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Just need to vent. You all don’t need to read or comment. I understand.


Late this morning, my Christmas “celebration” was unceremoniously dumped into the trash bin. I got a few texts from my kids that pretty much made any plans I’d made pretty much worthless.


I've been setting aside a few bucks here and there for a few months, since I went back to work, so I could invite my kids and their families over for Christmas Eve. I haven’t done so for two years since my mom passed and our finances got so bad. I was going to pick my oldest grandson up on Saturday and we were going to shop, cook and decorate the house, something else I haven’t done in two years. I texted the kids and told them to be here at 3:30 since my daughter originally said she was working until 3.


My son texted back and said that he was invited over to his in-laws. He has not ever gotten along with them and they have finally invited him over with their daughter and our new grandson. I’m happy for him but he has thrown me and our Christmas Eve under the bus. He said he would make the 45 minute trip here to spend an hour here and then rush back to head to his in-laws. I told him not to bother. My daughter said she was now scheduled to work until “5 or 5:30”. She said my son-in-law and my other grandsons would come over at 3 but she wouldn’t be here until 6 or later. With nighttime preparations for hubby, by the time we socialized, ate, the kids opened their gifts and they left, I wouldn’t have hubby ready until after midnight.


Our family Christmas get-together has been completely trashed. I’m sure the kids don’t realize how hurt I am. I will be accused of being unreasonable. I am being “fit in” because they apparently have better things to do even though we’ve had these plans for 6 weeks. I had mentioned them coming over the 30th but I’m cancelling out on that. I will UPS the kids’ gifts to them. Hubby and I will most likely have Chunky Soup for Christmas Dinner.


This truly sucks. .

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Sorry it wasn't the Christmas you wanted. Maybe you need a sit down with your kids. Explain that you really don't know how long hubby will be with you but you would like his last Christmases to be with his family. That you understand that spouses have family too but they aren't in the situation you r in. So in advance, you would love it if next year they could spend Christmas Day with you.

In my family, we traded off holidays. We had Thanksgiving with my in-laws and Christmas Eve with my family. Christmas Day we went to SILs fathers. Mom has dinner Christmas Eve always so we had no conflict, really. The spouses families have to realize that its not just them anymore. The spouse has a family too.

We miss the old Christmas too. My parents are gone as are my Aunts and Uncles. Mom had 4 kids. At least half of us were home TG and Christmas. I miss my brother asking the other to pass the rolls and he proceeded to throw it at him. Miss my Aunt especially who was always there at all the dinners. Now they are just my immediate family. One daughter a nurse so never sure if she works or not. Other daughter is a vegetarian so she brings her own food. Grandsons and nephew. Its pretty much eat and run.

Not sure why, this year felt different. I enjoyed decorating. Hubby even put up lights and garland on railing outside. Bought one of those outside candles. I cut back on my baking. Lasagna for dinner for the last few years because of the nurse. Just my daughters and us at the table. (daughter and husband separated this year) (Nephew and grandson, 25, chose to eat in family room watching TV) We had a nice conversation and some laughs. It was nice. It felt more Christmasy this year. Don't know why.
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Katskorner,thanks for asking. I did bring my grandsons to our house on Saturday and they helped decorate. However, grandson #2 got the flu Saturday night. I was incubating a cold with a sore throat and a headache. My daughter had to work and son still went to his in-laws to mend fences. Hubs and I wound up alone on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I stuck the turkey in the oven on Christmas Day so we did have a fairly good meal.

The days were nothing like Christmases past. I’m trying to put them in a box on a shelf in my mind and forget about what didn’t happen and how sad I was those days. Hopefully, we will be able to all get together when everyone’s schedule meshes. In truth, I’m just glad it’s over.
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I'm curious how did it go yesterday? I hope it was better than you thought it would!
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Well after posting about Mom being angry at hubs, and my Christmas spirit being GONE.. it turned out pretty good. I had a talk with mom,, she cried a bit and of course remembers nothing about her bouts of not talking to me in my high school years,, She manned up.So did hubs,, and DD came for the night ( still here tonight bless her). We had FIL and hubs cousin, and a friend from the river who had nowhere to go as he has family drama with his brother.. and we all had a nice time. So I am pretty content right now. Somehow it all worked out, and I hope it did for others. Merry Christmas to all my friends here!
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This will be my 3rd post to this thread. I can't seem to leave it alone. Great subject and timely, too!

