Un invited for Thanksgiving


#1

Thanksgiving is coming again, so I ask my mother what she would like to do for the holiday. (indicating that I would like to invite her to my house.) She says she doesn’t know. So I press her a little. She says she wants to stay home. I ask her, “What about my brother and my nieces (who live with her).” Now it gets tricky. She says she was planning to invite my uncle and his family down for Thanksgiving because he doesn’t have any place to go. I say. “but what about me? " She says,” Well you have your own family". (I have a husband and 2 sons, nice, but not much of a get-together for the holiday.)

At this point, I say, “Mom, it sounds like you don’t want to see me or my family for Thanksgiving.” I continue to say “That’s OK but I would like to see my brother and my nieces for the holiday. And as far as my uncle goes- he and his family are always welcome for thanksgiving.”

I have always deferred to my mother be the coordinator of the holidays even if it was at my house. She decides on the food and guest list etc.

I really don’t know how to handle this. The holidays are the only time I can see my relatives. My husband and I love to see my nieces, and cousins and aunt and uncle but my mom seems to want to put and end to this.

The only other info I can add is that both my youngest brother and my sister refuse to come to family gatherings. My youngest brother also wants nothing to do with anyone in the family but my sister will only speak to my mother and no one else.

Anybody have any ideas? I don’t even know how to explain this to my sons when they ask what are we doing for thanksgiving?


#2

You DO have your own family. And I’m sure you have a friend or two that would be more than happy to be invited over becuase they literally have no one. Simply tell your sons that you’re having thanksgiving at your house this year. If you’re missed others will stick up for you, and if you aren’t embrace what you have and move on.

It sounds as if your mom is being a bit toxic. I don’t know if you’ve spoken about her before and I don’t care to look but it sounds like a really dramtic family situation. Stay out of it…my head spun with all the “he dosn’t talk to me…etc” It’s family but at some point it’s not worth it. Buy a turkey, crandberry sauce and some stovetop stuffing. If you don’t have the willingess to do that, host Thanksgiving II at your place on Saturday or on Saturday or Sunday the weekend after.


#3

If you want to invite everyone to your house, do so. Call them up and invite them directly. None of this going through your mom stuff. Maybe consider inviting them for the day after Thx or that Sunday if they already have plans for the actual day.

If they decline, and you are not invited to whatever it is they are doing, then enjoy the day with your own family.

Then invite them to another get together, maybe in December to celebrate Christmas.


#4

The invite on another day is a good idea but half of my relatives have jobs that are on the weekends and I work during the week so these holidays are somewhat precious because usually everyone has that day off.

Also, who really wants to eat a second Turkey dinner in a row? I could, but most won't.
I know I could make something else but it's not thankgiving then, is it?

Most of all, I don't want to compete with my mother for family gatherings either.

I have never experienced a Thankgiving without relatives before because my grandmother, my aunt,(both dead) and myself (still here) always invited everyone and who came, came.

I have tried to talk to my mom about this but I am getting nothing but defensiveness and denial. I know my relatives do like me and my family but they don't know that this is happening. They love my mother and wouldn't think that she would do something like this. And I don't know how to explain it because I don't understand it and I am afraid I will say something detacting about my mother.
I'm even hesitant to say anything here because I may say something detractful but I'm so confused and a little sad so I don't know where else to turn for sound holy advice.

I also want folks to know I am always willing to have those who have no place else to go for the holidays to my house but I don't know anyone in that position right now.

I know my husband and sons feel the pain of not having a family gathering. At first they blamed me for it. I asked them to point out what I had done to cause this but they couldn't come up with anything substantal enough to merrit my mom actions. My husband was the first to see how my mom was doing things. But my sons don't understand. (more division in the family)

I guess what I'm really asking is how can I unite my family for the holidays when my mother seems to be trying (very successfully) to divide it?


#5

So, what was her response to this? It does seem you’re being excluded. Do you know why?

Personally, I would invite the people that I want to see. Including your mother and uncle and such. Then let them decide.

My DH usually works on Thanksgiving. So in order for our immediate family to be together we stay home. Same for Christmas. Everyone (out of town) knows they are welcome. And invited annually JIC, but after that… it’s a “no hard feelings” when people decide to do as they like.


