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Impending Turkey Day DRAMA! Opinions pls.

Little backstory - husband is an only child.  His Mom's parents are the only grandparents that are still living.  He has one aunt (Mom's sister), she has no children and lives with the g-parents.  In past years (prior to marriage) my family has hosted Thanksgiving and inivited my ILs.  They have come, had a wonderful time, etc.  Since then my husband's grandmother has become ill, she can't travel, be out of the house for too long, etc.

Now Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching.  My FIL sent me and my husband an email asking us to call him to discuss Turkey Day plans, implied he'd like us to do it with husband's grandparents and aunt this year, I'm assuming at their home (since Grandmom can't be out for extended periods of time).

Now, my family always hosts Thanksgiving, and it's a much larger affair.  We generally have 15 people or so.  I personally love Thanksgiving with my family and don't really want to miss it.  In order to maximize the holiday and see as many people as possible, I think it makes sense to celebrate Thanksgiving with the ILs on the Saturday or Sunday after.  Problem is, his parents go out of town... Every Weekend, pretty much without exception (meaning yes, they would and HAVE missed get togethers, holidays, etc).  This is actually a long running point of contention with the ILs.  We always get guilt tripped about never seeing them.  But they are out of town (i.e. 90 miles away) every weekend.  Weekends are when most people are free!?!

So if his parents refuse to celebrate on the weekend, should I just suck it up and go?  I feel a little selfish.  His grandmother is sick and we don't know how much longer she has.  But being around them all is taxing.  His aunt is not exactly nice to me (she's implied I "don't give her the time of day" because I don't call her, I often feel she tries to compete with me on who is more important/knows husband better, etc).  No one on that side gave us a card for our wedding which was a little hurtful - I don't blame the sick grandmom or her 96 year old husband, I think the Aunt had something to do with that.

So... thoughts?  Be honest.  Thanks

Edit - it's also not an option for my parents to host T-Day any other day.  Since there are so many people in attendance, I think it makes most sense to celebrate with ILs another day (5 people versus 15... it's a lot easier to switch days when less people are involved.)

 

Re: Impending Turkey Day DRAMA! Opinions pls.

  • If I were you, I would see his parents on Thanksgiving day this year.  Change it the next year or see your parents on Christmas day.  Could your parents do something on the weekend? I know it won't be the whole family, but even if it is just your parents, that is fine too or could you possibly make it to your parent's home for dessert? 

    Now, I understand that you love your family's thanksgiving traditions, but your husband probably loves his too.  This isn't a competition to see which family has the better, bigger thanksgiving,  it is about cherishing time with family. 

    As far as the Aunt is concerned, just be polite and civil.

  • My husband does NOT love his family traditions. HA!  So this isn't all me, figured I should add. 

    Part of me is being defiant, like "Why should WE have to change around OUR plans, when YOU (MIL and FIL) could do this simple thing to make it easier!?"  Especially after years of missed holidays, coupled with guilt trips.  I think they just expect us to drop everything when they want, to do what they want, etc.  And when they don't get their way, they get pissy.  (FWIW, I offered to make Thanksgiving dinner for the ILs last year, bring it to the G-parents house, etc, and my MIL and FIL declined because they were out of town... now suddenly it's a priority?  The G-mother's illness isn't new, that's why I offered last year!).

    Furthermore, I'm thinking "Why would we do something that is so uncomfortable and unpleasant when we could be happy and enjoy the day?"  The obvious answer - making everyone happy and spending time with the G-parents who are old and not in the best of health.

    The Aunt, I've learned to tune her out, and I'm always kind.  I guess I'm annoyed that I feel like we are the one's making the sacrifice, you know?  Like we are sacrificing a Thanksgiving tradition we love, we are sacrificing having a pleasant day off, etc.

     

  • Honestly? You come off as a little immature around this. Nothing says youth like my family's way is better.