I've been reading everyone's responses and here's my takeaway: Be flexible. Recognize that times have changed. With so much divorce and remarriage, families struggle to include everyone and cover all their bases where holidays are concerned. Don't be part of the problem. Get creative! Expecting Christmases like those of our past may end in disappointment. Adjust and redefine!

That being said, there have been comments here regarding family members who agree to holiday plans made in advance and bail at the last minute. I too have been on the receiving end of this and it's downright infuriating to host a gathering and have guests bail in favor of a "better" offer! Been there. Done that.

When I was a young mom, my house was too small to invite too many at a time, so I got in the habit of hosting Christmas dinners by having husband's family one year and my family the next, alternating years, so to speak. These dinners were very popular. I pulled out all the stops with decorating, cooking for days, etc. and really enjoyed doing it. Everyone loved my holiday dinners. But after a decade or so of this, I noticed that no one in either family was reciprocating! I got to the point I wanted to be "the guest" at least once in awhile, so I started dropping subtle hints that perhaps they host next year. No one took the hint and made the effort. So it's kinda sad, really. Now that I'm older and live far away, the kids seldom come to my house for Christmas (despite my invitations) and they don't invite me to their houses but all go to their in-law's.

I don't know how this situation evolved. Maybe it was something I did or didn't do. Makes me feel like a pariah! All I know is I love my family and wish we spent more time together, especially for the holidays. But I don't spend my time pouting or complaining to them about it. It is what it is. You could say I've learned to alter my expectations.

Thanks for listening! And Merry Christmas!!
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Oh darn, this topic is not at all what I thought it would be.....
Thinking you all found a turkey in a dumpster, I ran on over here. I am returning to the dinner thread now!
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Agree that we get can get disappointed easily. This year I get to see my kids on Christmas (only cuz it falls on my usual visitation day), other years, too bad. I do cry sometimes, but if I get angry about it, the sadness just lasts longer. I hope we can lift each other up out of disappointments, by sharing this way.
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The reason Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. are such stressful times is because of a lot of expectations that should be relaxed or eliminated.  Who said "Christmas" had to be celebrated on Christmas day?  Why not pick a day around that time that is more workable for the family to get together?  It's not the religious holiday, but all the secular ho-ha, the tight scheduling, etc. that people stress out over.  Nicest Christmas I ever had was with a couple of friends (not family) and a cheap pizza.  Soooo restful!
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I am glad to hear that your daughter and her family have agreed to visit you on Christmas Day.  Have a wonderful and joyous Day!
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My three siblings and their families are coming to my house tonight for Christmas. They are all uninvolved in my mom's care(she has Parkinson's and I'm her full time caregiver). One brother is angry at me for care giving, he said I am spending mom's money and he won't get an inheritance. I remind him hiring a caregiver would cost infinitely more. My other siblings are too self absorbed to help. I don't want to deprive my mom from seeing them, but perhaps there is an easier way to do holidays without everyone coming on the same day?
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“Even when it isn't fair and really stinks that we have to make the concessions and effort...”

I don't know about anyone else, but frankly - I’m pretty fed up with being the only one “making an effort” and “making concessions”.

If anyone sees little Cindy Lou - from Who-ville- send her my way cause right now I couldn’t give a flying eff about Christmas.

