Adult Children And the Holidays
The holidays are approaching and those of us who fall into the “midlife women” category likely have adult children who are married or have significant others. Some of us even have grandchildren. All that means is there are now other families within our sphere with whom we have to share our kids and grandkids!
I don’t know about you, but the first year I was faced with this, it was tough. And it had nothing to do with the in-laws or the actual logistics where my kids were on a given holiday. I think it was just one of those “letting go of” moments that I wasn’t emotionally prepared for.
Today’s post is from author and blogger Doreen Mcgettigan. Doreen and her husband have 5 grown children and 13 grandchildren. Here is how their holidays and Doreen’s perspective have grown and changed since those first holidays after her daughters married.
Stress-Free Holidays – Sharing Your Adult Children
I admit to being 100% selfish when it came to the holidays after my daughters got married. Of course, they would be home for each and every holiday with me and their siblings. We lived close by and saw each other nearly every day, but the holidays were different. The attendance of my adult children was a must.
We decided Christmas Eve would be spent at our house and Christmas Day they were free to visit with the in-laws. For Thanksgiving, they would have dinner with us and dessert with the in-laws.
Once my two oldest daughters had babies things started to change. My oldest daughter decided she wanted to have the holidays at her house so she could invite us and her in-laws. She’s the great compromiser. The other daughter’s in-laws were invited too.
We all chipped in by providing side dishes and drinks. I was upset at first but quickly realized how stress-free it was to get dressed, go to her house, enjoy the meal, the babies and then go home to my nice clean kitchen.
It worked out so well that she became the hostess for every single holiday for years.
Then my son got married and it all changed. My daughter-in-law wanted to be with her mother and her siblings for every holiday. Her family had their big celebration on Christmas Eve too. I was in trouble. Not only were holidays different, it was different with their babies too. My daughters called me several times a day while they were expecting. My daughter-in-law called her mother. I was so hurt at first but realized it’s different with daughters. I had to accept her closeness with her mother and realized how my daughter’s mothers-in-laws must have felt over the years. I felt so guilty. I conceded that we would take turns and simply make sure no one in our family was alone for any holiday.
Just to complicate our family more, I remarried and became step-mother to a young man. He often wanted to spend holidays with his mother and his step-sister. I told my husband we would just have him over as often as he could visit and it didn’t make any difference if it was a holiday or not.
What I won’t give up is the one- week family beach vacation we take every year. All the kids, their spouses and the grandchildren are invited. I encourage them all to at least come for a few days if they can’t spend the entire week. The cousins love the opportunity to play together all week. I live for and plan that week all year.
My stepson is still single. I’m sure he will eventually marry and have children and that will be another learning experience for me. We will be sharing him with his mother and his in-laws. I am so grateful his mother and I get along. That makes a big difference. I am again resigned to be happy with whatever time we do spend together and consciously choose to make that time as comfortable as possible so they want to spend time with us.
For me, it’s become all about the memories. With 13 grandchildren it is so important to make the time during the year to make each one of them feel special like they are our favorite. We enjoy coming up with just the right activity for each child. There are opportunities to create those beautiful memories anytime. We simply have to want to and then we must do the work needed to make it possible. We also have to make the time.
This year I want to work on spending more one on one time with my grown children. It’s been all about the grandchildren for so long now, I’m missing the closeness with my kids.
I am not willing to cause strife over attendance at a holiday meal. I am more interested in being part of a family that can get together anytime and make it a memorable holiday.
How do you work out the “sharing” of your kids and grandkids over the holidays? Share in the comments below.
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