastard isn't a dumb man, but without FIL he certainly couldn't have done as well for himself.

But 5 years ago FIL's company went under. He had no choice but to lay off UB. He provided UB with a very generous severance package, but it wasn't good enough for UB. Instead of realizing how lucky he had been all those years to have a brother that provided him with such a good job, he started demanding more and more money. FIL, being a nice guy and wanting to avoid a squabble, did pony up some more cash, but there was only so much he could give. This still wasn't good enough for UB. Egged on by his Bitch Wife, he harrassed FIL for months, even involving their mother in this mess- he constantly complained to a 95-year-old woman who had recently been put in a nursing home after a debilatating stroke and certainly didn't need the added stress of one son constantly badmouthing the other.

It even got to the point that UB threatened to go to the press and the courts and expose a business deal of FIL's that had skirted a few illegalities. It wasn't anything all that terrible, really, but not something FIL wanted made public.

At that point, FIL gave up trying to make nice with his asshole of a brother (which he had been doing, trying to mend fences even though UB didn't deserve it) and stopped talking to him. So did the rest of the family, who are genuinely nice people. UB and BW stopped coming to family events for a while. Maybe the pressure worked, because UB stopped asking for more money and never again mentioned going to the press.

Well, time heals most wounds, and little by little UB and BW have started ingratiating themselves back into the family. Guess they were lonely. And the family is, as I've said, very nice and little by little they've all "taken them back" and by now UB and BW come to all the family gatherings and talk to everyone like nothing happened. The family knows what they are and no one trusts them or even likes them very much, but they're just too nice to ignore these 2 evil shits anymore.

Everyone except me, that is. I can't forgive them or even bring myself to talk to them (we almost never see eachother anyway except for the odd family wedding, bar mitzvah, etc). I remember how agonized FIL was all those months while those 2 were pulling that shit. He didn't deserve any of that. But even he talks a bit with his bastard of a brother if they see eachother at family events.

My son's bar mitzvah is coming up and I don't want to send these 2 an invitation. I don't want them there, thinking I've forgiven them and that I'm OK with them and what they've done. The thought of having to greet them, kiss-kiss, etc. makes my stomach turn. My husband isn't crazy about them either (though he does say "Hi, how are you" to UB if he sees him) but says we really don't have a choice, that it will be too obvious that they weren't invited and will cause an uncomfortable situation. He even thinks his father, who was the injured party in all this, would feel uncomfortable if they weren't invited. We've actually argued about this, which kills me.

I don't think most of the family will care if they're not there. I certainly don't care if this hurts our relationship with UB and BW as we don't have a relationship anyway. I know some of you will probably say to let it go and invite them, and I'm usually the type of person to do that, but I truly hate these people and don't want them at our special day.

Can I put my foot down on this one?
posted by bluekrauss to Human Relations (42 answers total) husband's evil relatives
...I can only think of 2 people in this world that I truly hate- and they happen to be my husband's aunt and uncle
...Uncle Bastard and his Bitch Wife
...I truly hate these people and don't want them at our special day husband at all as he agrees with me 100%

...umm...I think you know what the answer is...
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 8:14 AM on April 2, 2008

Response by poster: husband at all as he agrees with me 100%

Just to clarify, he agrees that his uncle is a bastard and uncle's wife is a bitch. He doesn't agree re. the bar mitzvah.
posted by bluekrauss at 8:21 AM on April 2, 2008

If they come, it will hurt you. If they don't, it will hurt your father in law, your husband, and all the members of your husband's extended family who will have to deal with the drama, the future discomfort at family gatherings, the complaining, the intriguing... these people sound like drama-loving troublemakers, and avoiding them this one time may make all the other times much worse, not just for you, but for everyone.
posted by prefpara at 8:21 AM on April 2, 2008 [5 favorites]

Isn't a Bar Mitzvah about your son becoming a man? It's his day. Let him decide if HE wants them there.
posted by 4ster at 8:22 AM on April 2, 2008 [3 favorites]

I don't know what is customary for a bar mitzvah, but based on what you've written, by all means don't invite them!
posted by umbĂș at 8:23 AM on April 2, 2008

IANAJew but why can't your son decide here? Your family is inviting people to his party. I though the whole point with the ceremony was to make the kid a man sorta... He should be old enough to tell uncle Bob to screw it.
posted by uandt at 8:23 AM on April 2, 2008

I guess it depends on the message you want to give your son who, on this very special day, will now be considered to be a man. What message do you want to give him? That forgiveness trumps all wrongdoing or that evil actions have consequences?