    Adult married couples tend to take turns around these sorts of things. One year TG with your folks, one year with his. I always liked my family's huge Christmas Open House with 50+ people coming over some time during the day. But for DH they were a nightmare of getting along with people he didn;t really know and who didn;t go out of their way to include him. We tweaked out plans so I got a little of the day and we did the rest as a couple.

    The aunt sounds unpleasant, but all families have at least one such nutjob. At least you know which one it is.

  • Thanks for your honesty Auntie.  This isn't about "my traditions are better than yours."  I think I'm being defiant and resentful and it's manifesting in immaturity in how to handle this (not that it makes it right!).  Neither me or my husband really enjoys being around his family.  Top that with them blowing off other holidays/traditions to do what they want to do... it's making me an a$$hole I guess!

    I think I'll leave this up to my husband, and I'll do what he wants to do.  If we wind up doing T day with my ILs, I have to remember it's to make the G parents happy above all else.  This is why I've been feeling (and I suppose ACTING) like a jerk, it's more about them.  They are quite old, not in great health, etc.  We really don't know how much time they have left.

    I got stop the tit for tat sh!t with my ILs.  I've been making an effort to stop, I guess it still gets the best of me sometimes!

     Thank you again.

  • Well your husband still loves his family right ?  I would just spend dinner with them and then , if you can, see your family for dessert.  Then switch it up next year.

    Now are his parents jerks to you guys.  I mean I know his aunt is, but how are his parents ?

  • His parents are tough cookies!  My MIL has had a history of saying not so nice things, and like the Aunt, almost competing for her son's affections.  I've learned how to handle and pick my battles.  My FIL is pretty selfish.  The reason they missed Mother's Day this year is because HE wanted to be at their out of town property.  If it were up to her, she probably would have made the visit to our house (we hosted).  They also called us on our honeymoon (read prior post!), tend to monopolize our time, etc.  They aren't bad people, they just have bad behaviors.  And I am guilty of going into this with the expectation that they would change over time.  Not happening, that's the reality.  And I'm ok with it, really.  Like I said, this crap gets the best of me sometimes.

    The biggest point of contention here is the weekends and being out of town.  In my mind, celebrating on the weekend is the easiest solution.  And I would still have my ILs to my folks house for actual Turkey Day too (not sure if that was communicated!).  But ultimately it's not my call.

  • I guess you're perhaps not seeing that you're asking them to change THEIR tradition (weekend trips away) to honor YOUR tradition.  Nobody should have to change anything if they don't want to.  If it doesn't work for them - it just doesn't work and the consequence is that they don't get to see you for Thanksgiving this year.  Their choice to make and consequence to deal with and they can't get angry with anyone about it because it was their choice.

    My DH is an only child too.  We just rotate years with families as we found it was too taxing on us to try to get to see everyone on the same day.  We felt rushed at dinner with Family A and felt like we missed everything (and had a hard time timing it right to actually arrive for dessert) with family B.  We just said to heck with it.  We do Thanksgiving with A, and then Easter with B.  Next year, it flips.  Everyone wins.

  • image wittyschaffy:

    I guess you're perhaps not seeing that you're asking them to change THEIR tradition (weekend trips away) to honor YOUR tradition.  Nobody should have to change anything if they don't want to.  If it doesn't work for them - it just doesn't work and the consequence is that they don't get to see you for Thanksgiving this year.  Their choice to make and consequence to deal with and they can't get angry with anyone about it because it was their choice.


     

    I know.  But they do get angry with us.  And they often times hound us to attend out of town too.  Problem is, we (collectively as husband and wife) don't want to drive 90 or so miles to spend time with them or celebrate whatever is going on.  Trust me, we have both said we are totally ok with them and their tradition of leaving town every weekend.  And I mean that.  If it makes them happy, good for them.  I just don't appreciate being made out to be the bad guy that they don't see us enough, celebrate enough holidays, etc.  But, it's a losing battle.  And I should stop worrying so much about their feelings.  Even though it was their choice to miss Mother's Day and Easter this year, I still felt bad, that they were spending that time alone.  I know it was their choice, but still, it's sucks.  I just wish we could get through to them sometimes and make them understand that weekends are when the majority of people are free.  If you choose to leave, have at it, enjoy yourselves.  But please don't place the onus on us that you don't see us enough.  And that conversation has happened more than once (between husband and them) and it just doesn't get through.  I'm kind of sick of hearing it.  And then this T Day comes up... I know I'm being stubborn.  Kind of feels good to vent though.

