Hi, Carolyn: I am hoping you can give us some advice concerning this coming year’s holiday season. I know it’s a little early, but this past one was a painful one for my husband and me.
We live close to our son and daughter-in-law. Her family lives 2,000 miles from here. They were married two years ago and now have a year-old girl. We see them a few times a week, quick visits or to baby-sit for a few hours.
For the past four years, her parents have come here for Thanksgiving. Also, for those four years, our daughter-in-law and son have traveled to spend Christmas with her parents. Our Christmas with them consists of having them here on a day before Christmas for dinner and to open gifts.
Is it fair for us to ask our son, in the interests of fairness, to alternate Christmases with us? We are not getting any younger and would like our grandchild to have some memories with us for such an important holiday. – Questioning Grandparents
While I sympathize with your yearning to share your traditions with your next generation, acting on it would be positively myopic. You won the grandchild lottery! You see this family on an every-other-daily basis!
If you disagree with me, here’s another reason to make like a clam on the whole topic of Christmas: If I, an objective observer, see your let’s-alternate- Christmases proposal as a greedy grandchild grab, then imagine how their daughter will see it. Those thrice-weekly visits you now take for granted could dry up faster than Cream of Wheat in a carpet.
And one more, if these two rationales aren’t enough: Just about every young family mellows into an established one, and established families tend to wake up one morning before their holiday travels and think, “I want to have Christmas in my own darn living room.” If and when that happens, Christmas Mountain will come to Muhammad, and you’ll want to be there to receive it.