Christmas party causes in-law drama.
Dear Amy: I am having in-law troubles.
About five years ago I asked my sisters-in-law if we could move the annual Christmas family gathering from a Sunday to a Saturday so that one of my kids could attend. He lives quite a distance away and would have to miss work on the Monday after if he attended the party. None of the others would miss a day of work because they live locally.
The response was: “No, this is the day we always do it.”
Each successive year, I made this request when the advance email came out, and I was repeatedly refused. This year I did not even get an email, but I was informed earlier than normal of the event by my niece.
I am depressed and demoralized by the exclusion of my child and by being excluded from the conversation. I have asked my partner to approach his siblings but frankly I am not sure what will change. Do you have any suggestions? —Left Out
Dear Left Out: I sympathize with you — really I do, because nobody likes a sister-in-law exclusion story better than yours truly.
But you are not hosting this party. Someone else is. You made your request to change the day for the sake of one person’s work and travel schedule and were told no. Asking the same question every year and always getting the same answer is the very definition of social madness, and it is starting to reflect poorly on you.
Holiday parties involving groups of people do tend to become set in stone. It is really not for you to say what change might be easy for others. Others in your in-law family group might have in-laws themselves on the other sides of their families that are vying for holiday attention. So changing a holiday party by one day might throw off scores of other people.
It is a shame that your son can’t ever attend this party. You and your husband might make some headway by offering to host it one year, and giving Saturday a try.
It is not always easy to be a sister-in-law, especially when you feel that a special social bond has not been extended to you. But this might be one of those times when you have to realize and accept that you are not a family member with voting rights, but one of many guests.