#6

You didn't say in your OP, but just how old is your mother? My mom isn't quite as direct as yours is in breaking the tradition of the big family get together, but there has definitely been quite a change in how she wants to celebrate the holidays lately. My mom is 84, she is just getting to where she just doesn't like big family get togethers as much as she use to, she doesn't like to entertain as much. Her habits are changing, and it has been quite an adjustment for me to let go of the old traditions we had and give into seeing things differently.

I don't think your own immediate family laying some kind of guilt trip on you is helping you any. This may just be a situation that is just out of your control and they are going to have to adjust. Maybe its time to start your own immediate family traditions, maybe volunteer at a soup kitchen. Set up some kind of family celebration for later in the holiday season, invite your mom and everyone else, that way you can start your own family get together and see them for the holidays and diffuse whatever is bubbling under the surface with the actual Thanksgiving dinner. You can still work on bringing the family together, it just might not look like the Thanksgiving celebration you've grown accustomed to.


#7

You’re a grown woman with a family of your own; it sounds as if you have always let your mother call the shots, and she has done so.

As a previous poster said, cheerfully call your relatives - including your mother - and invite them for Thanksgiving. If they want to come, they will; at any rate, you will have let them know they are welcome. You can’t do more than that.

I understand how tough it is not to have extended family around for Thanksgiving; we live 1500+ miles from my dad, siblings, cousins, etc., and I can count on one hand - half of one hand - the times we have been with them for Thanksgiving. It is a time of year that my husband can’t get time off to travel; many years, I would do a very early dinner because he had to head to work (does TV news.) So, it was generally our little family of four; a few times my sweet in-laws visited, but they usually came at Christmas, instead.

These days, our younger daughter and son-in-law are here in town, so it will just be 4 of us again; older dd and SIL are on the west coast (they move back within a couple of hours of us next summer, and we couldn’t be happier!)

You just do what you can do and make the best of it. God bless!


#8

Yes my mom is getting up there and I could understand if she wanted to keep it small even if it is at my house, and I do all the work.
The part I don’t understand is that she has added my uncle, aunt and their grown children’s families (about 10 more people) to her guest list and taken my family of 4 off the list. That’s ok if she wants to spend her holidays with her brother and his family (who I am glad to have to my home and have always included) so the smaller group situation doesn’t make sense. The problem is that excludes me from seeing my brother and my nieces who I have spent every holiday with since their birth. I can ask them to come to my house but that would create division because my mother wants them there at her dinner.


#9

[quote="m_crane, post:8, topic:218404"]
Yes my mom is getting up there and I could understand if she wanted to keep it small even if it is at my house, and I do all the work.
The part I don't understand is that she has added my uncle, aunt and their grown children's families (about 10 more people) to her guest list and taken my family of 4 off the list. That's ok if she wants to spend her holidays with her brother and his family (who I am glad to have to my home and have always included) so the smaller group situation doesn't make sense. The problem is that excludes me from seeing my brother and my nieces who I have spent every holiday with since their birth. I can ask them to come to my house but that would create division because my mother wants them there at her dinner.

[/quote]

This all sounds very bizarre to me. Have you had a falling out of some sort with your mother? Could she be suffering from some type of mental problems (dementia?) Is this typical behavior? I know you said that she tends to be controlling...


#10

[quote="purplesunshine, post:2, topic:218404"]
You DO have your own family. And I'm sure you have a friend or two that would be more than happy to be invited over becuase they literally have no one.

[/quote]

This is an excellent suggestion! :thumbsup: Consider inviting a single/widowed/divorced person (or more than one) who lives far from family, or who has no family to speak of ... the holidays are such a difficult time to be alone, and you could really make the difference for someone.

Who knows, the glow you see on their face as a result of your kindness and generosity may help make up for the difficulties you're experiencing with your mother. :)


#11

[quote="m_crane, post:8, topic:218404"]
Yes my mom is getting up there and I could understand if she wanted to keep it small even if it is at my house, and I do all the work.
The part I don't understand is that she has added my uncle, aunt and their grown children's families (about 10 more people) to her guest list and taken my family of 4 off the list. That's ok if she wants to spend her holidays with her brother and his family (who I am glad to have to my home and have always included) so the smaller group situation doesn't make sense. The problem is that excludes me from seeing my brother and my nieces who I have spent every holiday with since their birth. I can ask them to come to my house but that would create division because my mother wants them there at her dinner.

