Christ­mas party causes in-law drama.

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - You can write Amy Dick­in­son at askamy@tri­ or by mail to: Ask Amy, Chicago Tri­bune, TT500, 435 N. Michi­gan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Ask Amy Amy Dick­in­son

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.

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