Bad morning.
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Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to my venting. I’ve asked my daughter and her family to come tomorrow and she’s agreed. I’m still upset that my son chose his in-laws over us, but he’s an adult and needs to do what he feels is right. I don’t understand it, but I’ve accepted it.
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I am sorry that this has happened to you.  I just went through a similar thing yesterday but was able to rescue a few hours from one of my grandchildren.  I planned a gingerbread village & ugly sweater cookie decorating event for me & my grandchildren at their great grandparents' home (my parents) two weeks ago and confirmed and reconfirmed just a day before with all parents, yesterday I find out that one grandchild had been "promised" to a non family member for most of the day.  I had to go to this person's house to pick her up where they all said, "see you back in a little bit" and then she threw tantrums all afternoon because I did not rush her back to that house immediately when she wanted to go.  BUT - she had a great time in between tantrums and we all got to have some fun!
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Christmas use to be so special and magical "back in thr day". I also see and hear from others about the same, that the family unit is going to crap! You know the world is pretty much going to hell in a hand basket...people are shopping on Thanksgiving day now, it's pretty much black Friday the whole month of Dec, in retail, christmas starts coming in the last of Sept, they don't let anyone breath anymore between holidays, and halloween is almost as big as christmas!! But the biggy for me is going from halloween to christmas and alot of people are forgetting Thanksgiving. Aren't we surpose to be thankful anymore? We should all count the blessings that we have. Life is so busy these days. But hang in there (thanks for hearing me vent to) by the way. I hope things work out for you, you have to know that you did your best.
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Ahmijoy: Oh, I am so sorry that this has happened to you. I will pray for you.
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May I offer my 2 cents: I am so sorry that your plans are not working out as you would like. I am also sorry that you are hurt.

The truth of the matter is we never know how long we have on earth, we don't know how long we have the people we love either.

My family holidays get together fell apart many moons ago. So, I decided to have my parents over for Thanksgiving dinner in 09, well, I was going to school and became ill; my father and mother became ill this all happened of the years. I always thought I would have time to get it right. My dad died in 2014, I ran out of time...that was the last meal/holiday I had with him! There isn't a day that goes by were I think really "I couldn't have done something different? Maybe having a small dinner at a time when we were all feeling better, and there were times that it could have worked. I would do anything to just have one meal with him!

Please don't throw away this opportunity to talk to them. Give them another chance to make it work...who knows you may not get another chance.


Just a thought! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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I had a really crappy Christmas last year so know how you feel. I’d spent a lot of money to provide a good meal and everyone except my daughter either got sick or were too tired. Most of the food went in the garbage. A few months later I made an announcement to everyone that I would no longer do any holidays or give any gifts. ( I didn’t mention that I got gifts for everyone and got nothing in return.). This year we went on a train trip for thanksgiving that included a meal at a casino. I don’t gamble so it sounded a bit tacky to me, but we loved it. The buffet was better than any buffet we ever tried before. So we’re doing it again for Christmas. Anyone who shows up is welcome. And the relief I feel is amazing. Check your newspaper for places that will be open on holidays and start a new tradition. It sure has helped my frame of mind!
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No one through you under the bus.
Change the date. Hire a nurse for dad for two days. Go visit your kids at their homes. Find a different way.
Merry Christmas!!
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So sorry. Unfortunately you are not alone. Families just aren’t what they used to be. Taking care of your mom was the most precious gift of all. I hope you and your husband enjoy a quiet and peaceful holiday. Although in my opinion you should tell your kids that you’re very hurt and disappointed, and leave that hanging in the air. Don’t lecture or act out. Leave them feeling the hurt they caused you. Maybe next year they will remember and happily be with you!!!
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The other thing I wanted to say is perhaps it's knowing just how important this is to you, especially since your mom passed that got your kids into this predicament. I'm not saying they handled it well but maybe they agreed to your plans wanting to support you, make you happy and because it's important to them as well but they neglected to consult with their spouses/significant others and given the fact that you haven't all gotten together on Christmas Eve at least for the last couple of years their significant other's had already made or assumed plans with their families that kind of became tradition over that time. Again, not saying it's right to change on you but in the interest of keeping things happy at home they are giving in to their mistake not discussing it with the people they live with first? You may be taking this far more personally than it is, in fact they may be just as disappointed as you or at least feel awful about changing plans with you and don't know how to make it better because they know how abandoned you are feeling. I get that you are hurt and I totally get why, emotions aren't something we can just control, turn on and off but if you can bring yourself to think about this a bit differently and maybe not as personally offended and "dumped", not be so hurt it might help you and your kids, family rescue this holiday season and make good memories of it rather than festering hurt feelings. Life is just too short, it's not worth taking so much time and energy with the feelings you are having and I so hope you can find a way to get yourself off this road and find one that leads to greener pastures and happier times. Even when it isn't fair and really stinks that we have to make the concessions and effort it is usually worth it in at least some small way just for us whether or not it's recognised, acknowledged or experienced by others. I just don't want you having another tough Christmas if it's at all possible for you to experience some joy from it. To me it's a time for forgiveness or at least to put bad feelings on hold and simply love each other as best we can, you know?
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Dear Ahmijoy, a couple of comments that I hope will help a bit. I have had the experience of planning something with love, thinking that it is all agreed, and then finding that it’s not. It was hard to realise that the ‘planning’ was almost all in my own head, after a first suggestion that others didn’t realise I had taken as a ‘hard and fast’ arrangement. Then finding that I’m upset, they’re upset that I’m upset, and wishing the whole thing would go away.

