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Graduation Dilemma

(74 Posts)
newnanny Tue 15-Jan-19 14:39:09

I am very close to my dniece. she is not getting on well with her dm, my dsis for some time, about 4-5 years. I get on very well with my dsis also. My dsis knows I have been sending my dniece a monthly allowance to help her out financially as i know my dsis can't help her. My dsis knows and is happy I can afford to her her dd. My dn will be graduating in June. I had always expected she would either invite her dm and dd or her dm and dbf who she has been dating for over 3 years. My dilemma is that she has now asked me to attend to watch her graduate. She has also asked her boyfriend of over three years. She only gets two tickets. I would so love to go and be there for her but it will gut her Mum, my dsis when she realises she is not invited. It might make it worse if I go. My dsis has 4 dc. Her dd is the eldest. 2 dc are not academic and unlikley to go to university and other wants armed forces. My dniece and I have always been close and she rings me for a chat quite often on the phone. My dsis knows she rings me weekly and says she only rings her once a term and dd does not go home at end of term. My dsis says she is glad her dd has me. My dniece has had depression for about two years and recently told me she thinks it is getting better. I wonder whether stress of doing full time degree and working up to 30 hours each week to keep herself was too much for her. My dilemma if I do go to graduation my ds may be shattered. I think she just assumes she and her dh will be invited and does not know her dd has invited her boyfriend or me. My dsis and I have a very strong relationship but I think taking her place at graduation would be pushing it. If I don't go I don't think my dniece will invite her dm or dd anyway as she has told me they contributed to her depression and she has had to have therapy for almost two years now. Her dbf has been really good to her, very supportive and always there for her. She has apparently talked it through with her therapist and decided to ask the two people she feels are most supportive of her. If I tell her I can't go I am worried she will feel rejected and her mental health is not stable. What should I do. I have thought of saying I could not go on that day but can't think of anything important enough to be realistic. I just think I am going to end up hurting one of the people I love most in the world. I wish dniece had not asked me.

knickas63 Tue 15-Jan-19 15:23:24

Speak to your neice. Tell her you love her very much and are extremely proud of her, but you know how much it will hurt your sister, and therfore in the long run you, if you get to go and not her. Explain that you will always be there for her, but ask her to do this for her mum, for you sake if no one else's. Good luck!

Feelingmyage55 Tue 15-Jan-19 15:30:01

When is graduation? If it is July, that is a while away. Would your niece perhaps be open to applying for extra tickets, if they are available? Sometimes there is a waiting list or a draw for the extras. Perhaps she could find out. By the way do not worry about expensive lunches or whatever. Some young people now organise a picnic ( with drinks ).

grannyactivist Tue 15-Jan-19 16:01:24

Have a heart to heart chat with your sister and try to explain, just as you have here that the invitation has put you on the spot; that you would be delighted to attend the graduation, but you understand that it may be very hurtful for your sister. Ask her what her thoughts are.

I think that honesty is the best policy and if your relationship with your sister is good she will be understanding of your dilemma.

Bridgeit Tue 15-Jan-19 16:04:57

I would suggest you talk to your niece to say that you would love to accept but think that first you both need to talk to DS together to see how she feels about it.
Could you be perhaps organise to have a meal altogether before or after the event but on the same , previous or next day ?

Jalima1108 Tue 15-Jan-19 16:14:52

Some graduations are not until the autumn so perhaps you may have time to sort this out amicably.
June is quite early for a graduation; is that the date she leaves or the date of the ceremony?
Ultimately, though, it is your niece's decision and you seem to have been very supportive of her.

luluaugust Tue 15-Jan-19 16:17:42

newnanny whatever you decide to do I would try and do it face to face if at all possible.

mcem Tue 15-Jan-19 17:10:07

It's usually quite easy to get extra tickets for graduations. I'd try that first then organise a meal for all attending.

