What Would You Do?

Lounge By mbelgard Updated 30 Mar 2009 , 8:38pm by mbelgard

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mbelgard Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 3:37pm
post #1 of 16

This is kind of long but I'm having trouble deciding exactly what to do.

We live by my husband's paternal family and the extended family dinners are dying. The last few holidays had poor attendence, partly because the cousins are all grown with families of their own and don't always have time to make a stop at his aunt's.

I am a little surprised that it's ending this soon since my husband's grandma is still alive. I was expecting major holiday meals to go on until she's gone. She is not doing well, she gets tired and dizzy and her memory is fading.

It sounds like the aunt will not be doing Easter for the extended family but my MIL won't admit it to me because she's hoping for a change.

MIL is Catholic and since she's the one who does all the color changes at the church she is too busy to cook a meal.

Because I'm a nice person when I first heard that we might not have a family meal I said that I would cook for the smaller group. She keeps trying to sidestep around my invite or trying to talk me into serving it at 6pm. She's trying to tell me that it's so she can visit my husband's grandma, who lives at the aunt's, but I suspect that she wants to show up there for dinner uninvited and then come to our house. That time isn't the best for me, my husband works the next day and it might be nice to have a few hours after they leave to spend time with the boys. If the boys have school the next day, depending on snow days, there is no way I can have a meal that late.

MIL is also trying to make out like I don't plan on my family visiting the grandma sometime around the holiday and has gotten snippy at me several times about it.

I have to start planning for the meal soon because April is a busy and expensive month for us this year. If I'm cooking I need to budget for it. The first weekend my boys have a pow-wow in Minot and my husband is going in the opposite direction for something called vicca (sp?), he's a judge for it. The weekend after Easter my boys have another pow-wow in Fargo that we'll all be going to.

If we didn't have so much going on I'd spend the holiday with my family to make my life easier.

So what would you do if you were me?

15 replies
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jlynnw Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 4:09pm
post #2 of 16

Wow, DH just left to go up to your neck of the woods.

I would stick to my guns and tell MIL that I can have dinner at (pick your time). Do not go into the whys behind it. Go ahead and start a budget and plan for the dinner to go as you would like. Invite, MIL, Gram, and Auntie and you family. Having the kids still young and health issues, try and get the family together as often as you can. You can also try to have dinners at other times besides just holidays to keep the family close. Do not let her talk you into doing something you are not happy with. A family dinner at 6 would end earliest at 8 and then kids off to bed, sounds too busy after church, egg hunt, and everything else.

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Kiddiekakes Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 4:14pm
post #3 of 16

I say the same....Have your dinner at the time that suits you and your family.If MIL doesn't come or won't make it...so be it!! It will be on her not you....I get sooo tired of family (Mine included) trying to tell us when to do something,time,date that suits them etc...I am 40 fricken years old and I am too old to be told what to do from family...especially my MIL!! Hope it all goes well!!

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mbelgard Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 5:06pm
post #4 of 16

The aunt has a family of her own and the grandma lives with her, the grandma is not doing well enough to come over here for anything. Going anywhere tires her out and she spends most of her time sleeping. If she did come she'd be going home within 10 minutes.

Even if she could handle it I will not do an extended family meal because there are some people I don't want at my house.

What the aunt expects is that her siblings will do stuff with their children and grandchildren and then stop in to say hi to their mother.

I think part of the reason that so many cousins have quit coming to the extended family thing is because for some reason the older generation expects their children to come see them on every holiday. When we are home for say Easter my MIL expects us to come visit at their house AND to go to the aunt's for dinner. We don't live far from either but it means a good portion of the day is spent running, some of the cousins have it worse off because they live by both sets of parents. Eventually you have to cut someone out and that's what's happening.

Part of what I'm trying to decide is how to handle not being sure if my MIL and FIL will come. If they don't I'll make sure I have special foods but I'm not as likely to make a really big, hot meal. For just the 4 of us I'd probably make several salads, deviled eggs, sweets, ham and maybe stuffing or some other hot item. If they do show up I'll probably want to get a little fancier with my meal even if it's for only 6.