[/quote]

Don't worry about it and invite your family anyway. In fact make your list get on the phone and start calling this week. We started out having Thanksgiving at the inlaws and when fil's mom died unexpectedly one year before Thanksgiving, I switched it to my house and told mil not to worry about the preparations. It's been at my house ever since. If your mom doesn't want to take charge of the gathering than you step up to the plate and do it.

I would also ask mom if you have done something to anger her. Ask her point blank why she doesn't want to be with you and your family. It never hurts to get that out in the open so it can be dealt with.


#12

There's something I wasn't clear on from your post...

Did she come out and say that she didn't want to have Thanksgiving with you even if you came to her house? Or did she say she doesn't want to have it with you period? I'm just wondering if it's the drive, the large amount of people or whatever that's stopping her, rather than something about you specifically?

I'm kind of on the other side of things: every Thanksgiving we've tried to travel to two different dinners, about two hours apart, to please everyone, and we do get stressed and tired (not to mention bloated!). Even though we invited certain family members to our house, they don't want to go; they want us to travel a long distance to spend the holiday with them and their relatives in another state. This year we said no (and invited them to come to our place during or after, which they declined). I'm willing to bet they are not happy and complaining to other relatives about this.

The truth is, we didn't decline the invitation because we don't want to see them, it's because we don't want to travel that far, and also, we are still mourning a recent death on my side of the family. All of us, including my mom, wanted something quieter and more local, to help with the bittersweet moments.

Sorry to go on about my own sitch, but I'm just showing some of the reasons why a person might decline a holiday invitation, especially if it's far. However, if she came out and said she doesn't want to spend the holiday with you anywhere, including her own turf, then something's going on.

Have you said, "would it be easier if we came to your place," and if so, did she say no? That's what I wasn't clear on.


#13

I think I would get this all out in the open.

"Mom, what’s going on with Thanksgiving? We’ve always done it a certain way and I’m confused about how you want it to be different and why. Is something wrong?"
or
"Mom, I’d really like to host it again, and I really want to see the relatives too. What can I do to make it easier for you, so you’ll still come?"
or
"Mom, I was really looking forward to seeing the relatives as usual. Is my family welcome to come to your house?“
or
"Mom, are you upset with me? Is there a reason you don’t want us there?” (if you find out that this is definitely true)

After all, this isn’t an acquaintance, it is your mother. You should be able to speak this candidly to parents. It is my opinion that in most situations parents should be able to invite themselves over to their kids houses and kids should be able to invite themselves to parents houses. We can always say, “No, this isn’t a great time,” but we shouldn’t need to tiptoe and hint to our own parents.

If Mom admits that she actually doesn’t want you there, then you can ask her why. Maybe she has a legitimate reason, or a legitimate gripe that needs to be addressed. If she refuses to give you a straight answer, then maybe you can say, “Well, I’m confused about what you want, so how about this. I’ll host thanksgiving, and I’ll take care of everything. I would love to have you there.” After all, unless she can clarify what is happening and that she is taking charge, then you might as well take charge. Who knows, maybe she’s tired of being in charge?

Really, to drastically change Thanksgiving traditions in a way that suddenly excludes your own daughter? She owes you an explanation. Particularly because it affects your relationship with your other relatives. It probably is better though that you don’t depend on her for your relationship with them. Perhaps another good reason to either find another way to visit with them or to start taking more control of the holiday.


#14

I’m sorry about your situation, it is very hurtful. My DH and I have had a similar problem, but it revolves around Christmas Eve.