Jalima1108 Tue 15-Jan-19 17:39:34

I thought I'd posted that too mcem , about the extra tickets but some posts have not appeared today
GN is still very s l o w on my tablet

Jalima1108 Tue 15-Jan-19 17:40:06

I should qualify that by saying some of my posts

Anniebach Tue 15-Jan-19 17:44:28

Her mother should be there, you are close to your niece, she respects you and surely would take your advice

newnanny Tue 15-Jan-19 18:04:43

I don't know if she could get extra tickets or not but i am going to ask when i get the opportunity. Unfortunately I believe my dn does not want her dm or dd to attend. She seems to believe she had bad childhood. After talking with therapist she has stated she was treated like Cinderella. She did have to help out with looking after younger sibling whilst my dsis and dsil both worked as both on low incomes. My dsis and dbil love her very much and must be very hurt by what she has said to them. Therapy has made her believe she had bad childhood. Now she is virtually refusing to see them. She did not go home at Xmas this year. I was worried about her but did not invite her to come to us even though my children asked me to, as cousins keep in touch by Facebook, but I thought it best to let her work extra hours which is what she told her parents she would do. I did pay £50 into her account and text her to book a nice meal somewhere or buy a small turkey crown and cook as i hated the thought of her not having a Xmas dinner. dn has never had good relationship with her Dad. Course finishes in June, Graduation Ceremony is end of September. My dsis had already mentioned getting new outfit and seemed to be looking forward to it. We chatted about what would suit her and she does not buy much new clothes. This was before my dn asked me to go and I found out she was not inviting her dm or dd. TBH I was shocked and speechless. What i am worried about is if i say i can't go as it would upset my dsis my dn is already depressed and i am worried she will feel rejected by me and we have always been so very close for example she came on holiday for three weeks with me most years when she was growing up.

EllanVannin Tue 15-Jan-19 18:16:49

I was never personally/formally invited to my nephew's graduation some years ago, but I just helped myself and went, sitting at the back of the cathedral but I could still see what was going on and met the family there after the presentation.
Obviously the family were at the front in the best seats.

Grammaretto Tue 15-Jan-19 18:34:09

My DMIL wanted to attend our DC's graduations so extra tickets were applied for and obtained.
However your DN has put you in an impossible position. Does she not realise this? You'll have to tell her.
You could say it's both of you or no-one. You are not her fairy godmother whatever her therapist thinks.

Coolgran65 Tue 15-Jan-19 18:34:33

It sounds to me that your dn just does not want her dm or df to be at the graduation. By not keeping close contact with them and not going home at Christmas it sort of reinforces her feelings.

I don't know if a chat with you would convince her to ask them even if she could get extra tickets. Which of course leaves it at short notice for her parents if they do get asked, will they be aware they were on the 'maybe' list.

Such a sad situation, and so difficult for you.

Perhaps, if your dn has absolutely no intention of having her parents at the graduation, the time has come for her to make the position clear to the parents (with your support to both dn and d sis) and for her to deal with the resulting outcome. I wonder if you discuss with your dn how she thinks her parents will feel.... has she thought it through.

I do understand that she is not emotionally strong but dn surely realises that there will be some sort of a reaction, unless your sister and dbil are super understanding.

PECS Tue 15-Jan-19 18:40:47

If you persuade your dn it would be better for all if she invited her mum & dad you could offer to host a post grad meal if you could afford to ..or suggest there is a meal and you will be there & pay for some bubbly?

SueDonim Tue 15-Jan-19 19:01:08

What a sad situation, Newnanny. Do your niece's parents know why their daughter is refusing to have much to do with them? Have they ever had a chance to defend the 'Cinderella' accusations against them? If not, is there any way you can encourage some rapprochement between them to resolve this issue on a wider basis?

