A full house for the holidays

This college student wonders if she’s being selfish to want everyone together.

Our elder thinks not—and has a few hints on how to make it happen.

Dear EWC:

I am a college freshman and will be going home to my parents for winter break. I have two older siblings who are both married and have their own families. I can’t remember the last time either one of them came home for the holidays; they spend both them with their spouses’ families.

This is pretty hurtful for my parents and me, since we hardly see them at all the rest of the year, even though they live within a half hour of us. Since I’m in college now, the only times I’m able to see them are during the holidays, but I can’t do that if they’re with their in-laws.

I know this seems selfish, but I’ve never celebrated a holiday with them on the actual day, and I want to spend time with them. Is there any way I can talk to them or get my parents to talk to them about switching up their plans this year?

Should I just resign myself to the way things are?

Good-Listener replies:

Your letter touched me to the core. Having lost my family and being alone, I feel there are few things more important than family. And, until you lose people, you often don’t find that out…although you seem to be way ahead of the game as you obviously “get it.” And your kind of “selfishness” is pretty wonderful.

It’s very sad. Often folks get so wrapped up in the holidays and “who goes where” that they don’t stop and understand that it’s always worth stopping and maybe making an exception one year by remembering where you came from and the people that you love.
The only thing I thing you can do is to sit with each of your family members, without drama, and just have a heart to heart. Let them know you understand they have their families too, but that maybe they could make that exception… Be truthful and real with them and, again, let them know, without drama (I’m repeating that because often people get upset and then the whole point gets lost in an argument).

Discuss it with your folks and offer to help out eve more. I don’t know if there are kids, but offer to help with your nieces and nephews to make life easier. Make sure you let everyone know how important this is to you and your parents and you’re willing to go out of your way to make it happen.

If they still don’t “get it,” then there’s not much more you can do. But in this case, honesty and offering to make things easier for all involved may turn the tides. I really hope this works and you can have a true family gathering this holiday season.

Good luck.


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