We were sort of “not invited” to the family gathering because we don’t attend the same parish and I guess my mom felt overwhelmed by out-of-town guests and didn’t want us in the mix. I was shocked when I called her to see what they were doing, fully expecting to be asked to come over and see the out-of-towners (We usually order out or eat out so it’s not a matter of cooking a big meal). Anyway, we were told basically not to come over, that they would see us on Christmas Day. I was really, really hurt…BUT… we would up having a wonderful evening with just me & DH & the kids, we went out for a nice dinner, went to a late Mass together and then had a nice quiet evening at home watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” and drinking wine. :slight_smile: We were totally recharged for the big Christmas Day gathering.

So my point is, although your feelings are hurt, this may be an opportunity to have a nice Thxg with just your nuclear family. You just may enjoy it.

Perhaps you could just let it go with your mom, but invite the whole kit & caboodle over to your place for dessert & coffee? Do you live close enough for that?

Also, contrary to popular opinion here, I would NOT invite family members to dinner who have already been invited to your mom’s for dinner…that’s putting your relatives in the middle and making them have to make an uncomfortable decision.


#15

[quote="ThyKingdomCome, post:13, topic:218404"]
I think I would get this all out in the open.

"Mom, what's going on with Thanksgiving? We've always done it a certain way and I'm confused about how you want it to be different and why. Is something wrong?"
or
"Mom, I'd really like to host it again, and I really want to see the relatives too. What can I do to make it easier for you, so you'll still come?"
or
"Mom, I was really looking forward to seeing the relatives as usual. Is my family welcome to come to your house?"
or
"Mom, are you upset with me? Is there a reason you don't want us there?" (if you find out that this is definitely true)

After all, this isn't an acquaintance, it is your mother. You should be able to speak this candidly to parents. It is my opinion that in most situations parents should be able to invite themselves over to their kids houses and kids should be able to invite themselves to parents houses. We can always say, "No, this isn't a great time," but we shouldn't need to tiptoe and hint to our own parents.

If Mom admits that she actually doesn't want you there, then you can ask her why. Maybe she has a legitimate reason, or a legitimate gripe that needs to be addressed. If she refuses to give you a straight answer, then maybe you can say, "Well, I'm confused about what you want, so how about this. I'll host thanksgiving, and I'll take care of everything. I would love to have you there." After all, unless she can clarify what is happening and that she is taking charge, then you might as well take charge. Who knows, maybe she's tired of being in charge?

Really, to drastically change Thanksgiving traditions in a way that suddenly excludes your own daughter? She owes you an explanation. Particularly because it affects your relationship with your other relatives. It probably is better though that you don't depend on her for your relationship with them. Perhaps another good reason to either find another way to visit with them or to start taking more control of the holiday.

[/quote]

God bless you! What a kind and practical response. You are right I should be able to communicate with my own mother. But my mother can be very hard on people and I think I've crossed her. The best I can come up with is that she is punishing me for something. I think she is angry because my sister will not come for holidays anymore and that this is my fault.
It is not my fault my sister was very, very abusive to me and ended the relationship with me and the rest of the family on her own. She told my mother that I was not allowing her to come for Christmas in 2009. The truth was that she was intending to come that day. She scheduled to work that day(she didn't want to spend the day with our brothers) but she told me that wanted to send her new boyfriend and their combined 6 children (all very out of control kids) for dinner. I told her that it would be better if she came for Christmas Eve instead. (because I could handle the having all those kids with no mom and cooking dinner).I was not excluding her because she at that point, only spoke to me and my mother anyway, and we were all going to be present for Christmas Eve. I knew long before this that my sister was building a resentment toward me but I remained kind to her.(As I am doing with my mother presently)

To make a long story short, sister cursed me out, hung up on me. I called her back to try to explain myself better but she wouldn't listen. And we haven't spoken except briefly when I had my husband bail her out of jail for domestic abuse. I know my sister is very sick. I don't hold a grudge but I did have to stand my ground that day and I paid a hefty price. She truely hates me.

Unfortunately, I think now my mother hates me too, and it's only a matter of time until she finds some reason to dump me.

And I know this all sounds so crazy, I'm sorry but it the truth at least as much as I can know.


#16

[quote="StJudePray4Me, post:14, topic:218404"]
I'm sorry about your situation, it is very hurtful. My DH and I have had a similar problem, but it revolves around Christmas Eve.