Emotionally, it makes sense that you do not want to invite them. And it might make sense logically, as well. But if everyone seems to have forgiven them, and the anger still resides in you, then perhaps you might want to step outside yourself and decide what the best decision would be for everyone.

How does your son feel about UB and BW? Will he feel like there is something missing if they are not there? If the party is for him, then he should have a say as well.

Forgiveness doesn't mean that you haven't forgotten. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you are a sucker or don't respect those who UB and BW have hurt. Forgiveness, in fact shows to the world that you are better than UB and BW.

But don't get me wrong. Actions do have consequences. And perhaps their actions do deserve the consequence of not being invited. It is up to you (and your son) to decide which is more important in this particular situation.

But if it were me and my son, I would opt for forgiveness.
posted by bitteroldman at 8:27 AM on April 2, 2008 [2 favorites]

Sorry, if your husband and father in law, who were much closer to the harm this man caused than you were, want him to come you don't really have any place to say he shouldn't come. He may be a bastard, but he's their brother and uncle, and you shouldn't be trying to break up their family out of your own spite.

This isn't to say the guy's not a bastard or you're wrong to hate him, just that he's more than just some random bastard. He's blood to your father in law, your husband, and your son. If they want him there he should be there.
posted by Reverend John at 8:27 AM on April 2, 2008 [9 favorites]

Do the pro/con list thing: make two columns and let that help you -- are there enough things in the pro list to get you to cave? If not, off they go. As long as not inviting them won't ruin your day as you worry about the politics of it.

If you do cave and invite them, don't let that ruin your day either. Just tell yourself that you are rising above their level. Or go a little farther and play some mind games with yourself: you are the hero in this comic book, thwarting the evildoers plan by killing them with undeserved kindness.
posted by theredpen at 8:27 AM on April 2, 2008

posted by theredpen at 8:28 AM on April 2, 2008

Have you ever told the bastard that you were pissed at him and his wife? 'cause this just sounds like a temper tantrum.

Look, people do fucked up shit over the course of their life, so trying to crucify them for it is kinda silly, IMO. What is he doing now? Is his trying to make amends or at least be not such of a jerk? then yeah, invite him and at some point, pull him aside and vent, in quiet way and move on.

You're making this about how YOU feel, but there are larger family issues at work here adn I think they're the most important thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:31 AM on April 2, 2008

Response by poster: OP here again. As for involving my son (the bar mitzvah boy) in this mess- no can do. He doesn't have a clue about ANY of this. He was only 8 or so when this all started and knows nothing about it. He's hardly even seen the gruesome twosome in the past 5 years and wouldn't notice one way or another if they weren't there. He has Asperger's Syndrome- he's very high-functioning, but these kind of social "things" don't really make an impression on him. My husband and I would never want to burden him with this mess, at least not until he's older.
posted by bluekrauss at 8:36 AM on April 2, 2008

I understand that "difficult" family member thing. These two sound like real pieces-of-work. But, if you don't invite them, they will torment the entire rest of your family. It's just not worth it.

That having been said, you don't necessarily have to be overly nice to them. Hell, my aunt will tell my father, "oh, you know I don't do the hugs and kisses" right before hugging and kissing the rest of the family right in front of him. Maybe "accidentally" misspell their names on the invitation so they'll be too offended to attend? Or, if the invitation is, umm, a bit late, they might not be able to attend if travel/other arrangements are required.

Yes, I know, it's passive-aggressive, but let's not kid ourselves, we (the Jews) are often a passive-aggressive people where family is involved. Your FIL probably hasn't forgiven his brother; he just doesn't want to deal with the tsuris (trouble for the non-Yiddish-speakers) that come with the rift.

And for the love of all that's good and holy, do NOT make your son decide. Talk about stuck between a rock and a hard place.
posted by JMOZ at 8:38 AM on April 2, 2008

Invite them and ignore them? Aren't these events big enough that you could do that easily enough.
posted by chunking express at 8:45 AM on April 2, 2008

Must I invite my husband's evil relatives to our son's bar mitzvah?

posted by The Bellman at 8:46 AM on April 2, 2008 [2 favorites]

I say invite these people to your son's bar mitzvah. If they misbehave, use the opportunity to teach your son how not to treat people. By that, I mean point our their bad example and lead by your good example.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:48 AM on April 2, 2008

Oops, didn't preview and missed your son's AS. I guess my advice is pretty useless.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:51 AM on April 2, 2008

Ask your father in law his opinion.

Then do that.
posted by konolia at 8:51 AM on April 2, 2008 [4 favorites]

Meh. Invite them. You'll have plenty of other guests to be worrying about/looking after, and you don't even have to interface with them much if you don't want to. It's just easier to invite them, as this is a family gathering and they'll notice if they're not invited, and the ruckus will be worse than having to deal with them for one day.

Also, Uncle Bastard has probably asked for forgiveness from your FIL, his brother, and tried to make amends in some way. By which I mean, his transgressions against your FIL were for that man to forgive. If he's done so, let bygones be bygones.

Doesn't mean you have to like them. But unless you're willing to completely change plans and make your son's bar mitzvah into some sort of very small "immediate family only" shindig, the grief of not inviting will be too much.

Although I do think misspelling first names on the invite is a nice touch. :)
posted by brina at 8:53 AM on April 2, 2008

Can I put my foot down on this one?

Nope. Since this is your husband's family, it should be up to him whether or not to invite them, and he wants to, so you have to. This is going to be a big "suck it up" event for you, but you'll get through it.

Turn the situation around. How would you feel if you wanted to extend the olive branch and your husband refused? For every post like yours, there's a post that says "my husband is so unreasonable, he refuses to invite our formerly-estranged relatives; how can I convince him to suck it up for the sake of family?"
posted by boomchicka at 8:53 AM on April 2, 2008 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Uncle Bastard has probably asked for forgiveness from your FIL, his brother, and tried to make amends in some way.

Nope. He's never said a word about it. Just acts like it never happened. They've never discussed it. UB is SOOOOOO not the type to ask forgiveness. He's missing the humility gene.

Grrrrrrr, it looks like I'm gonna have to invite them. I guess I should just ask my FIL what he wants. If he says he wants them there, I'll just have to bite the bullet.

Though I love the suggestions of misspelling their names, putting the wrong address on the invitation, etc.- even though I doubt they'd realize it was done on purpose. :-)

Thanks for all the advice, guys, I appreciate it.
posted by bluekrauss at 9:13 AM on April 2, 2008

So they're jerks. Are you saying they will be the only jerks at this family event? (If so, you are luckier in relatives than most of us.)

Call me naive, but I think you should take the high road. If there is to be unpleasantness about the event, don't be the one who initiated it. If others need to initiate unpleasantness, don't stoop to their level and retaliate. You'll be a better and ultimately happier person for it.
posted by aught at 9:27 AM on April 2, 2008

I guess I should just ask my FIL what he wants.

What? No. It's neither nice or fair to put that responsibility on your father-in-law. There is no good that can come out of it -- if he says yes, invite them, then he'll feel bad making you tolerate them, and if he says no, then he'll feel like he's perpetuating bad family blood. He doesn't need or deserve that stress. When he hosts a party, that will be his decision to make, but this is your party, so you handle this yourself. Come on, start thinking of other people's feelings here and not just your own.
posted by boomchicka at 9:36 AM on April 2, 2008 [2 favorites]

The family has decided not to shoot poison daggers at these jerks. It's not your fight, even though it affects you. Grit your teeth and take the high road.

And if they cause a scene, your husband has to do the dishes for a week because you told him so. (If it were me, I'd make several side-bets to give me a reason to smile while enduring their presence.)

The day of, you have every reason to be 'too busy' to say anything other than a very generic thankssomuchforcoming...oh, where's that caterer? No eye-contact required.
posted by desuetude at 9:42 AM on April 2, 2008

I agree with boomchicka. It's not your FIL's responsibility. However, it sounds like you love your FIL. Putting his needs first, to make this a stress-free bar mitzvah for him of his grandson would be a MITZVAH for you and your family. You would be doing the right thing. You would become such a mensch! I know that's hard and I can understand the sacrifice you are making. But it's for the greater good.

Having been through a number of these family things I have seen the pain that's been caused by putting one's foot down. I'd recommend against it.

