DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have always been on the fence about having children. I ultimately decided it would depend on who I meet and get serious with.
As fate would have it, I met someone who doesn’t want to have kids for medical reasons. We have discussed it, and she is open to adoption if I ever want to have kids.
The issue here is my family. I have one brother and two sisters. All are married (or have been), and have two children each. For the past 10 to 15 years, they have badgered me.
It has always bothered me, and I didn’t know how to respond that I wasn’t even sure I wanted kids. The subtle hints have only increased since they have met my partner and know how serious our relationship is. Once, they even asked with her present, which made her a bit uncomfortable.
To top it all off, my father has no brothers, and my brother has two girls – so they have subtly alluded that it’s on me to have a son.
My family is close, and this will not create a rift between us, but what would be the best way to break the news to them that I am currently not planning to have children? And that if I do, it will be an adoption?
GENTLE READER: “I am currently not planning to have children. And if I do, it will be an adoption.”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A not-very-close friend of mine has become a grandmother. She sent me a blind-copied email suggesting that I could help the exhausted parents by providing them with a home-cooked meal.
A sign-up link was provided, and she was so kind as to suggest that if cooking and delivering the meal was too difficult, I could order and have it delivered from one of the new parents’ favorite restaurants (list included). Or I could send money, and she would pick up the meal and deliver it in my stead.
Both parents are employed and were on parental leave. I couldn’t help but feel that this was presumptuous on my friend’s part – both that I would be giving a gift and that I would want to direct the gift to the parents as opposed to the new baby.
Was I wrong to be offended? Is this how things are done now?
GENTLE READER: Not politely. Miss Manners suggests you therefore respond, “Oh, congratulations on your grandchild. I will be sure to send the parents my best.”
Your best what – and whether or not, and how, you do that – is entirely up to you. No matter how many reminders you get to the contrary.
Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website missmanners.com.