My daughter used to work Christmas Day as a hospital nurse, to let the others with families and young children have the holiday while she got the extra pay. And later, she had to balance me, her father and stepbrothers, and her new husband’s family. And her parents-in-law were balancing another daughter, who was also balancing her own in-laws. It is hard to suit everyone, and my expectations got to be a bit low.

At a time when I was feeling bad about being treated with real disrespect, I decided to confront it. It then went from bad to worse, to much worse. There won’t even be a phone call on Christmas Day this year. Would it have been better to ignore it? Perhaps. I think I would have done it differently if I had known the results.

Look after your own happiness. Organising all of this is like trying to solve Rubik’s Cube. Don’t feel that you or your family have failed if you don’t get the wretched cube to work out.
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It is so hard watching special holiday traditions change and it often feels to some of us that they have simply fallen a part, it's a kind of mourning really, at least for me sometimes but when you allow yourself to simply get back to what is truly important to you, what really made those traditions so special and allow room for new wrapping on those core things of importance you will probably find your perfect Christmas (holiday) again. It doesn't mean not missing the old ones but you do start remembering them fondly rather than the memory making you sad. For me I equate it with worship, at Christmas time I love to go into a church, any church for midnight service (doesn't always happen) and enjoy taking part in various traditions and ways of dressing the celebration, same goes for attending services in non Christian places of worship but that's not a Christmas story.
When I was a child we went to my mom's aunt and uncles house, they had kids both older and younger than me (they had 6 kids)and the entire extended family would go as well as my (my mother's actually) aunt's family, she was from very Italian roots and that side of the family while not really mine was mine at Christmas. As I got older and on my own I still never missed going there Christmas night but as they aged, family grew, people passed and things changed so did the party but I still remember and lament that my son never experienced my great uncles singing We Three Kings around the piano (my great aunt was an opera singer and voice coach) or Carmel's lasagna. When my parent's split we still all got together (their significant others included) for Christmas and when I established my own home it was moved there so it could be on neutral territory, later it was sometimes at my brothers and when my fathers 3rd wife didn't make the trip (they moved to FL) we even did it at my mom's or grandmothers because both my mom and dad were fine with that. My point being the place didn't matter so much as long as it worked and the timing was so difficult as everyone grew and had kids, both brothers as well as my dad are/were pilots, we started celebrating our family Christmas on Epiphany or as close as we could all do that. That is the day gifts were originally given and it took the other pressures off everyone so Santa could visit our kids in their own homes (and do other in-law visits), my mom would come up to our house for years since my son was the oldest, closest and only grandchild for a few years.
We started some new traditions for our family Epiphany/Christmas celebration, adults drawing names for the following year so we had one person to do something special for for instance but kept those that had been really important to my brothers and I, stockings for instance were the best part of Christmas for us as young kids and as we got older we started contributing to everyone's stocking so everyone got surprises, nothing big, lots of fun cheap toys or little items and candy and when our kids got old enough they got to participate in the fun of shopping for everyone's stocking (a few years they were baskets). My point being that moving the date actually worked in our favor, no one was rushed or pressured when we got together, we all just hung out together for 2 days and enjoyed down time together, relaxed while including some of the old and some new traditions. Do I miss some of the old, yes but I have never come away from a Christmas disappointed, each has been very special in it's own way even now when we don't all get together anymore, we go to my brother and mom every few years when bro has his daughter, they were supposed to come here this year but she got sick so now he and mom will come after she goes back to her mom's but my husband, son & I have been enjoying our small quiet Christmas Day's last few years anyway and the real important things remain constant, getting quality time with those we care about most around the tree at Christmas time actual date doesn't