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jlynnw Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 5:48pm
post #5 of 16

That sounds like a good meal to me! icon_lol.gif It seems to me that the older generation is demanding the younger to bend to their will. It is not only you that feel this way or there would be more family dinners. Lay down the boundry that you and hubby decide on. Christmas here, Thanksgiving there, Mom's day at our house - stop by to see the grams, etc. Then do it. Don't feel quilty about it, you have to take care of your family first then the extended family.

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cakesbycathy Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 5:58pm
post #6 of 16

I'm feeling ornery today so take my opinion for whatever it's worth...

Have the meal you want to have. Serve the foods you want to eat at the time you want to eat them and invite the people you want to eat with.

Tell anyone you invite that you need a firm RSVP by such and such a date so that you can budget appropriately. If anyone gives you a hard time simply tell them "Well this is what we are doing. I understand if that doesn't work out for you and you won't be able to make it."

Don't let anymore guilt you into doing something else just because it's more convienent for them (easier said than done, I know).

As families change (due to ages or changes in numbers), sometimes tradtions change or die out. That can be very hard for people to take.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do icon_smile.gif

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jlynnw Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:16pm
post #7 of 16

well said cakesbycathy

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mbelgard Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 6:46pm
post #8 of 16
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

As families change (due to ages or changes in numbers), sometimes tradtions change or die out. That can be very hard for people to take.

And that's exactly what's happening. It isn't a big family but all the cousins are adults now.

What has me most confused is that my MIL is more upset about these changes than my FIL and it's his family we're talking about. icon_confused.gif

I'm thinking that if I'll be cooking even for just us that will be my excuse not to go anywhere that day. It will be nice because we never get to spend a holiday at home.

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jlynnw Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 7:07pm
post #9 of 16

Then spend it at home. Start a new tradition that is for your family spending time doing whatever you like. Grow close as a family. Before long, your kids will be grown and dealing with the same problem and you will regret not taking the time to spend with them now. You can't go back but plan for the day they are leaving like it is tomorrow. How does the song go, "Live like you are dying". Sounds depressing, but they will be gone and what memories will they have? Make them the kind that lives on and are cherished. If MIL gets up set, tell her to build a bridge, and maybe then she can get over it. icon_biggrin.gif

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Deb_ Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 12:45am
post #10 of 16

How about you make dinner for the 4 of you and invite the rest to stop over for a dessert and coffee later when they're done visiting Grandma?

It's very difficult to keep family traditions going especially as the older generation starts to dwindle.

I'm the youngest of 8 and 5 of my older sibling's children are all married and have their own children. So our family holidays are different now, especially now that both of my parents have died.

The one holiday that every single person comes to is Christmas Eve at my house (since my house is the largest) We all live within a 10 mile radius of each other except one niece is in Scotland.

I promised myself that I will continue this tradition for as long as I can because it meant so much to my parents and it means a lot to all of us too. I have about 50 people here that night, I cook for days but it's the happiest day of the year for me.

You have to try to keep some traditions alive but it's important to make some of your own with your DH and boys too. Like the others have said, don't allow anyone to tell you what time dinner will be. You set the time and if they can come they will, if not that's fine too. At least you tried, that's what's important.

Good luck........I'm SOOOO happy my in-laws live 6 hrs away in PA icon_razz.gif

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Carson Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 4:13am
post #11 of 16

Whatever you do, I applaud you for trying to keep family holiday dinners alive! I am kind of feeling worried that both sides of my family (mine and my inlaws) are starting to get out of it - and once the grandmas on both sides pass away I think they will be completely over. If only I had a bigger house (my family is pretty darn big)...icon_sad.gif

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tjrobin31 Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 7:44am
post #12 of 16

i'm with cakes by cathy here, remember this is your families holiday too, and you deserve to enjoy just as much as the others, it's thoughtful of you to try to keep the family together and a generous offer to make the meal yourself, so i would do exactly as cakesbycathy said, and if noone is happy with that well their loss not yours , you did your best to please them, if they aren't happy with that well too bad for them.
i'm ornery today myself, maybe it's becuz my mil is a huge pita, herself,
so i can sympathize
good luck with whatever you decide to do, i hope it all turns out well.

