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Old 11-08-2009, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
5,170 posts, read 8,693,102 times
Reputation: 6167

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When my parents moved from the family home about 15 years ago, it was weird. My dad was the true patriarch. He would just call us all and say this is what we are doing, be here at such and such time. (We were all in the same area).

We have the memories, I think that's what the OP wants. My father did not really have this with his own parents as they lived far away but he wanted a big family and he got it. As we grew up, he devoted those days to us and it was very special.

Now, he is gone and when he passed on, my mother was the one who held back. My husband and I would usually have her with our in-laws and the other families did the same. But now, it seems our children are in their late teens, very early adulthood and we all want to cement the tradition a little more. We do see each other a lot but at the same time, miss all the times we got together as a big family.

Our daughter is the only one who lives out of town so we fly her home. Actually, she calls and plans it with us. It helps that all her friends still come home also so they all plan to be on the same flight - this year, we get her for 8 days so I'm thrilled. (And then Christmas for 7)!
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:06 AM
 
Location: Alaska
384 posts, read 877,447 times
Reputation: 186
I absolutely love not having to do traditional holidays. I love the freedom of choice ...every year...every holiday. I love that my parents gave that to us as adults...the freedom to establish our own traditions in our own home with our own families. They felt they did it their way while we were growing up and the next round was ours.

We had a wide variety ... sometimes we saw them, sometimes we were with friends, sometimes we just stayed home and read or played games, or talked or skied or hiked. We grew to love it so much that our tradition became that Xmas was our day to be with no one else.... no running off to this house or that one , no commitments ... no hoopla, no tension - just sheer relaxation and pleasure in being together.
My parents had many fun holidays with their friends too on the years we were not with them for the holidays. Now, my daughter and her family do the same... and they absolutely love their holidays.

If my parents had told me it was important to them to gather on a holiday and that they wanted that family tradition .... that would have felt like pressure. Likewise, I couldn't imagine putting my need out onto my daughter and her family.

I have a friend who "has" to have holdiays at her house and "has" to have lots of people around. Usually her kids are doing other things ... so my friend & spouse invite whatever "stragglers" they can get to their table. Her need for tradition is taken care of and the lone stragglers feel like they've been part of a family event.

Letting go of cultural tradtions can be liberating ...there are other meaningful ways to celebrate and enjoy the day.
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Old 11-09-2009, 06:06 AM
 
1,662 posts, read 4,007,647 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miruca View Post
If my parents had told me it was important to them to gather on a holiday and that they wanted that family tradition .... that would have felt like pressure.
Seriously?

So if your parents called and said, "Honey, can we pick a day, sometime between 11/15 and 1/15 to gather and have a holiday meal together? We would really like to have all of our kids and grandkids together once a year. It would mean a lot to us."

This would have felt like "pressure" to you?

Wow .... just, um .... wow
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:15 AM
 
4,130 posts, read 13,309,277 times
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Re-read the highlighted post, I think she's referring to a specific holiday date, not a 2 month timeframe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samantha S View Post
Seriously?

So if your parents called and said, "Honey, can we pick a day, sometime between 11/15 and 1/15 to gather and have a holiday meal together? We would really like to have all of our kids and grandkids together once a year. It would mean a lot to us."

This would have felt like "pressure" to you?

Wow .... just, um .... wow
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:54 AM
 
1,662 posts, read 4,007,647 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Honeycrisp View Post
Re-read the highlighted post, I think she's referring to a specific holiday date, not a 2 month timeframe
But it was a response to my suggestion that the OP simply let her children know that gathering around the holidays was important to her.

There are ways to do that without "pressuring" and still allowing flexibility. But if you never speak up, then you shouldn't complain when you don't get what you want.
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Old 11-09-2009, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
1,362 posts, read 3,805,987 times
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I think all you can do is make the offer to host a holiday dinner and it's up to them to come. We moved away from my stepson over 2 years ago. We flew him down for a visit shortly after moving. He said he wanted to come twice a year & we'd pay for the flight. It's been over 18 months, he called to say find a flight for the holidays for him since he's got a week's vacation to use, we gave him the flight, never heard back until last week that maybe the spring time would be better. He's got his mom & her extended family as well as friends where he lives.

The one bright light is that we made friends with a couple who can't get home for Thanksgiving so we're spending it together.