    I get it, I'm not going to change them, ever.  And that's ok.  I need to start to going the extra mile and truly accepting it.  And  not letting it get to me too much.  Generally I'm ok but certain things will set me off.

    Thanks again to everyone.  I really appreciate the honest feedback.

  • You 100% lost me when you complained about them being away for Mothers Day. First, YOU hosting a MD brunch is YOUR idea of a tradition.  Especially when you are expecting to host BOTH mothers at one place.  

     Second, since she is the mother, she can most certainly decide that not following YOUR plans is an ok thing and YOU should not resent her for it.  Nor should her son. 

    But instead you are holding this against her....

    as for the Grandmother being sick. Since she was ill last year and they did not ask for a change in plans, the maybe JUST MAYBE there has been a change that you don't know about or maybe they are just not wanting to hedge the bets anymore.

    Seriosly, suck it up.  

    [IMG]http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu52/Iluminespics/IMG_4759.jpg[/IMG]
  • Be fair and take turns.  You've had the actual day of Thanksgiving with your family for several years in a row, and his parents have been graciously willing to attend.  You may be thinking that it's your family who is doing THEM a favor by including them in your dinner, but they are also doing YOU and your H a favor by agreeing to attend.

    Asking them to celebrate on a different day (when people may have plans, don't have off work, etc., just so that you can continue having the holiday your way is asking a lot.  You can skip a year with your family, especially since H's grandma is ill, and his family is adjusting to the changing dynamic caused by her declining health.  

    Your wishes and desires are not the only ones at play in this decision.  It felt really weird for me the first time I had to miss a Thanksgiving with my own parents.  But for us it's the most fair way.  Be fair.

  • Thanks again everyone.  We talked about it last night and while we both agree it's not exactly going to be pleasant or what we really want, it's the right thing to do, particularly for his grandparents.  And you are all absolutely correct, I'm being equally as stubborn as my ILs have been regarding other situations past.  It felt good to vent about it, but it feels better to be told I'm being a jackass and to get over it.  Ha!  Thanks again.

  • I'm glad you're going. Forget about the aunt and your DH's parents. This is for DH's grandparents that you are doing this. Most likely, DH's grandma has taken a turn for the worse and they really want you to be there. You would hate yourself if she were to pass on and he would not have gotten a chance to see her because you were too stubborn to change your plans for one year.
  • image JemmaWRX:

    Thanks again everyone.  We talked about it last night and while we both agree it's not exactly going to be pleasant or what we really want, it's the right thing to do, particularly for his grandparents.  And you are all absolutely correct, I'm being equally as stubborn as my ILs have been regarding other situations past.  It felt good to vent about it, but it feels better to be told I'm being a jackass and to get over it.  Ha!  Thanks again.

    You're not being a jackass. Struggling with this type of issue is pretty normal in the early years of marriage. You're in a particularly tough situation because his family is less pleasant than yours.

    I think you're doing the right thing though.  Next year you can feel completely virtuous and justified in rejoining your family for Thanksgiving. 

  • you spend every thanksgiving wtih your family. great. this year is his family's turn. i agree with PP-you do sound immature about it. go, be nice, and enjoy yourselves.