Mazel Tov, btw.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 9:52 AM on April 2, 2008

There's too much talk about this as if it's an autonomous decision by one of the parties, from "Don't invite him" to "You don't have any choice."

Both extremes ignore the fact that you're married, and you should be making decisions as a couple. You certainly don't HAVE TO invite them, but there will be consequences if you don't. Nobody here can really tell you what those will be.

If what you're looking for is arguments to make to your husband to convince him, that's another question entirely.

One thing to keep in mind... family feuds only continue because people perpetuate them. Retaliation is very rarely the solution.
posted by toomuchpete at 9:54 AM on April 2, 2008

Just an option to consider...

If UB and BW do wind up being invited, is there someone in the family that would be willing to entertain them, keep them occupied and talking while everyone else has a good time, "take one for the team" to keep the peace? We do that in my family for certain relatives that can be a nuisance. That way, you can invite the troublesome twosome (and thereby avoid unpleasantness with the rest of the family), while you keep them from causing too much friction at the actual event.
posted by LN at 10:12 AM on April 2, 2008

My husband isn't crazy about them either... but says we really don't have a choice

This is the opinion that is really at issue here, and all the airing of opinions (and this is a matter of nothing but) of the crowd here is pretty irrelevant compared to that. WRT letting your son decide, personally I think (ritualistic declarations of manhood aside) sticking a kid into the middle of this adult hassle and making him play the proxy to what boils down to a disagreement between you and your husband would be an awful idea.

Personally I think your husband is right - ultimately singling them out is likely to lead to more unpleasant interaction with them than suffering their minimal acceptable appearance. Your husband's family, including your husband, has chosen to tolerate the presence of the malefactors with minimal courtesy. If nothing else, if you insist on having your way you will be forcing your husband to join you in your harder-line stance. Beyond this, your husband knows better what is likely to cause discomfort in his family than you do. You're not the injured party in this affair and I think your position is faulty.
posted by nanojath at 10:43 AM on April 2, 2008 husband's evil relatives
...I can only think of 2 people in this world that I truly hate- and they happen to be my husband's aunt and uncle
...Uncle Bastard and his Bitch Wife
...I truly hate these people and don't want them at our special day

If you decide not to invite these people to your son's bar mitzvah, just be prepared to say this to yourself and anyone who might inquire about their absence:

"Today, as we assemble before God to declare my son a man, I, and I alone, have decided that the best way to deal with my uncle- and aunt-in-law's sin of greed is with the sin of wrath."

Because that's what I'm reading here, where you weren't the offended party and yet somehow remain the most angry: wrath -- "love of justice perverted to revenge and spite".
posted by hhc5 at 10:50 AM on April 2, 2008

Talk with your husband about this. This really is something that needs to be discussed. I don't know the ins and outs of the family dynamic but I just wanted to add that you might have married into this family, but unless this is something you regularly discussed within the family (you didn't say if you used the UB and BW nicknames with other family members or if it's just something you say amongst your friends and your immediately family or what) with other family members to not speak ill about the uncle and wife in such extreme (is that the word?) terms. So when you discuss this with your husband, for example, I'd say tone down the "Uncle Bastard" and "Bitch wife" type phrasing.

I say this because if you really feel that having them at this event is going to shade it in a negative way you need to do it diplomatically. Family situations are sticky. Some people have that "I can talk bad about, Bob. He's my brother, but YOU can't talk bad about Bob" mentality when it comes to family issues no matter how close you are to them. You might their best friend who saved their life at the swimming hole when you both were 12 and you've listened to said friend complain about a relative for years and for the first time you jump in with a "Yea, that Bob is such a bastard!" and all of the sudden hear crickets. I certainly have family members I don't like to deal with particularly because of past issues, but like your FIL's family I try to be politely cordial if I can't ignore them. Not because I think what they did was right or because I forgive them, but it's not my battle to fight, they didn't wrong me. They might be jerks or assholes, but I don't know all about what's going on there. I might know a lot of details, and I might be a niece who's part of the family, but this is FAMILY beef that existed even before I was born into the family with background and dynamics I have no inkling about.