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Please don't let this harden your heart. Since Dad's family all lived back East, it was traditional for all of Mom's immediate family to gather on Christmas Eve for as long as I could remember. We kept that going well into our married lives & beyond.As life goes, her 2 brothers became grandparents as well as Mom/Dad, so eventually each family had their own celebration with Grandma/Grandpa making the rounds to their 3 kids' homes.I pretty much picked up the mantel after many years so Mom could enjoy the holiday instead of always being the "hostess with the mostest".As the trouble making grandkids pretty much ended up with several baby daddies, it wasn't fun any longer.we still went to Mom's, but it was just hor's de vors, exchange gifts, clean up and go our merry way.Ever so much fun.I understand why you wanted this so very much and I think that your kids should have been more considerate, especially your son.I think your daughter from what I read, maybe in the medical field as is ours.If it were me, I would give my blessing, UPS the gifts even if they don't get there in time and CLAIM NEXT YEAR!You'll have more than enough time to plan, keep reminding them, invite their in-laws so there's no excuse.Let them know how much it means to you for them to be with you next Christmas.I wouldn't go all out $$ wise for gifts though even with the grandkids depending on their age(s).Christmas is for celebrating with family/friends as well as the true meaning.For years Mom would spend boo coo bucks on us and we're "adults"!Spend the $$ on the little ones or give to the Church, Salvation Army.Let your kids know you made a charitable donation in their name to the Cancer Research, St Jude, what do "they" need?Really, what do they need?Enjoy a peaceful evening with your husband this year and make them commit to next year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
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I learned my lesson years ago when my 4 kids got married to NOT expect them to come on ANY holidays so I replaced Christmas Eve/Day with a party a week earlier or later when almost everyone could come. We have 9 grands & they all are working or busy so I throw a date out to their parents & they decide when they can come so I make that the day. Just celebrated Christmas at my daughters house on Dec 22nd (I’m too crippled to host anymore) most of the family could make it on time or later —always have a buffet & all adults say what they can bring (too difficult to round everyone up for a sit down meal!) & we had tons of food left over—we brought homemade ham salad & shrimp & dip—one family brought only desserts—one made scallops & bacon & meatballs; another homemade potato salad & chili; the host supplied paper products, rolls, chicken wings—so you can see we had too much food but there was no stress as everyone agreed in October that that would be the best date—praying you have a better year in 2019!!
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I'm so sorry you feel so hurt. I hope you understand what I am about to say. don't know if you will agree with me but it is the way that I feel.
I understand holidays are meant for family celebrations. I also understand that you are upset that they are not coming at the time you requested. I don't understand why you are making a big deal out of the fact that they said they would come but just not the times you stated. I would be thankful that they offered to come period. the kids are young. active, have second families
now, and want to visit everyone all in one day. So they are not coming the time you requested, you should be thankful that they
cared enough about you to
change their schedules for you.
my suggestion would be to tell them to enjoy their second families and set up your dinner Christmas eve or even the day after Christmas. its the time together and the love that comes with them that counts.
don't be hurt, I am sure each and everyone of us have hurt our parents feelings not meaning too.
sit back relax, and enjoy the family that you have, just at a different day and time.
try and have a wonderful holiday no matter what you decide to do.
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My 2 cents...carry out everything you had planned, scaled down with food/costs. Enjoy this part of your healing...do it all for YOU. Take the pressure off your adult kids and offer another day and enjoy their company, drop in style/laid back. If it's been 2 years since you've done this, do it anyway! And enjoy the transition. Merry Christmas!
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Whoever you are (host, parent, in-law, grandparent, adult child, grandkid of any age), you can’t be 2 places at once.