OutsideDave Tue 15-Jan-19 19:40:04

It sounds as though regardless of whether you attend or not, your sister and BIL are not going to be invited. Your sister and her husband will be hurt, whether you attend or not. I would hope if you sat down with sis and explained your fears about DN and her depression she would encourage you to attend in her place as DN intends. There is nothing sadder than a graduate having family refuse to attend to support them. She’s asked you to attend and you should go. Hopefully sis can put aside her hurt and let you go to support her child. Maybe if she handles it gracefully it would help her and DN reconcile. Has DN and her mum ever done counseling together? It sounds as though DN is hurting. Don’t hurt her more by choosing your sisters pride over her feelings.

NotAGran55 Tue 15-Jan-19 19:42:47

At my son’s university the ceremony was streamed to a hall at the uni for overflow guests . Perhaps this might be an option ?

Luckylegs9 Tue 15-Jan-19 20:32:32

I think your niece is being very hurtful to her mother and she is well aware of that. How must your sister feel, knowing how close she is to you.?If you go you are in a way snubbing your sister. I would not go. Your niece needs to grow up and depression or not realise it's not all about her. My loyalty would first be my sister.

newnanny Wed 16-Jan-19 11:45:13

My dn has told her dp how she feels about her childhood and it caused an argument. She has not been back home since. She did not go back much anyway. I do not live close to either dn or dsis so did not comment on argument and steered well clear but my dsis did tell me about it. I don't think therapist has been particularly helpful and told my dsis this. It is true my dn did have to do a lot of childcare for her youngest dsis but her parents both had to work full time keep roof over their head it was not as though they were off having fun somewhere. So every half term and summer break she ws expected to spend all of it looking after her young sister. I did not live close or I would have offered childcare myself so I took my dn on holiday to give her a break and helped to pay for childcare for youngest dn. Now i take my younger niece for 3 or 4 weeks every year so my dsis does not have to find and pay for childcare. I think my dsis just has the expectation that even though they have had big argument she and dh would still be invited to graduation. I have told dsis that when dn gets older and understands more she will forgive her and they will be closer again. I think i will have to pay visit to my dn and tell her she must tell her dm that she has invited her dbf and only 2 tickets and see if she will do that. I think I will also suggest I don't go to graduation but would love a large photo to go on wall and for dn to come on holiday with us again for a couple of weeks and invite the bf too. I do help my dsis out whenever i can too. It is just one of those difficult situations where someone will be hurt whatever i do. my dn is a lovely girl and she was young when she had to take on a lot of responsibility and for many years of her own childhood so I do understand both sides. I just wish counselor would have asked her what alternative her dm had.

newnanny Wed 16-Jan-19 11:47:23

Thank you all for helpful suggestions.

Septimia Wed 16-Jan-19 11:57:43

I'm new and have joined to comment on this problem.
My husband and I both graduated in the last few years - just in time to retire - so we have some idea of the process. Often there are additional tickets available later when it is know how many of the allocated ones have been taken up. Some universities stream the ceremony to another room on campus so that more people can attend (still need tickets) and/or put it online so that family can watch in real time. Maybe one of these possibilities will solve your problem.

SueDonim Wed 16-Jan-19 12:35:58

It does sound as though the therapist isn't hugely helpful. Surely the way forward would be to reconcile the two parties, not cut each other out of their lives.

I can well imagine that your sister was hurt by her daughter's accusations, but I think your sister should still acknowledge her child's distress about the situation even though there was no other choice. It's understandable that you sis wants to defend herself but I think if she can say to her daughter 'I hear you what you're saying and I understand why you're upset,' it might go some way to healing.

Jalima1108 Wed 16-Jan-19 14:57:07

I hope you can persuade your DN to ask for more tickets for her parents and that you all can go and that that could be a first step towards a reconciliation

However, if she is estranged from her parents, I'm surprised her mother expects to go and is planning her outfit.

It's strange that we can all have different memories of our upbringing, a different perspective on what it was like than that of our parents or siblings. She perhaps needs to discuss this with them so that they can all work through it.

If not, I really think that, as you have supported her so much and you are the one she chose to be there, you should honour her wishes and go for her sake.