General Etiquette > Family and Children

Easter dinner quandary, update #11

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My mother issued her invitation for Easter dinner a couple of weeks ago.The invitation informs us that she has invited another couple with whom my family has often celebrated the holiday. My mother is in her mid-70s. The other couple is older than my mother. I believe the man is nearly 80 if not already in his early 80s.

This other couple lives in MyCity. Everyone (including DH, DS, and this couple) would have to drive an hour to my mother's house to have dinner in HerCity. For several years, I have thought this to be an odd situation that so many people would drive to my mother's house when we all live in MyCity, but my mother has issued the invitations, and we have all gone there for Easter dinner when possible.

Recently, I have seen this couple out (mostly walking in their neighborhood), and I observed that the man is now using a cane. I don't think my mother is aware of this situation because she has not seen them for quite some time.

This morning, I received an e-mail from the couple's daughter (who lives out of state) stating that her dad and his wife want to come to Easter dinner at my mother's house, but she is concerned that he really should not be driving. His wife doesn't drive. The daughter has asked me (or my brother) to pick up her dad and his wife and take them to my mother's house so they can have Easter dinner together. It would be much easier for DH and me to pick them up and take them than my brother because he lives in OtherCity that is much farther away.

Yes, I would absolutely be happy to drive this couple to my mother's house, but again, I am left wondering why we are all driving to my mother's house for this event when my mother (as 1 person) could easily drive to MyCity for Easter dinner. I would be happy to have everyone at our house if it means less trouble for the couple who is having more difficulty getting around.

In theory, my mother wants to host; however, hosting has become less-than-enjoyable for her in recent years. She becomes stressed and snappish as the meal is prepared and set on the table. Typically, the family winds up spending most of the time in the kitchen helping her while the guests (this couple) sit alone in the living room. My mother becomes upset if she perceives that people who could be helping her are visiting with the guests rather than helping her.

The last few times this couple has visited my mother for Easter dinner, they have become quite tired right after the meal and make their exit fairly quickly so they can drive back home and rest. On other occasions, they have dozed off on my mother's couch while the family is cleaning up after the meal.

I am in a quandary about the best way to handle this.

A) My mother has issued the invitation. Given the request of this couple's daughter, would it be inappropriate for me to ask my mother to consider moving the dinner to my house so that it would be less trouble for the other couple (and also less stressful for her -- although I wouldn't say that)? Perhaps they would have more time to visit with each other that way.

Another side of this is the possibility that my brother and his four kids might also attend Easter dinner at my mother's, although I'm not certain about their plans. Visits to my mother's house tend to become rather boring for the kids because there isn't much to do besides watch TV. If they were at our house, there's plenty of stuff for kids to do.

B) Should we just volunteer to drive the couple to my mother's and let the chips fall (my mother's stress, the couple's tiredness, etc.) where they may?

(FWIW, my mother is in excellent health. She just returned a couple of weeks ago from a trip overseas. Her driving safety is not an issue.)

Aaah...the passing of the generational baton.  But I'm wondering why this hasn't happened sooner.  You ask why mom keeps hosting, and I'd think the answer is no one else has offered to do it.  In my family, people were chomping at the bit to do their own "first holiday" and we just issues invites before mom had a chance.

If I were you, I'd just call her up, explain the situation, and suggest that it be held at your place.  If she balks, you could also point out that, since you're driving them, you'll need to leave when they want to, and it may be earlier than she (or you) want.

For this go around, I would go with B since your mom has already made the invite and, presumably, gotten things for the meal.

At the gathering, (or the next week) when Mom isn't snappish, I would made the suggestion that you would like to host next year's Easter and have your mother "co-host"?  Perhaps explain that her friends have a hard time travelling to othercity and they are right there in yourcity, it may be easier.  Also as the grandchildren get older, it may be easier to have at your house since you have some various ways to keep them entertained.
And that while it would be at your house, of course you would like your mother's input for certain things.  (you decide what.)

Your mother is (possibly) issuing the invitation for one of two reaons:
1. She loves having Easter at her house and just wouldn't want it any other way.
2. No one else stepped up so she feels it falls on her.

If it's #1, it's going to be a pretty touchy subject to approach and getting her to switch to her house might cause some hard feelings. But if it's #2, then you should just volunteer your house. Maybe get her to come over early and help if she wants to so she still feels a bit like "hostess".

I agree with the others - OP - have you offered to host? Maybe not this year, but for future years? If you don't mind driving this couple, than I do think you should go with option B. If your mom mentions to you how tiring it is during your visit this year, that would be a great opportunity to offer to host next year - or perhaps for the next major family holidy meal that she would normally host.


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