It’s fine to invite to a party just the child who is the close friend of the birthday boy or girl, or bar or bat mitzvah. It’s not fine to pointedly include the entire family minus one. I’m going to assume that many years ago your brother “Jeremy” didn’t dismember this other family’s cat and they’ve been waiting ever since for him to turn into Jeffrey Dahmer. More plausibly, in order to keep the guest list down at the bar mitzvah, the other family said, “Well, Jeremy isn’t a playmate of any of our kids’, so we can leave him off.” It’s unfortunate that this metastasized into a longtime break between the parents. What’s weird is that it’s now seemed to turned into a permanent blackballing of your brother. The Jewish High Holy Days are coming up and at Yom Kippur we read about the scapegoat ("The goat will bear upon itself all their iniquities ..." Leviticus 16:22) which your brother seems to have become for mysterious reasons. Since you’re close to the groom, you’re the ideal person to speak up. Approach this lightly, as if there has simply been an oversight: “Dan, we’re so excited about your wedding, but I think maybe a card got lost in the mail because everyone on our side was invited except Jeremy.” That might be enough to get another “save the date” issued. But if Dan gives some silly reason why Jeremy is excluded then you can explain you don’t want to dictate his guest list, but this is an exclusion you think needs to be rectified. Say since your entire mishpucha has been invited, his explanation doesn’t make sense and the result is harmful. You don’t have to organize a family boycott, but presumably some number of you will decline. As for the shower, I’m afraid that will have to go under the heading of “the best laid plans …”
My boyfriend and I have been together for two years, which means I am "co-parent" to his adorable, elderly Labrador. She's 16 and recently had a major health scare, requiring a vet bill of $2,300. My boyfriend asked if I wanted to help with the bill and I agreed to contribute $500. He said he thinks I should pay half, which would be a major financial hit. I'm also concerned about setting a precedent for future dog health issues. The vet has said the dog is "on borrowed time." I want be a supportive boyfriend and show my love for my boyfriend as well as his (our?) dog, so am I a jerk for not offering to pay half?
When a dog is 16 years old and a veterinarian announces she’s on “borrowed time” it doesn’t make sense to borrow money for medical bills. You all would have been better off if during the scare you could have had a blunt talk with the vet about how much money would buy how much of a delay of the inevitable. Be as emotionally supportive as you can, but explain to your boyfriend while it’s wonderful your beloved pooch has outlived the canine actuarial tables, you can’t afford to be more generous.
More Dear Prudence Columns
“Past Imperfect: I want to bury my wretched childhood, but the new in-laws insist on a rehash.” Posted Aug. 18, 2011.
“Fibber McGee Comes Clean: Prudie advises an elderly man consumed with shame over his chronic lies.” Posted Aug. 11, 2011.
“Take My Wife, Please: I convinced her to bed another man, and now I'm insanely jealous.” Posted Aug. 4, 2011.
“A Minor Flaw: I'm dating a man who was charged with soliciting a teen for sex; I wish I'd never discovered this!” Posted July 28, 2011.
More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts
“The Nudist Next Door: Dear Prudence advises a reader whose new neighbor needs better curtains—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Sept. 6, 2011.
“Type "R" for Revenge: Dear Prudence advises a woman who got her cheating ex fired by sending a nasty email—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Aug. 29, 2011.
“Sexy Cougar or Dangerous Predator?: Dear Prudence offers advice about a May-December encounter that the victim deems harmless—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Aug. 8, 2011.
“Baby Blues: Dear Prudence advises a woman who regrets adopting a child—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Aug. 1, 2011.