It's something my mom's always advised me of after whatever phone call she was making to me about the newest worry/issue she'd had with the family and wasn't sure how to deal with it, "I say all this, but be polite if you talk to them, it's not your fight". And I'd feel uncomfortable if I was party to a conversation where my uncle's wife or my sibling's hypothetical spouse were to refer to the offending family member the way you have here (without being the direct recipients of the ill-treatment that caused the tension). I wouldn't defend the offending family members and I might even agree with what is being said, but I'd feel a little weird about that. I mean, it might be different for each family, person or even issue they're dealing with (I can think of several issues that'd involve the whole family), but just my two cents about how things like this sometimes work. You're more than within your rights to feel uncomfortable about the situation, but discussing it is going to be sticky and will require diplomacy.
posted by kkokkodalk at 11:29 AM on April 2, 2008

Are you paying for the party? Then you get to decide who comes.
posted by mccxxiii at 11:31 AM on April 2, 2008

Invite them - its a small token gesture towards family members (family members!) who are trying their best to be nice. Best case scenario - they are model citizens, and you grow closer to them (totally a mitzvah!). Worst case scenario - you hardly notice them, or are slightly peeved at their presence. Realistically you will hardly notice them and the avoidance of family drama in not inviting them both pre and post party will totally outweigh any deleterious effects of having them there.

I say this from my experience as a few relatives who were not high on my family's Chanukah card list made the cut for my bar mitzvah. And my sis' bat mitzvah. And wedding. Etc. Etc. Their presence is never as bad as you think - and it's nice to know that you took the high ground instead of taking what may be perceived as a petty stand, no matter how justified it truly is.
posted by evadery at 12:37 PM on April 2, 2008

Other than your personal feelings on the matter (and not saying that you aren't justified), try looking at the bigger picture - do you think that you will catch more hell in the future for inviting them or for NOT inviting them. It seems to me that, while I'm sure that you have the best intentions in wanting to demonstrate your displeasure with UB and BW, (great names, by the way!) it's highly likely to blow up in your face.

I'm sure you have a lot on your plate right now - I've seen enough bar/bat mitzvah parents to know the stress you're feeling right now. Cut this bit of stress out of the equation - you're wasting so much time and energy on this - and this really is your son's day, so why make it about those old bastards? Mazel tov!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:40 PM on April 2, 2008

Are you paying for the party? Then you get to decide who comes

mccxxiii - If you read the post, you would see that it's not that simple. Bluekrauss and her husband are paying for the party together, and they're at odds over this.
posted by boomchicka at 12:48 PM on April 2, 2008

Response by poster: I guess I should just ask my FIL what he wants.

What? No. It's neither nice or fair to put that responsibility on your father-in-law....(snip)......Come on, start thinking of other people's feelings here and not just your own.

But that's what I was proposing- trying to put my hatred for them aside and letting my father-in-law, who is the true victim of their evilness, decide this one. He's not the type to think of it as "oh, no, I don't want that responsibility, why are they putting this all on me"- he's not at all timid and is very free with his opinions. Believe me, I'm sure he'd appreciate being asked. And the more I think about it, the more sure I am that he'll say to go ahead and invite them :-(
posted by bluekrauss at 1:23 PM on April 2, 2008

IANAJ, but I've seen a lot of this in my mother's side of the family. Picture some awful and melodramatic Soap Opera like Dallas or Dynasty - that's the sort of situation. Lies, affairs, business, constantly rewritten wills - the whole shebang. The day before my sister's wedding, we found out completely by chance accident that my grandfather had just gotten married in a secret ceremony to his former mistress, and hoped to surprise everyone with it the next day. My father - who looked to my grandfather like a mentor and like his own dad, had to call him up and tell him he wasn't invited to sis's wedding. Many, many time, my mom would just cut off contact with them, and I have several cousins that neither I nor my siblings have ever met, because our parents didn't want them corrupted by organized crime links.

And I can tell you all this: it sucked, and the absences and silences were worse than the inconvenience of dealing with them. My mother was the most hurt by all of this, but even she tried to continually build bridges back to them as soon as she was ready to do so, and as for us kids, well we understood the issues at hand, but we still loved them and wanted to see them, visible warts and all.

Some context you may not have thought of here - Uncle Bastard and FIL are brothers, and brothers have their own ways of getting at each others' throats and mending things later. No matter how much you've observed, it's likely impossible for an outsider to truly understand the dynamic between any two brothers. Hell - I have two brothers and don't fully understand the dynamic they have between themselves. The point is that FIL and UB have to work through this themselves. FIL isnt letting your husband's Uncle Bastard back into his life - he's letting his brother back into his life after a lifetime of growing up together and working together, and five years of miserable estrangement.

