This Thanks­giv­ing, let the in-laws eat pie

The Idaho Statesman - - Obituaries - BY CAROLYN HAX Email Carolyn at tellme@wash­post.com or chat with her on­line at noon ET each Fri­day at www.wash­ing­ton­post.com.

Adapted from a re­cent on­line dis­cus­sion.

Dear Carolyn: My hus­band’s fam­ily is re­ally aca­demic, most are in school un­til their late 20s at least. My hus­band has a bach­e­lor’s de­gree and I have some col­lege but never fin­ished. His fam­ily has al­ways been wel­com­ing and they aren’t snobby or any­thing – with the ex­cep­tion of Thanks­giv­ing. My in-laws host and make a great meal. My hus­band’s sib­lings are never asked to con­trib­ute be­cause they are in fi­nals and “don’t have the time or money” to bring any­thing. We are al­ways asked to bring a dessert or some­thing.

My hus­band thinks I’m over­re­act­ing and doesn’t care, but for some rea­son this re­ally bugs me. How do I let it go? Or is it worth it to bring it up? Re­ally Bugged

Dear Bugged: Oh good­ness no. Please don’t.

There are only two pos­si­bil­i­ties here. One is that the face-value ex­pla­na­tion is cor­rect: The sibs are all broke and slammed with fi­nals and you two are not broke and not slammed, so you are the only ones in a po­si­tion to help.

You will find out whether this is true, by the way, if and when the now­stu­dents fin­ish their pro­grams and are asked to bring pie. Or not.

The sec­ond is that your gut in­stinct is cor­rect – that you’re be­ing treated as an aca­dem­i­cally sec­ond-class cit­i­zen.

If the lat­ter is true, then in the­ory it’s not de­fen­si­ble, but in prac­tice it’s not only a bit of a stretch (“Let the un­washed bring us pie!”), but it’s also play­ing out as en­joy­ing 364 days, ar­guably 365, of wel­com­ing and un­snobby peo­ple for the cost of one pie.

It’s nor­mal, even fine for our in­se­cu­ri­ties to raise their voices and drown out the more ra­tio­nal ones in our heads some­times. We all just need to make sure we don’t slip and speak them out loud.

Re: Pie?: Make the pie. Make it with a lov­ing heart, freely and vol­un­tar­ily. For all you know, the aca­demics in the fam­ily can’t cook. Anony­mous

This an­swer is the an­swer to so many things: Make the pie.

Re: Aca­demic snob­bery: I find it very hard to be­lieve that if these in-laws re­ally do think of “Bugged” as in­fe­rior, this would be the only way or time it man­i­fests. Maybe they just think she makes good pie. Skep­ti­cal

True, the cal­en­dar brims with hol­i­day-dessert op­por­tu­ni­ties through which to ex­press con­tempt.

Re: Bring the pie: An ac­quain­tance al­ways thought she was be­ing snubbed be­cause she wasn’t asked to bring any­thing ex­cept frozen din­ner rolls. Turns out her mother-in-law fig­ured she was re­ally busy and was try­ing to keep from im­pos­ing ex­tra stuff on her. Don’t take of­fense if there’s no need. Pro-Pie

And some­times even if there is a need.

Leave the of­fense, take the pie.

Re: Pie: My main take­away is that pie is al­ways the an­swer. Take­away Pie All bet­ter now, thanks.

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