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To want to attend my grandchilds christening

(29 Posts)
happynan Mon 09-May-11 09:56:33

My son and his partner have arranged to have their child christened on a weekday which is impossible for myself, my husband and several members of our family to attend, I have tried to talk to them about how much it means for us to attend the christening but they are adament that they will not change the day (they have a family friend that my son has never met coming from abroad and have arranged it around him as my sons partner wants him to be a godparent). I feel deeply hurt that they will not discuss the matter with us and that they have totally dismissed how hurt we feel. My sons partner will not speak with me at all now and I feel I am losing them all.

supernana Mon 09-May-11 10:16:49

Oh dear! I feel so sad for you. It is natural for you to wish to attend such a special occasion. I do feel that you are being treated badly and have every right to feel deeply hurt. Making a fuss isn't going to achieve anything, I fear, as minds have been made up. It will so difficult for you to bite the bullet...but, I would choose a beautiful card, insert a loving message (no recriminations) and wait...I wish you

happynan Mon 09-May-11 11:05:51

Thankyou supernana for your kind words, what you say makes sense, I will have to just bite the bullet. sad

senua Mon 09-May-11 11:26:11

What is it about the event that is important to you? If it is the religious bit then you are a bit stuck but if it is the family-gathering bit then can you convince them to continue the celebration in the evening or have another one at the weekend - you can't be the only ones to have trouble getting time off work.
What are son's DP's family doing, are they having the same problem?

Can you put the ball back in their court: say that you really want to share this special moment with their PFB (and other such fawning stuff) and what do they suggest is the best solution.

happynan Mon 09-May-11 12:14:46

I want to see my grandson welcomed into the church with all the people that love him around him, I am not worried about the celebration afterwards. My sons partners family are mostly self employed and have no problem getting the time off.

They have said they have made their choice and won't discuss it further.

lucyjordan Mon 09-May-11 12:47:43

Why is it so impossible for you to attend?

Why should your sons partner arrange everything around your wishes?

If it is so important to you to be there, then i am sure there would be ways and means for you to arrange it so you could get the time off, I know nothing would stop me from attending my grandsons christening, apart from illhealth, and that sort of thing doesnt only manifest itself on weekdays.

Are you not perhaps being a little obstreperous in your attempts to have your wishes conceded to? I get a sense of disharmony between you and and your sons partner and also a sense that you are losing control over your son, and its that issue that is really your bone of contention, and if it wasnt this christening you would find something else not to your liking either.

hairfullofsnakes Mon 09-May-11 14:21:48

I sort of agree with lucyjordan - it is not up to you to be so vocal about how things should be and you are fighting a losing battle. They are the parents and can and should do things as they want. Why can't you take time off? Surely you can take a day's holiday from work etc? They probably feel you are being stubborn and controlling and this will, as the previous poster said, alienate you further. It is time to change your attitude to this.

As a gesture, why not have a little gathering at your house one weekend after the christening as a post celebration - BUT - DO ask your son and DIL first! Show them the respect they probably want as the parents and you will sweeten their attitude.

happynan Mon 09-May-11 15:58:41

It is impossible for me to attend on this day because my contract of employment does not permit me to take time off at this particular time, one week later and there would be no problem. My son has always been aware that at this time I could not take time off as I have been in this profession for the past 11 years. If there was any way of being there I would be! I am certainly not asking for everything to be arranged around MY wishes however knowing what an important part my sons grandparents and other family members have played in his life I had hoped that they would have wanted us to be present.

And to suggest lucyjordan that I am being obstreperous (meaning aggresively defiant) is rude and inflamatory. I come from a very large family who have never fallen out over anything. Perhaps you are not used to a caring loving family where people try and hurt others feelings deliberatly!

happynan Mon 09-May-11 16:01:05

Oops my lst paragraph should have read "where people DO NOT try and hurt others feeling deliberatly"

babyjack Mon 09-May-11 17:00:49

I think I would accept their decision however upsetting it is for you. Could they video the Christening for you? and then all meet up another time to share the event, if not then photo's?

Given that they have made it so difficult for you to attend I suspect that they are making some kind of stand about their choices being accepted and letting you know who is going to be boss when it comes to the children

At the end of the day your DGC will know nothing of what goes on - keep a good relationship with his parents and pray that he will want to be confirmed in the future then he can ask whoever he likes!!!

lucyjordan Mon 09-May-11 17:23:01


I have a very happy caring family, one which values everybody elses opinion, and one where we are able to talk through any problems that may arise. We are a family which says what it means and means what it says. We do not skirt around issues, we do not fake affection, neither do we harbour grudges or bad feelings. The main thing that we have is a respect for each other, a respect of each others opinions and beliefs. and also the ability to accept that sometimes opinions will clash. That doesnt mean people have to fall out of favour, with each other, or stop speaking to each other, but it does mean that we can accept that not everybody will agree with everybody all the time, and that even if opinions differ we are all entitled to have the opinion we hold. What we dont have is the right to force that opinion onto somebody else. Being gracious and accepting that sometimes we might have got it wrong plays a big part in family harmony, and being able to accept that our values might not always concur with others, goes a long way in bringing about that harmony that we share.