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mbelgard Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 2:58pm
post #13 of 16

I talked some more with my husband and we're not going to bend over backwards for my MIL.

Since we're going to be so busy both weekends around Easter we want to have a day at home.

My husband and I aren't exactly torn apart over the family meals ending. We're both aware that things change over time and there are family members that we don't look forward to seeing. And the aunt's cooking sucks, she's well known for serving cold food 3 hours late.

We've decided to just ignore his mother and the fits she's going to throw.

We will be inviting my MIL and FIL but I doubt they'll come, she'll invite herself to the aunt's if she can find any way.

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mbelgard Posted 30 Mar 2009 , 3:43pm
post #14 of 16

Well here's the update and a little rant:

Extended family dinners are officially done so my MIL is going to come over here.

I had told her last week that we were having a meal at home and I needed to know by yesterday if they would be here for dinner so I can make final menu decisions.

She let something slip yesterday that took alot of restraint to not say something to her. Apparently the aunt had said there wouldn't be a big family meal WEEKS ago like I suspected, she had not been thinking about it like my MIL had claimed. I doubt I would have heard about it yet if I hadn't set a date for her to let me know what they were doing. icon_mad.gif

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margaretb Posted 30 Mar 2009 , 7:51pm
post #15 of 16

I think you are making the right choice -- do your thing at home. In time, you will have grandchildren and will have a house full with your own descendents. And then remember this when you are a great grandma and those grandchildren want to start their own traditions.

My baba (dad's mom) always had Christmas Eve supper. It was a big deal -- pyrogies, cabbage rolls, borscht, the wheat stuff that I never ate (Ukrainian family). We live about 2 1/2 hours from the city. So we went there almost every Christmas (I remember at least one when we didn't go), and sometimes my mom came but sometimes she didn't. The presents were opened Christmas Eve. So all Christmas day we kids were in a tizzy because we wanted to get home to our presents at home, and of course my dad wanted to visit (two siblings from other parts of the country who would fly home over the holidays).

Now I am married with kids. My husband's mom always has a big Christmas meal usually at 2 pm. So the first two years we had a baby, we were in the city Christmas Eve, drove home late that night so we could have Christmas morning at our house (which is important to me because I almost never had that), then rushed the baby/toddler through presents so we could make it to the in laws. And that was enough of that. I decided that I want Christmas at home, no rushing around on the day. So we make a point of going to the inlaws on a different day and bringing supper and having a visit. This Christmas coming up, I think I will offer to make the Christmas meal for supper here, if they are interested (did I mention his family lives about an hour away). If they prefer to do their thing at their own place, then we will just go on a different day. I will not be offended either way.

A couple years ago, my uncle emailed everyone and said that it had been decided that the big family Christmas Eve was too hard on Baba and my aunt (who did all the cooking) and it was going to only be for baba, her children, and her remaining sibling. Well, first of all, I feel bad because there is no reason the rest of us couldn't have done more to help with the cooking, but we were never asked and I guess we were just used to being the kids who just show up. But on the other hand, it is a RELIEF not to have to make that trip on Christmas Eve. And this past Christmas, I let everyone know that I was going to do a family dinner for anyone who was interested at baba's house, but my SIL offered to have it at their place (they just moved to the city this past year), so between the two of us, we put on the fancy meal, but we did it a few days after Christmas, so we still got the good meal and the visiting, but it wasn't adding to the Christmas stress.

When my kids are grown and married, I will still want them to come home for a family meal, but I am going to do what works better for them -- alternating between families yearly if that is what their spouses want, or else just having our celebration on a different day.

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mbelgard Posted 30 Mar 2009 , 8:38pm
post #16 of 16
Originally Posted by margaretb

but we did it a few days after Christmas, so we still got the good meal and the visiting, but it wasn't adding to the Christmas stress.

My maternal grandparents don't do a big family thing on Christmas. My parents wouldn't take us anywhere on Christmas Day and my mom's siblings often had other stuff going on too so the meal was either Christmas Eve or after the holiday depending on what was happening.

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