It sounds like they truly are awful people, but we're talking about a single day for you, when you'll have a thousand other things to be dealing with and paying attention to (and if you have a camera in your hand, you will always have an excuse to be elsewhere.) If you don't invite them, you're bringing further strife and politics into an already tense situation in your husband's family and you also risk breeding resentment within them towards yourself, which it sounds like is the last thing you'd want.

In any case, if the wounds were still fresh, I'd say screw 'em, but you're likely to just agitate wounds that are trying to heal here. Invite them, ignore them, and celebrate your son on his day, being happy that there are so many generations of your family there to see it.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:08 PM on April 2, 2008

Good God, NO! The bar mitzvah is the start of your son's adult life. Do you want him to grow up knowing these people?

You're going to have to see this evil duo at weddings and funerals, so don't go out of your way to be unpleasant, but inviting them is just prolonging the suffering. If they give your son a nice gift, will he feel obliged to keep them in his life?

Perhaps you could give FIL permission to invite his brother, but don't do it yourself. It's not honest, and really, a kindness to no one, since the bitch and bastard really won't be welcome guests, and I'd imagine, most of your nice relatives would prefer not to see them.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:19 PM on April 2, 2008

Sorry, I'm mean, god god, YES,-- feel good about not inviting them.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:22 PM on April 2, 2008

High road: invite them, seat them with whichever relatives hate them least, grit your teeth and greet them once at the door, have your son greet them when he does the circuit, tell him to thank them for the present if they brought one, wave goodbye to them at the end of the evening, and otherwise ignore them.

Middle road: ask your FIL and your husband what happens if you don't invite them, and just don't make a big deal of them not being invited. What will they do if you all just forget they exist? Turn up anyway? But if your husband, son or father-in-law insist on it, switch to high road or low road.

Low road: invite them, ensure the invitation says "don't feel you have to come" however you can, and if they do come, make them wish they hadn't. Put them on the least desirable table, across the room from you and your son and your FIL, between the band and the parents with infants. Seat them with anyone else you don't like, especially those who have a tendency to get staggering drunk and/or loudly tell boring stories or argue politics or religion. Slip the waiter $20 to make sure they're supplied with a wide variety and large amount of alcohol, salad or similar very light meal, and a dairy-based dessert. While this may be fun, it's a mean thing to do. While this may be a mean thing to do, it may be fun. It's your karma. :)

If you find that you couldn't be so mean, or family loyalty requires you treat them well if they come, then that answers your question, really. We're all forced to associate with unpleasant people from time to time.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:00 PM on April 2, 2008

aeschenkarnos-- I know you were trying to make the low road sound unattractive, but instead you made it deliciously fun. And you're sensible. Damn you, angel on our collective shoulder, you're probably right.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:59 PM on April 2, 2008

Nthing everyone who says to invite them.....and you might have to ask them to make aliyah if your son doesn't have enough aunts and uncles to fill out the quota (I know: SNARL). You can then stick them at the leftover cousin table at the reception.

What happened at mine was not only did my grandmother and her second husband (my biological grandfather had cut my mother off when I was four and didn't reconcile with her for another three years) not bother to learn the prayer, but their younger cokehead son didn't show up at all (after calling me a few days previously to practice it). Thank god for a great aunt who pitched in!
posted by brujita at 10:05 PM on April 2, 2008

We have a similar situation in my husband's family. My FIL's brother is evil and mean and petty and a thief; treated Dad HORRIBLY when their mother passed. Still, he & his beeyotch wife were invited to Mom & Dad's 50th wedding anniversary party.

And karma came to the rescue. I was serving cake to guests, and a flying ant (it was June, so lots of bugs attended too) landed on a piece of cake. Rather than chuck it, I just picked the ant off and gave it to Uncle S***head, with a big smile.

Petty? Very. Satisfying? Extraordinarily so. Especially 'cause I immediately went and whispered to my husband what I'd done, and we went outside and rolled around on the ground laughing for a good ten minutes.

So, even though not inviting them would make you feel better, who knows what kind of opportunities the universe is just waiting to drop into your lap if you do invite them?
posted by tigerjade at 7:38 AM on April 3, 2008

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