Q: At my wedding six years ago, my mother gave a tipsy, bone-headed toast that implied she wasn't all that fond of my husband. My husband has gotten over it — he and my mom actually have a great relationship — but his parents were completely offended and made it clear at the time that they weren't interested in any joint family hangouts.
This hadn't been a problem, as our parents live 500 miles away from each other, but now my husband and I are expecting our first child. I anticipate some family blending is going to be necessary.
Do you have any advice on how I can mend this unkempt relationship?
Belatedly Joining Families
Carolyn: There's at least some chance they're over the insult, too — or at least far enough past their fury to breathe the same air as your mom. Can't your husband talk to his parents? Say he's over it to the point of enjoying a great relationship with his mother-in-law? Ask them to give her a chance — if not for him, then for their grandchild?
Joining Families again: Husband would rather duck this problem. As in, "Our parents are very different types of people, probably won't enjoy each other, and we should just always keep them separate." I think it needs to be shown that we can all, yes, manage to spend a day with each other without anyone dying at the end.
Carolyn: If you have any kind of warm relationship with your in-laws, then say openly that you'd like to get both families together, and ask what it will take — from you, from your mom — to put your mother's drunken buffoonery behind you.
If you don't, then just throw them all together and expect them to be adults about it.