You mention that the date of this christening has been arranged around someone you son hasnt met, and your sons partner wishes to have as a godparent. That sounds like sour grapes to me. It comes across as if you feel you are being rejected by your son in favour of someone he doesnt even know, because that is what his partner wishes.

Get over it!!! You're not his main priority any more, his partner and his child are, and any man worthy of being called a man, will always put his partner and his childrens interests before his parents, thats what growing up means..

You were the one who asked the question, am i being unreasonable, i think you are, and have voiced my opinion accordingly. If you didnt want opinions that were not similar to your own, and only wanted sychophantic replies, then you should have said as much, and i wouldnt have wasted my time posting.

outnumbered Mon 09-May-11 17:45:10

oh dear OP has been in for a bit of a bashing, are you being unreasonable? hmmm.?

I have to say I veiw a christening as a family thing and would want everyone there that matters, however its not always easy to plan family events around everyone, especialy overseas visitors, and at this time of year churches are busy, so that may have been a concideration too.

Is there no way you can get the time off work, not even half a day? special circumstances and all that?

Is there any reason why it was thought that you wouldn't want to attend? religous differences?

Were you consulted before it was booked?

Magmar Mon 09-May-11 21:09:48

I'm so sorry, happynan, as this is such an important and special family occasion and celebration. My mother and stepfather attended my brother's inlaws' Ruby Wedding party instead of attending my daughter's First Holy Communion celebration. I could not comprehend how they found that so much more important. That was 18 years ago. You don't forget but you will get over it and compensate. Your son may be feeling very awkward about it - it appears it may not be his decision. As has already been suggested, send a lovely card and gift and build bridges. There will be lots of birthdays and Christmases in the future to look forward to, providing you tread carefully now.

Pathfinder Mon 09-May-11 21:50:24

Dear Happynan,

As Magmar says I would do is send them a lovely letter and card telling them that you understand how important it is for the person from abroad to be there and how sorry you are that your unreasonable contract of employment prevents you from being present on that day but that you will be present in spirit.

Send the partner a separate card telling her that the act of having your grandchild provides a permanent blood link with her and that you want to be friends with her and look forward to getting to know her better as your grandchild grows. Tell her you are sorry there has been this difference of opinion. If she is precious to your son then she is precious to you.

Yes, yes, I know, only a saint would be able to do this but listen closely - do you want to smooth things over so that you can enjoy your grandchild growing in the future? or do you want her fuming and glimmering with resentment each time you see her storing up loads of "your flippin mother...." comments to pour on your son's head each time you leave.

This is a "bite your tongue and be nice" investment for the future. No, you are not being unreasonable but what I suggest is a damage limitation exercise to ensure you get to spend time with your grandchild in the future, without an unpleasant atmosphere.

glammanana Mon 09-May-11 22:47:24

Good advice from last two ladies ,have you thought maybe you could
possibly have a blessing at church at a later date for the family who
cannot attend,as I am sure it may be difficult for some other members
of the family to attend on a week day as well as yourselves.
Is this your son + dils first child? She may feel threatened by the relationship you have with your boy or may feel not included in the family,a couple
of my friends have experienced problems after 1st child arrived so if
thats the case stand back and wait it will get better,promise.
So send that card
Good Luck

happynan Tue 10-May-11 11:36:31

Many many thanks glammanana, pathfinder, magmar, babyjack and outnumbered for your lovely comments which I will certainly take onboard, its great to get opinions from like minded people. Thanks again.

lifestillrelevant Tue 10-May-11 14:12:07

Honestly lucyjordan I did not know such glowing harmony actually existed in families. What an amazing family you must be, all of you. I am not sure I could live up to your standards all the time but you clearly must do. Does this harmony and light exist all the time?? How on earth is it acheived?. I have read your post but still can't quite believe it to be real and yet it must be if you say so..
I have visions of each of you saying exactly what you think to each other and the other person calmly accepting it, then putting his or her totally opposing point of view across in a measured way and so it goes on and on.
I have a lovely family, 2 grown up children and two grandsons but I know we often tip toe around each other so as not to upset and we have been known to have a few upsets, none of them harmonious but it all works out in the end.
I congratulate you on your and your family's self confidence in being able to say exactly what you think to each other knowing that harmony will prevail.

nanapippa Tue 10-May-11 14:50:40

Sadly this appears to be a typical daughter in law, mother in law situation which sadly are all too many. Basically you have two choices. Choice one is to be loving and supportive of you D in L, at all times, even if you do not like the situation, knowing that you will be included where possible in your grand-child's life. Choice two is to fall out with her and miss out in the future both with your son and your grand-children. Hypocritical it may be, but unfortunately that is so often the way with D in L's. I know which one I would choose.....

