(Closed) Family Event, Need Advice (LONG)

posted 6 years ago in Family
Post # 3
817 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013 - Mansion House at the MD Zoo

No you are not. Not insane, not a bitch, not wrong. It sucks that you got into a big argument with your family about it though. Sometimes it’s hard for people to give up traditions, especially older people who are so set in their ways and probably feel like they are being marginalized as they get older anyway. But things have to change as people’s lives change, new people come into the family, etc etc. You don’t say anything about aunts and uncles so at least you don’t have 15 other people’s opinions to contend with. However, I hope for everyone’s safety and comfort that you can say, hey, I think we’ve all seen why this doesn’t really work. So let’s think about how we can do the same thing, but in a way that’s more comfortable and easier for everyone? Hopefully people will go along with you–you may want to enlist your brother and his wife if they’re sympathetic. Good luck! And stick to your guns, it’s not like you’re refusing to see family, you’re refusing to get hurt to do it.

Post # 4
993 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

“She is Italian and cooks an elaborate meal and we appreciate it, but have told her to pair it down and spend time with us. She literally spends 20 minutes with us. I think she has OCD tendencies as she has to prepare the same meal every year in the same way. Even when we have offered to do dishes or help so she can spend time with her great grandkids she refuses. She is very controlling like that.”

I’d just like to offer another perspective on this.  My family-to-be does things similarly.  It was a bit of culture shock the first time, eating in the basement.  And the guys and girls split up into separate tables.  Weird… anyways…

First, she’s obviously getting old and won’t be able to physically do this for many more years so you won’t be doing it forever (she has great grandkids!!).  Doing the same thing in the same way is pretty typical of old people.  I don’t know how many people she’s hosting but knowing how to coordinate and place everything is important when cooking for a large group.  That may be why she prefers her country kitchen.  Having the same meal every year is a pretty common Christmas tradition, and its something she has experience with so she knows it will turn out.  You as a guest doing the dishes is an insult – she is there trying to take care of you.  You are seeing this as a control issue but its more likely that its a Christmas gift to you.  

The whole “don’t cook, sit down and visit” thing probably just isn’t going to happen.  This is her one time a year to host you and she’s going to love you with food not quality time.  That’s just cultural – she would be a bad hostess if she wasn’t stuffing you.  Maybe you can say “Nonna, I’d really like to start learning how to put on a meal like you” and then she’ll help you cook or clean up with her, or to move it to your mother’s house.  I find it odd the other girls don’t help at all though – her daughters or sisters.  She can’t be doing it all alone?

It’s a once of year thing and you seem to know its coming each year.  Can you use someone’s SUV or truck?  I know for us, Christmas and New Years are the only times we see extended family together and people are usually there lunch and supper – so even if the drive is an hour, you’re there for 8 hours.

I’m sorry you’re having trouble with this.  I doubt she has bad intentions, she probably just enjoys the tradition and habit and its her way of loving her family.  I don’t get the cooking in the basement thing either. 

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