Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Reader Mail Day!!

Last week, I wrote a post about how complicated it can be to accommodate two sets of parents on the holidays (12/17). After reading some e-mails from readers, maybe I have it easy.

Erika writes,

My partner and I have been together for five years, and are childless, and we still have the yearly battle over who goes where and when.

In our case, the issue is complicated by the fact that my open and liberal parents treat my partner as one of the family, and I'm barely tolerated at my conservative Southern in-laws. So I get the choice of spending my holidays with people who treat me as a barely acknowleged family embarrassment (fun!) or depriving my partner from seeing her parents on the holidays. I almost miss the days when I was simply not invited to spend holidays with my in laws. But spending Christmas apart is no fun either.

I am finding myself envious of the excuse of staying put for the kids, and making family travel to you. Since I'm not planning on giving birth any time soon, I'm thinking of developing a fake allergy to airplane seat cushions. (Hey, it works for my mother-in-law, who suddenly developed a dog allergy when invited to visit us.) Do you think I stand a chance?

Teep adds her own story,

When you're a product of divorced parents (as I am), you play "where do you spend the holidays" with a full measure of guilt-related goodness from the time the parents divorce until one of them is dead. Yummy! I have all the thrills you're having and I've been getting those very special jollies every holiday season since I was thirteen.

If a child of divorce grows up and marries someone *else* who is a product of divorce (like my baby brother and his wife), then BOTH of you have two sets of parentals lobbying for you for the holidays so you pretty much spend the entire month of December in a freaking car, driving to and fro to appease every single familial obligation on weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's worse if (like my younger brother) you have the ONLY grandchild for any of the four grandparenting households in the mix... and you'd like to have SOME holidays in your own damn house with your own damn tree and your own damn kid.

Be thankful you only have two sets of parents to deal with *and* that the two sets of parents you have to deal with aren't both yours. When both sets of parents are your own, the guilt level is excruciating. Trust me on this one.

Hmmm. I'll have seconds of the Christmas ham with a side of guilt and stress, please.

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