lucyjordan Tue 10-May-11 16:46:09


My happy family life didnt just happen, we all work at it. Nobody shilly shallies round anybody, and nobody gets involved with anothers clash of opinion either. If i dont see eye to eye with my daughter, i dont go moaning to my son, and vice versa. My son doesnt get involved he is neither ally or foe, or even referee. None of us look for support from the party that is neutral, and the party that is neutral doesnt interfere or get involved in any way. Any issue raised is dealt with by those concerned, in a manner that doesnt affect the harmony of others, and in a quiet and reasonable manner

We have little disharmony amongst ourselves, but of course nobody can agree with everybody all the time on every issue, but on the occassions when a differing of opinion may arise, we all share similar principles on how these moments are dealt with. Being a family, my children were brought up to exercise tolerance because that was how i was brought up, i was also brought up to respect others points of view, even if i didnt agree with them myself,. These qualities tend to be passed down, or picked up by other members of the famiily or anyone who happens to share the same environment. By respecting anothers point of view doesnt mean one has to agree with it, or stay silent. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but one has to learn also that not everyone will appreciate it, and nobody should expect others to adopt their opinion simply because its theirs, and they think they know best.

People who have grown up amongst adults that shout all the time, tend to grow up shouting themselves, those who see violence used as a way of getting a point over,, will tend to use that method themselves. Simplyb because they think thats the way its done. If you are not shown alternatives you wont know there are any,

My family simply enjoys peace and harmony, because those are the examples we have all grown up with. We often have evenings of debate where differing opinions will be raised on various subjects, but at the end of the debate we can all put our differences aside and still be friends.

gordonlacey Tue 10-May-11 23:03:23

I think you would be very unnatural not to feel hurt by your exclusion from the Christening. By definition this is normally an occasion where the whole family with close friends welcome the baby into the church and celebrate his birth.You are certainly not being unreasonable. I think that they are being insensitive to say the least.

I also agree that you probably have to bite the bullet or risk souring your relationship with your DiL to the point where your contact with your grandson may be affected.
Good luck. I hope you can all get over this and restore good relationships.

maxgran Fri 13-May-11 13:47:13

Surely there must be more to it than you have mentioned on here ?
Is there a history of you interfering ?
Have there been other accasions where you may have been a problem to them ?
Do you normally get on well with your Son's partner ?
It seems strange that a son would not try to make sure his parents could attend their grandchilds christening ?
For your son's partner not to be speaking to you seems to suggest that you have been a bit insistent on this issue ? Usually when people shut someone out its because its the only way to shut them up !

happynan Mon 16-May-11 09:48:47

To answer your questions maxgran
There is no more to it other than as stated in my original post.
I have never had a chance to interfere and wouldn't dream of it anyway.
As far as I am aware I have never been a problem to them (or had the chance to be)
I go out of my way to get on well with my sons partner but there have been occasions where she appears to have gone out of her way to upset me.
I also think it very strange that both my son and his partner has not gone out of their way to ensure we are there however it would appear that it is more important for my sons partner that this friend of the family is there than us even though my son has never met this person.
I saw my son and partner yesterday and it was very pleasant the christening wasn't mentioned as I didn't want to ruin the precious little time I have woth my grandson.

shelaghv Mon 16-May-11 10:10:21

hi happynan so sorry to hear of ur prob im catholic so know the importance of you wishing to be there when ur grandchild is welcomed into the church as a granny four times have been involved in all their christenings have made shawls and dresses for them and been involved every step so i know how u must feel like u are being left out at such an important start of their lives try not to let this blow up into a big disagreement in mil dil relationships the least thing can cause terrible bitterness down the line ive been there with my own mil god rest her u seem very caring and more importantly very sensible so try to keep the peace as a motherinlaw myself i know how hard that can be

granmouse Mon 16-May-11 16:28:59

Hi happynan I absoluely understand your hurt-of course you want to be at this first special occasion and I find your son's attitude hard to understand.I agree with the others-you cant change anything so do what you can with a card and a 'forever' present.A beautiful book which you can inscribe with a Christening wish and then read with him as he gets older is a possible idea-look for a commemorative edition of Winnie the Pooh or Beatrix Potter or Grimms fairy Tales.I hope you get some lovely photos of the day.

jackyann Tue 17-May-11 06:23:17

It does seem that there are a number of unusual issues here that have created the "perfect storm" including a minister / elder willing to perform a weekday christening. The parents must be important members of the congregation or very persuasive!

This godparent is quite unusual too - he cannot arrange another time, yet he brings qualities deeply valued. I wonder if this includes money / social status / valued contacts.

Some here will remember when the Grundys asked Caroline to be Willyum's gm for similar reasons. In the wonderful world of Ambridge she has been a great help to him.

ITA with everyone who says grin, bear it, send a lovely present, coo over photos etc.keep the peace
But a bit of me would be noticing over the years what the valued gf is contributing!!!!