Younger folks are more mobile. They live wherever. And - sad but true - most do not place much of a distinction between actually being present vs FaceTime/Skype vs a text vs pulling a no-show.

Older folks want what they want. Amidst a litany of real “can’t” and fabricated “can’t”.

The middle generation is double-squeezed. Someone is always stressed to the max or disappointed.

Fixating on December 25th makes a bad thing worse. It’s a season, not a day.

Wanting things to be exactly like they were 20-30-40 years ago is magical thinking.

Amongst (what’s left of) my family and in-laws, my guy & I are “the default.” With every flip of the calendar, the only way the family has a chance of seeing each other is if we function as the Party Spot, the Chow Line or the Holiday Inn.

Every so-called celebration brings us a little bit closer to telling them all to cram it. But 83-y.o. MIL is no longer in her own home and no longer drives. It would be heartless to pull the plug on her sense of family (fractured and dysfunctional as it all has become).

“Go along to get along” served me well in my 20s and 30s. It became a trap in my 40s and 50s.

I know that if I could (somehow) be sanguine about the crackpots in the family, I’d sigh less. And dread less. And clench my jaw less.

But that’s not how I’m wired.

I struggle to see past the fact (yes, fact) that the substance abusers, the hopelessly self-centered and outright narcissists are exempt from being considerate.
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So sorry you are sad at this time of the year which should be the joyous time of the year. Venting is healthy! For years my mom would have gatherings including the big holidays at her house stressing over trying to find a date that worked for everyone and year after year it would only be my sister, eldest brother and I who would show with our families. She could never understand why her other 2 sons and their families would always go to their wives family gatherings instead of seeing their own mom and dad or even alternate every year. Eventually, she quit letting it stress her out, she would set the date and say whoever makes it makes it who ever don’t oh well. Things never changed and it’s still the same today. Our mom passed in 2007, but my 2 brothers still don’t come around for our dad who’s health has been on the decline. They won’t be joining us for Christmas. My husband has more memories with my parents than my own 2 brothers which is very sad. When my dad passes, it will be on them that they didn’t spend time with him when he was alive. There’s no reason why you and your husband can’t enjoy the holiday. Merry Christmas to you and may God Bless you now and in the New Year.
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Ahmijoy, please don’t cancel the chance to get together later. I am the (80) year old patriarch of a VERY large family. For (45) years we have hosted a (50)-(60) family member Christmas Eve and was the highlight of this joyous season. But life gets in the way. My wife suffers from Alzheimer’s, we now have kids, grandkids, great grandkids and assorted boyfriends, girlfriends, aunts, uncles, etc.
I finally had to realize a few years back that they are developing their own traditions and are being pulled in many directions by their spouses same familial connections. That is the way it is, but it doesn’t have to ruin those remaining opportunities with your family. We made adjustments and still enjoy each other as we can.
Yesterday two people were killed in an accident just blocks away. My first thought was those lost future familial opportunities for them and their families.
Please, adjust and savor every opportunity, whether exactly as hoped for or not. You will not regret it nor will your family members.
God Bless you in this hurtful but not helpless situation.
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I was supposed to have Lunch with my Niece and her husband on Saturday (they were on their way to his parents' house and stopped by for a couple of hours on the way), but I started to cry so hard when they arrived that I couldn't go. 

I could barely get through wrapping  Christmas presents for my Niece and Nephew and their families because they reminded me of my Mom and that she is no longer here (Mom died September 17, 2018).  Mom LOVED CHRISTMAS and LOVED hosting the Family Christmas Gatherings each year at the house she and I lived in.  In 2017, Mom was in the nursing home at Christmas time and after visiting her for 45 minutes, we left because she was having trouble understanding what was going on.  Mom knew it was Christmas because we opened presents, but she was not able to be part of our conversations like she used.

Instead of my Brother and his family driving to our house (Mom and mine) for Christmas and Mom's Birthday on Dec 28th like they have the past 10+ years, I will have to drive alone to my Niece's or Nephew's house in another state for the holidays.  "Out with the Old (Generation) and In with the New (Generation)."  The torch has been passed to my Brother's Children.
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