Writing into Slate's 'Dear Prudence' advice column a mother outlined a conundrum she was having in relation to her daughter's nuptials.
Here's the sticky situation:
'My 27-year-old daughter and her best friend, Katie, have been best friends since they were 4. Katie practically grew up in our house and is like a daughter to me. My daughter recently got engaged to her fiancé and announced that Katie would be the maid of honor (Katie’s boyfriend is also a good friend of my future son-in-law).'
So far so good, Katie seems like the perfect Maid of Honor candidate! But, the letter continues:
'The problem is that Katie walks with a pretty severe limp due to a birth defect (not an underlying medical issue). She has no problem wearing high heels and has already been fitted for the dress, but I still think it will look unsightly if she’s in the wedding procession limping ahead of my daughter. I mentioned this to my daughter and suggested that maybe Katie could take video or hand out programs (while sitting) so she doesn’t ruin the aesthetic aspect of the wedding.'
Yes, we're not making this up - this is a real letter.
'My daughter is no longer speaking to me (we were never that close), but this is her big wedding and I want it to be perfect. All of the other bridesmaids will look gorgeous walking down the aisle with my daughter. Is it wrong to have her friend sit out?'
Imagine: your mother, who admittedly you 'aren't that close too', told you to ditch your best friend (who happens to be incredibly close with your future husband, who 'grew up in your house', and who has presumable been through every major life milestone with you) suggests that she can't be by your side at your wedding because of a birth defect she has absolutely no control over.
Slate apparently had the same reaction we did, and responded perfectly.
'I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around this letter. I encourage you to reread it and to ask yourself that time-honoured question, “Do I sound like a villain in a Reese Witherspoon movie?” You are, presumably, sympathetic to your own situation and are invested in making sure that you come across as reasonable and as caring as possible, and yet you have written a letter indicting yourself at every turn. This girl is “like a daughter” to you, and yet you want to shove her to the side of your other daughter’s wedding just because she walks with a limp. Your daughter’s wedding will be perfect with Katie as a full and honoured member of the bridal party. A limp is not a fly in the ointment; it’s a part of Katie’s life. It is not only wrong to have asked your daughter to consider excluding her best friend over this—it is ableist, and cruel, and it speaks to a massive failure of empathy, compassion, and grace on your part. You must and should apologise to your daughter immediately, and I encourage you to profoundly reconsider the orientation of your heart.'
This article was originally published on New Idea.