Dear Annie: We host Thanksgiving dinner for my husband’s family every year, and I enjoy doing so, but I have a problem with my stepson’s wife. They have not lived together for almost three years, but they still travel together regularly.
I have included her, as well as her three children (all from previous relationships) in every holiday invitation. She never responds. Most of the time, they don’t come. But occasionally, they show up two or three hours past dinnertime. I can make adjustments for a couple of unexpected guests, but not for five people who are that late.
I would like to tell her that if I don’t hear from her, she should not come at all, but my husband says that would hurt his son’s feelings. What do you think?
-- Last-Minute Hostess
Dear Last Minute: If all five of them are coming late, it includes your stepson, no? So why is this the wife’s fault? Is your stepson incapable of using a telephone?
Here’s our suggestion: If you don’t hear from anyone in this family before the holiday, call your stepson and ask whether they are planning to come. (If you prefer, call his wife directly.) Start your dinner on time, and if they show up two hours late, say, “How nice to see you! I had no idea you were coming. There are extra plates in the kitchen. Help yourself.” Be gracious and welcoming, but don’t drive yourself crazy.
Dear Annie: “Unwilling” said he has a major problem with his parents’ 40th anniversary celebration because they want a white-sweatshirt photo. OMG!
Both of my parents have Alzheimer’s. Because of trauma from alcoholism, abuse and mental illness, my immediate family has not been together in one place for 40 years. Get over it, “Unwilling.” You are blessed to all still be alive and able to celebrate being a family. Enjoy. Be grateful. Let go.
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