DEAR CAROLYN: Our extended family — siblings and kids — have always gathered at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last week I got a text from my sister saying she and her family would be going away for the holiday and would no longer host Christmas Eve at their home.
This came out of the blue and is really upsetting me. My brother and I have both been widowed in the last four years and this event was something we looked forward to because everyone attended and it was a lot of fun. (My brother has grown children; I do not.) We feel surprised and unwanted and don’t understand the decision.
Of course it is their right to celebrate as they wish, and I kick myself for expecting a 30-year tradition to continue on. But I can’t figure out how to feel OK about this. I feel rejected, and I don’t know why they would do that.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so painful if I had a family of my own, but I no longer do. Any advice? I haven’t said anything except “I’m disappointed” to my sister.
Left Out in Minnesota
DEAR LEFT OUT IN MINNESOTA: I’m sorry. Change is hard, changes that subtract time with loved ones are harder, and changes to longstanding tradition (delivered by text, ugh) can feel like a death — as if the tradition itself was a family member, too.
So you don’t have to “feel OK about this.” At least, not now, as you get used to the change. It’s been only a week.
It’s also really good that you stuck to the limited “I’m disappointed” response. As you said yourself, this is their holiday to plan as they choose, so pushback would be inappropriate. Worse, it could sour your relationship with your sister, which could then retroactively tarnish past Christmas Eves.
This disappointment may have come to you from the outside, but your work now is strictly internal and doesn’t involve your sister — except, genuinely, when you’re ready: “I’ll miss the tradition, but I admire you for having the courage to do what you needed. Carrying the expectations of the entire family for three decades can’t have been easy for you.
“Thank you for those 30 years.”
Which beats berating her for the 31st.
Which brings me to the next point: Isn’t fatigue more than enough to explain “why they would do that”? You mention grown kids and 30-year …
Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle