Author Topic: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?  (Read 8998 times)

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onyonryngs

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #45 on: December 27, 2012, 10:19:28 AM »
The extra information doesn't matter to me -  Stepmother committed herself to being at a certain place at a certain time.  She then backed out.  That's on her.  It is in no way unreasonable to expect people to keep the plans they voluntarily made.

Agreed. She was rude. If she didn't want to attend Christmas Day at your grandmother's, she had time to say so in advance, rather than bailing two days out.

Seems to me that the plans were made with the OP's father and we don't have the info on that conversation.  Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances and people are human.  And if the worst outcome is that the OP has to eat Chinese food because Lita needed to spend time with her out-of-town guests, then that's not so horrible.  Dad should've invited them all to begin with and made plans around that - he didn't.  Dad is equally responsible in this.

I think sometimes we get so caught up in the etiquette of the situation we fail to look at the situation as people.  I can't fault her for spending Christmas with her own kids.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #46 on: December 27, 2012, 04:08:54 PM »
And I still think it would have been more polite to say "Let's ask the kids".

Exactly what Dad should have done.  Lita has never celebrated Christmas with the OPs family so has really little knowledge of their holiday customs.  This to me is all on the Dad and the kids not speaking up.

But Lita knows that she doesn't know the ropes, that is exactly why, if she sees herself as "just a guest" she shouldn't put herslef in the role of planner.  If Dad asks her all she needs to say is "I don't know what you usually do - discuss it with your family".  She is not only an adult, she has adult kids of her own.  She should be able to figure out whether her role is guest or co-host.

I hope the simple act of making a suggestion does not equate to taking over hosting or becomming the planner. 

Eeep!

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #47 on: December 27, 2012, 11:37:58 PM »
And I still think it would have been more polite to say "Let's ask the kids".

Exactly what Dad should have done.  Lita has never celebrated Christmas with the OPs family so has really little knowledge of their holiday customs.  This to me is all on the Dad and the kids not speaking up.


But Lita knows that she doesn't know the ropes, that is exactly why, if she sees herself as "just a guest" she shouldn't put herslef in the role of planner.  If Dad asks her all she needs to say is "I don't know what you usually do - discuss it with your family".  She is not only an adult, she has adult kids of her own.  She should be able to figure out whether her role is guest or co-host.

I hope the simple act of making a suggestion does not equate to taking over hosting or becomming the planner.

I agree - I don't see that the OP said she insisted on having Chinese, just that she suggested it. I don't see anything wrong with making a suggestion.
I do think that it was wrong of Lita to back out but, in light of the fact that the OP even calls her "lovely" it seems like it might make more sense to chalk it up to holiday stress, rather than some sort of desire to run the show. It really does read to me more that the father was making half-baked plans.

Plus, I agree that it seems like a couple days notice would have been plenty of time to come up with an alternative to Chinese.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

kareng57

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #48 on: December 27, 2012, 11:43:12 PM »
I have to agree with some PPs.  Re your last paragraph - of course, they had a right to expect her to have Christmas Day with her own kids!  Maybe she could have handled it better, but I think she was kind of blindsided.

OP, you've said yourself that she is a lovely woman, so I don't think that she had any kind of hidden agenda here - IMO it sounds like possible miscommunication.  I don't see that anything would be gained by any additional investigating/interrogating here, and I have to agree that having her offer the suggestion "what about Chinese food?" doesn't mean that she was trying to assert herself as party-planner.

cheyne

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #49 on: December 28, 2012, 11:17:43 AM »
Re-reading the OP, it was Dad who decided that he would spend Xmas eve with Lita and her family and Xmas day with you all, Lita and Grandma at Grandma's house.  Did Dad expect his mother to prepare a huge Xmas feast for everyone at her home?

I think Lita was actually being gracious in not expecting a 95 year old woman to make food for the party and host it herself.  I assume that's why she made the suggestion of Chinese food.

I don't think it's fair to expect Lita to be there for your family's celebration when her own out-of-town family was home.  Your Dad chose to spend Xmas eve with her family-in fact he suggested it.  Perhaps Lita felt a bit "steamrolled" by your Dad's decisions too.

You all had 2 days to buy groceries and make food if you didn't want Chinese.  Grocery stores are open on 23 & 24 December and you had ample time to plan a different menu IMO.

I would let this one go and chalk it up to no one but Dad having a say in what the plans were. 

drzim

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #50 on: December 28, 2012, 05:13:04 PM »
OP here with comments and updates....tried to log on last night but the server was down?!?

First, the update:  My dad called me yesterday and he was definitely a bit down.  Apparently, Lita's kids decided that they are leaving town early (tonight instead of Sunday) so Lita has to be there at her house the entire time until they leave and my dad is home alone.   Not sure if this is a bad sign for the relationship or not :(

Thanks for all the comments.  I tried not to post a lot of details because obviously I'm extremely biased and I feel strongly that Lita should have showed up at our Christmas day meal.  DH is on the other side and agrees with a lot of you who said that it was unreasonable to expect her to leave her family on Christmas.

My dad and Lita present themselves as a social unit IMO even though they are not married.  Lita basically lives ay my dad's house.  She is present at all our family celebrations, birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc. with my dad.  Thanksgiving was at my dad's this year, Lita and I cooked everything.
2 of her sons were there at my dad's as well. 

With all her family traveling to her this year, it became obvious that it would be hard to host everyone in both families.  In Lita's family, they have a tradition of a big meal/presents on Christmas eve, with a more low key Christmas day.  So it was decided that my dad and Lita would celebrate with the big traditional dinner at her house with her family on Christmas Eve, and then my dad and Lita would celebrate Christmas with our family Christmas day.  I will admit that I don't know if this was my dad's idea or Lita's, but clearly both were in agreement.

My dad opted for the easiest plan--hosting at my grandmother's.  Since my grandmother cannot drive, someone would have to pick her up/drive her home.  She also is quite forgetful and really couldn't cook an elaborate meal. Hosting at her home meant that all we had to do was bring the food and clean up.   I suggested ordering a pre-cooked meal (turkey or ham) from a local restaurant but Lita wanted Chinese takeout for some reason.  My dad also liked this idea.  I have nothing against Chinese food normally, but I am a definite SS here--I really enjoy the traditional dishes and Chinese food doesn't seem like Christmas to me.  I will also admit there was a bit of jealousy--my dad and Lita got to enjoy a big traditional dinner on Christmas Eve so of course they didn't care that they didn't have it for Christmas day.

Unfortunately, when Lita informed my dad that she wasn't coming, the Chinese food order had already been placed.  I suppose I could have called around and figured out something else, but we were all so busy with last minute preparations that is was easier to just go ahead with the plans.

Lastly, I wanted to comment about seeing family over the holidays.  I love my family dearly and I live close enough( 1 hour by car)  that I can see them often.  But even when I lived farther away, when I came home for the holidays, I never expected that I would have my parent's undivided attention for a week straight.  They would often be invited to holiday parties, etc, that I was not invited to.  I was fine with that. 

Lita herself even made the point that Christmas Eve was the big day for her family, which she had.  I just can't help feeling like our family was good enough for Lita when her family wasn't around, but the minute her family came we were no longer needed and any plans could be discarded.

I told DH next year, we're going to Hawaii by ourselves. :P








onyonryngs

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #51 on: December 28, 2012, 05:18:59 PM »
You should've been able to cancel a Chinese food order 2 days before it was needed. 

miranova

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #52 on: December 28, 2012, 06:20:52 PM »
You should've been able to cancel a Chinese food order 2 days before it was needed.

Yep, I agree, and this is what I'm most confused over.  If no one wanted Chinese at that point, there was time to change it.  I often don't even get a chance to go to the grocery store until the day before I host an event, even when I know I'm hosting long in advance.  It is certainly doable, if you really wanted to do it.

OP, if certain Christmas traditions are important to you, you need to speak up.  You need to be willing to actually rock the boat just a tiny bit, and actually say "well, Christmas Day will be my only chance to have a big traditional Christmas meal, so I'd really like to do that.  I'll do the shopping and cooking, it's that important to me".  Otherwise you can't expect it to happen.  There is nothing wrong with you wanting a certain holiday meal, but in the same vein, there is nothing wrong with Lita wanting a certain holiday meal either.  So, if you want it, say so.  It doesn't really sound like you made your feelings really clear on this one.

From an outsider's perspective, it sounds like your dad is the one who was calling the shots yet unwilling to do any of the work.  He didn't want you to host, yet he didn't want to host either.  He wanted Chinese food just as much as Lita did it seems.  Yet you are not upset at him.  This is normal since he is your flesh and blood, but you may want to step back and look at how unfair it seems to a third party to put all the blame for this on Lita while leaving your dad blameless.  He was the one who didn't want you to host in the first place, right?  And if you had stood your ground and hosted, Lita would never have needed to make a suggestion for take out at all. 

All around, I agree with the others that Lita's error was in making the plans and then cancelling.  That's not cool.  I do hold her responsible for that, but I think she never should have offered to leave her visiting children on Christmas Day.  Another day of the week, sure, but not Christmas Day.

Iris

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #53 on: December 28, 2012, 06:32:22 PM »
You should've been able to cancel a Chinese food order 2 days before it was needed.

I can see drzim's point on this one. Having to contact everyone to get their agreement and organise an alternative? I'd have put it in the too hard basket. The two days before Christmas were insanely busy for me and one more job - even a simple one - would have been just too much. To me, two days notice before Christmas really isn't enough time to plan a new meal.

However, even with the update I stick to my previous advice - let it slide this time and polish your spine for next time. "Great! You two can have Chinese, sure, but it just doesn't seem like Christmas to me without the roast Carrot and mashed Beef. I'll order that for my family, but you don't need to have the same thing."
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

penelope2017

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #54 on: December 28, 2012, 06:39:06 PM »
You should've been able to cancel a Chinese food order 2 days before it was needed.

I can see drzim's point on this one. Having to contact everyone to get their agreement and organise an alternative? I'd have put it in the too hard basket. The two days before Christmas were insanely busy for me and one more job - even a simple one - would have been just too much. To me, two days notice before Christmas really isn't enough time to plan a new meal.

However, even with the update I stick to my previous advice - let it slide this time and polish your spine for next time. "Great! You two can have Chinese, sure, but it just doesn't seem like Christmas to me without the roast Carrot and mashed Beef. I'll order that for my family, but you don't need to have the same thing."

Once Lita wasn't coming I don't see why anyone needed to come to an agreement. I agree she was rude but I don't think it is Lita's fault the OP didn't change the meal once she wasn't coming. Two days before a holiday is simple to call a local store and order something else. Bailing yes, but the Chinese food xmas dinner was not Lita's fault at that point.

buvezdevin

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #55 on: December 28, 2012, 06:42:40 PM »
Well, while it may be possible to cancel a dinner order two days prior to Christmas, I can understand why OP did not - first, it seems there was some group confab which led to the decision to order a Chinese meal, and it would likely have been inconsiderate, or even rude to unilaterally change that and probably difficult to consult others on the alternatives (beyond OP, her husband, her father, there are OP's brother, his wife and his in laws); second, because - if OP is even a little like me and my family - we are all really busy in the last two or three days before Christmas, finishing shopping, wrapping, exchanging gifts with friends, etc. 

I, too, have shopped for a large meal the day before a holiday, but that was fine since it was "in the plan" for some time prior, not a late adjustment which adds stress.

I still think it would be worth a discussion with OP's dad and amongst OP's other family members to see what the collective preference(s) may be regarding how Christmas, and other holidays are celebrated - including addressing any traditions of importance, new or old.  Then plan for those, knowing better what matters to others, and either incorporate the elements important to OP or have those separately for OP and her husband.  The challenges of finding the "best" means to suit OP's family, and OP, regarding family celebrations will be there whether or not Lita is.
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Roe

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #56 on: December 28, 2012, 10:38:41 PM »
Regardless of who said what, who planned or ordered what...I think Lita was very rude.  She and her kids had your dad for their Christmas but she couldn't leave her adult kids for 2hrs?  Give me a break.  Your family got the short end of the stick while her family had the whole family togetherness plus the traditional meal. 

snowdragon

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #57 on: December 28, 2012, 10:43:06 PM »
Regardless of who said what, who planned or ordered what...I think Lita was very rude.  She and her kids had your dad for their Christmas but she couldn't leave her adult kids for 2hrs?  Give me a break.  Your family got the short end of the stick while her family had the whole family togetherness plus the traditional meal.

ITA....I would also call Lita selfish.

Sharnita

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #58 on: December 28, 2012, 10:53:04 PM »
Even that wouldn't seem so bad had she consulted her kids from the very beginning and told everyone she wouldn't be available. 

AustenFan

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Re: Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?
« Reply #59 on: December 28, 2012, 11:03:03 PM »
OP, what prevents your dad from going to Lita's house while her kids are in town? Why is him being home alone another notch against her? I apologize if that's incorrect, but the tone of your posts comes across strongly defensive of your father and wanting to blame Lita for the entire situation. Did she commit a faux paus? Yes. But since it doesn't seem like she set out to I really wonder about the amount of animosity and blame solely aimed in her direction.

Also, she may be trying to be respectful of your role in the family if she suspects your feelings. You are obviously defensive about your father, and since you describe yourself as having stepped into your mothers shoes as far as hosting is concerned she may not have realized what a big deal her attending Christmas would be to you. If your attitude conveys the negativity towards her your posts do I can't help but wonder if she believes you would have preferred a family Christmas without her presence.