I do wish times were like when I was younger and families got together, but sadly times have changed. I only wish our children could say I'm coming instead of saying I wish I went when they were still around.
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Old 11-09-2009, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,686 posts, read 33,686,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
Am I being too sensitive, or is this the way it always goes? One son is in Afghanistan, so he's excused. One son is in North Carolina, so he's reluctantly excused. One is 3 hours away and is not excused. One is local and I don't know his plans yet.
Am I being unrealistic to expect all my chicks to want to gather for holidays, or is this just to be expected? Most of my friend's children seem to get together for the holidays, so I don't get it. I should add that there are not rifts or reasons that I know of that they would be avoiding us. We're really nice, have lots of friends our age and are not weird old people.
I fear I may spend Thanksgiving sobbing into my Stove Top for two.
The way I see it is you have 2 possibles, not four. So whatever grandchildren are associated with the ones in Afghanistan and North Carolina, its not about you.

Three hours away is six hours of driving in a single day. Would you do it --- go to his/her house for a single day on a holiday, if they invited you, with a 6 hour drive on a holiday? Does that one have young children? Does that one or the spouse go to work on Friday? Are they coming for Christmas/Chanukah or are you going there? Does the spouse like you? Are the inlaws physically closer? What did they do last year on Thanksgiving? Did they tell you why they aren't coming? If I were you, I would only feel slighted if they are having Thanksgiving at home and didn't invite you.

My friend's solution is to invite the in laws, too.

As far as the other local one goes, who can't even tell you his plans, no comment.
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Old 11-09-2009, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Arizona High Desert
4,639 posts, read 5,098,551 times
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It's hurtful, I know. I would give anything to have my grands back with me. I wouldn't let her cook herself to death and over do. We would all bring stuff, and have buffet meals. I miss those days, and took them for granted. As children age, they become "old" and realise things first hand.
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Old 11-09-2009, 08:56 AM
 
921 posts, read 985,451 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
Am I being too sensitive, or is this the way it always goes? One son is in Afghanistan, so he's excused. One son is in North Carolina, so he's reluctantly excused. One is 3 hours away and is not excused. One is local and I don't know his plans yet.
Am I being unrealistic to expect all my chicks to want to gather for holidays, or is this just to be expected? Most of my friend's children seem to get together for the holidays, so I don't get it. I should add that there are not rifts or reasons that I know of that they would be avoiding us. We're really nice, have lots of friends our age and are not weird old people.
I fear I may spend Thanksgiving sobbing into my Stove Top for two.
You're not being too sensitive.
First of all, I think it's great that you're thinking about your family & would like to see them for the holiday's because some grandparents could care less.

Your kids may need to take another look at their view of family standards.
They may be giving your grandkids a bad example.

They should never take family gatherings off their holiday list because you never know who will not be available for the next one.
This may cause them to regret not seeing you on a holiday & it can hurt everyone down the line.

The reason I say this is because I have a friend who's 45 years old & back in 2002, he stopped going to his parents home for the holidays due to sibling rivalry & that went on for 5 years.
In 2008, his mom died right before Christmas & now he & his family are all feeling very guilty for not attending family gatherings.
They all are now saying "I wish I didn't wait to go around" & now the grandchildren can't wish their grandmother a happy holiday this year.

I would like to give my prayers to you & your faimly and I hope that everyone realize how important time is with family because time goes fast & is not guaranteed.

Best wishes.
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:07 AM
 
12,692 posts, read 14,074,796 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bette View Post
....Our daughter is the only one who lives out of town so we fly her home. Actually, she calls and plans it with us. It helps that all her friends still come home also so they all plan to be on the same flight - this year, we get her for 8 days so I'm thrilled. (And then Christmas for 7)!
This is great, if it's voluntary.

But as a young man I was forced into this every year for years.

My parents demanded I arrive the Tues. eve before Thanksgiving and not leave until the Sunday after. This often meant me taking two days from my two-week vacation. Then they insisted that I arrive the evening before Christman Eve and leave New Years Day or the day after.

These demands left me with only three days of my two-week vacation to do what I wanted, and sometimes only two depending on how the holidays fell. And my parents threw a fit each time I suggested less days with them for these events - my father would get thuggish, and my mother would throw a furious tantrum with tears.

After a number of years of this, and yet another hideous row when I suggested that I would like at least a week of my vacation time to use how I would like to use it I drew the line in the sand: Compromise or nothing.

They made their choice, and I never spent another Thanksgiving or Christmas with them. And I LOVED having a two-week vacation, at last!!!

I wised up that the "love and consideration" they railed about was a one-way street. Parents can be every bit as selfish as some children.
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