DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband will soon be filing for divorce. I have, for several years past, presented my mother-in-law with a Mother’s Day corsage because she requested one from me several years ago, and I have continued the tradition to avoid the discomfort of being asked to buy one.
When I am no longer her daughter-in-law, is it appropriate for me to order her a Mother’s Day corsage as a gift from our young children? My husband and his sister will most likely not remember to order her one, as they have never done it in the past and left the task up to me, or perhaps not even thought of it at all.
I have heard, secondhand, that she will still welcome me in her home after the divorce, and I assume she will want to continue as cordial a relationship as possible, as she will still be my children’s grandmother.
It is unclear to me at this point if our divorce will be bitter and ugly or if it will be a cooperative process. By the end, my mother-in-law may come to hate me.
GENTLE READER: As you have been sending those corsages to avoid annoyance, rather than out of affection, you could hardly be blamed for stopping. Yet Miss Manners can think of reasons that you might want to continue.
One is as a reminder of the tie you have with her through the children. Another has to do with the possibility of your being vilified during an unpleasant divorce. It might not help, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have fresh evidence of your having been gracious to her.