     

    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
    Alison's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) 
  • quite frankly, why should your family get to have you and your husband every thanksgiving, it's not unreasonable for his family to ask for their turn.
  • If you cannot or do not want to attend their holiday, politely decline. Don't expect them to change based on what you want. That being said, you don't have to go their holiday just because they want you to. Why don't you switch off every year so both families get equal time?
  • image doglove:
    If you cannot or do not want to attend their holiday, politely decline. Don't expect them to change based on what you want. That being said, you don't have to go their holiday just because they want you to. Why don't you switch off every year so both families get equal time?

    Of course I could decline.  But it's crappy.  We'd ultimately just be spiting the grandparents out of defiance to the ILs.  Which is crappy.  We have our ideal for the situation, but we can't always get what we want. 

    For the record, and I hope I've made this clear is this is NOT about flat out refusing to celebrate the holiday with them.  Not in the slightest.  I just want BOTH gatherings and I want BOTH my way, which I of course realize is unrealistic and pretty crappy!

    This isn't a plea for validation or anything like that, just an effort to A-Vent, and B-give everyone an idea of what's at play here.  BOTH of us would prefer it the way I suggested, so I'm not badgering my husband to simply do things my way.  And, the issue of them going out of town but making it our reponsibility to see them is getting old for  both of us.  This goes beyond Thanksgiving, it's every major holiday.

    Which brings to me another question... is it unreasonable for us to NOT want to drive 1.5 hrs for holidays even if it's "their" tradition.  No one else attends, it's just the 4 of us.

    EDIT - and a day trip is not good enough for them.  They've actually asked us to use personal days from work to do extended weekends with them.  If we say no, they will then ask "Well how many personal days do you have left?  Why can't you use one?"  For us it's like "Well why can't you skip a weekend!?" 

    Blurg.  I could go on.  I shouldn't though.

  • image JemmaWRX:

    Which brings to me another question... is it unreasonable for us to NOT want to drive 1.5 hrs for holidays even if it's "their" tradition.  No one else attends, it's just the 4 of us.

    EDIT - and a day trip is not good enough for them.  They've actually asked us to use personal days from work to do extended weekends with them.  If we say no, they will then ask "Well how many personal days do you have left?  Why can't you use one?"  For us it's like "Well why can't you skip a weekend!?" 

    Blurg.  I could go on.  I shouldn't though.

    You do not have to respond to this or explain yourself.  Just say, "we'll be arriving around ______ and leaving at ________.  See you then."  When they pressure you, don't explain and don't give excuses.  That just makes them feel like they have a chance of getting you to cave in.   

  • image neverblushed:
    image JemmaWRX:

     

    You do not have to respond to this or explain yourself.  Just say, "we'll be arriving around ______ and leaving at ________.  See you then."  When they pressure you, don't explain and don't give excuses.  That just makes them feel like they have a chance of getting you to cave in.   

    Got it.  We've been trying managing the conversations a bit better.  My husband used to play into this stuff and I gave him similar advice.  I appreciate it.  Thanks!

  • image JemmaWRX:
    image neverblushed:
    image JemmaWRX:

     

    You do not have to respond to this or explain yourself.  Just say, "we'll be arriving around ______ and leaving at ________.  See you then."  When they pressure you, don't explain and don't give excuses.  That just makes them feel like they have a chance of getting you to cave in.   

    Got it.  We've been trying managing the conversations a bit better.  My husband used to play into this stuff and I gave him similar advice.  I appreciate it.  Thanks!

    Oh I understand it is hard, but it must be done.  My husband also learned that lesson the hard way.  The best thing you can say is, "We have plans" and leave it at that.  Of course, they will ask what your plans are, but you don't have to answer, just keep saying "We have plans."  Once you give them details, that gives the the impression that they have a say in the matter, and they don't.

  • image JemmaWRX:

    I think I'll leave this up to my husband, and I'll do what he wants to do.  

    Sounds like the best way to go. One year out of several isn't that much to sacrifice and since it's your H's fam, it seems like it up to him to decide on what's most important to him. There may be other issues involved, but the most mature thing to do is to make this about *this* issue instead of trying to address an entire relationship's problems with one Thanksgiving.

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