We were sort of "not invited" to the family gathering because we don't attend the same parish and I guess my mom felt overwhelmed by out-of-town guests and didn't want us in the mix. I was shocked when I called her to see what they were doing, fully expecting to be asked to come over and see the out-of-towners (We usually order out or eat out so it's not a matter of cooking a big meal). Anyway, we were told basically not to come over, that they would see us on Christmas Day. I was really, really hurt...BUT... we would up having a wonderful evening with just me & DH & the kids, we went out for a nice dinner, went to a late Mass together and then had a nice quiet evening at home watching "It's a Wonderful Life" and drinking wine. :) We were totally recharged for the big Christmas Day gathering.

So my point is, although your feelings are hurt, this may be an opportunity to have a nice Thxg with just your nuclear family. You just may enjoy it.

Perhaps you could just let it go with your mom, but invite the whole kit & caboodle over to your place for dessert & coffee? Do you live close enough for that?

Also, contrary to popular opinion here, I would NOT invite family members to dinner who have already been invited to your mom's for dinner...that's putting your relatives in the middle and making them have to make an uncomfortable decision.

[/quote]

God bless you! You've been there-done-that so you know my hurt. I agree it is not a good to make the family choose. Thank you for your kind comments.


#17

You took the words right out of my hands! Exactly what I was going to suggest.

Don’t make the holiday a competition - offer to have dessert at your place for whoever would like to come. :thumbsup: If no one shows up, then take your desserts to the homeless shelter and be happy that someone will be grateful for your generosity. :thumbsup:

~Liza


#18

I have gone through the silent shunning by family members. I honestly think that covert aggression is far worse than open aggression. When someone is being openly aggressive, when they get over their anger, you know it. When they are covertly aggressive, you never know what their feelings are or if they've ever forgiven you. You can't apologize or make amends, because they will deny up and down that they were ever upset and sometimes even take offense that you could "accuse" them of "such a thing." They have their cake and eat it, too--that is, they attack you while maintaining the pretense of being "nice" people with a "healthy" family--and you pay the freight.

Does your family want to go to Grandma's for Thanksgiving? If so, call her and say, "Mom, I know it's a big crowd for you, but Tommy and Michael really want to be at Grandma's for Thanksgiving. I don't know how to tell them that Grandma wants Uncle Joe and Tammy and Sue and even Great Uncle John, but she doesn't want us. Is there some way we can figure this out?"

Then actually work with her about how to do the holiday so it doesn't hurt your kids' feelings. If it won't work out, you just have to live with it.

If, OTOH, your family would just as soon stay out of the family drama that always seems to be swirling around Grandma's house, take this as a ticket to let them stay out of it.

Four is not much for a feast, but I will guarantee you know some people who have nowhere to go. Ask them to come to your house. If you don't know anyone, ask your pastor. I'm quite sure he knows far more than he would like.

Otherwise, f your kids are old enough, take your husband and kids and volunteer at a Thanksgiving dinner for the disadvantaged. It will probably be your best Thanksgiving ever.


#19

If you’re worried about the crowd at your table (or lack of it) consider talking to your local military base chaplain or veteran’s group. Inviting these Patriots to your table is an amazing experience for you and your family and it gives them a home for the holiday.

I’ve hosted hundreds of different soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen, and Marines over the years. It’s been the delight of my life and is a tradition I started while in high school.

Another idea is to think of those you know who are less fortunate and invite them. Putting together a Thanksgiving meal on a shoestring budget is so difficult and they can really teach you and your family as well.


#20

I just asked my youngest today you question today. I explained that grandma seemed a little hesitant to want to do with our family get-together for thanksgiving. Of course he asked why and told him I wasn’t sure. I asked him if he would maybe like to invite friends, his college buddies to our house. He said Thankgiving is a family occasion.
He would still like us to make an effort to get-together.

So I guess I will try to wrangle an invite to the family dinner at mom’s or reintroduce my offer to host the whole family at my house.

Unfortunately, I can see that my mother is looking to do the same thing my sister did to me 2 years ago when she cut me off.

I really love my nieces and I care about my brother, I like to see my Aunt and Uncle and theirs. So I don’t mind groveling to have a least one more family dinner.

Thank you for your kind insights.
God Bless!


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