Author Topic: Easter dinner quandary, update #11  (Read 6801 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1108
Easter dinner quandary, update #11
« on: March 12, 2013, 12:35:13 PM »
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.)
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 09:23:16 AM by Coley »

Mikayla

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4043
Re: Easter dinner quandary
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2013, 12:46:39 PM »
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.

gingerzing

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 934
Re: Easter dinner quandary
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2013, 12:47:15 PM »
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.)

lowspark

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3672
Re: Easter dinner quandary
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2013, 12:48:47 PM »
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".

Dorrie78

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1276
Re: Easter dinner quandary
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2013, 12:53:34 PM »
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.

JenJay

  • I'm a nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standards of nonconformity.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5815
Re: Easter dinner quandary
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2013, 01:02:04 PM »
I think it's worth asking. Obviously I don't know what the dynamic is like between you and your mother, but if this were my family I could call my Mom and bring it up. I'd say something like "Other Couple's daughter just called me. Apparently they're not getting around as well as they used to and she's concerned about them making the trip up to your place for Easter. I'd be happy to give them a ride, however, I get the sense there's more to it than just the drive. I've seen Mr. using a cane lately and I noticed last year that they both became exhausted after dinner and had to leave early. How would you feel about having dinner at my place?"

See what she says. If she loves the idea then it's a win for everyone. If she gets upset you can backtrack with "Whoa Mom, calm down. I'm not trying to upset your dinner plans, I was simply offering an alternative with Other Couple in mind. As I said, I'm happy to give them a ride up and back. Be aware, however, that we'll all have to leave when they need to go." Then bring it up early next year and try to persuade her to let you host.

GreenBird

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 169
Re: Easter dinner quandary
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 01:02:58 PM »
I don't think it would be a bad idea to float the idea of having Easter at your house - you could approach it as "hey Mom, what would you think about having or co-hosting the dinner at my house this year?"  Present it like you're excited about the possibility of having it at your house rather than only stressing how difficult it's become to have it at her house.  Make it a positive thing. 

I'd ask her privately over the phone or in person (not email or text) so you can tell more quickly how she's reacting to the idea and change your approach accordingly.  If she reacts badly, I'd back off immediately and go with Plan B, but then next year raise the possibility earlier, before any invitations have gone out. 

Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1108
Re: Easter dinner quandary
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2013, 01:52:11 PM »
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.

Yes, I'd say we're in the early stages of the passing of the baton. I have hosted Christmas dinner at our house for the last few years. Despite my hosting Christmas dinner, my mother also insists on hosting her own dinner on another day. I'm sensing her resistance to releasing the baton. I know it won't be easy for her to do that when she still wants so much to be the hostess.

It's a good point that if we drive the other couple to her house, they may want to leave early. So if that happens, my mother will have to be prepared for the party to end much earlier than she would prefer.

Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1108
Re: Easter dinner quandary
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2013, 02:47:12 PM »
I appreciate the approaches that PPs have suggested as far as broaching the topic of having the dinner here. I also sent an e-mail to my brother to see what he thinks about this. I don't know whether he is planning to be at my mother's for Easter, but he might weigh in about the idea of moving the dinner at my house. DH is on board with the idea.

My mother is not the most approachable person. She can be difficult to manage mostly because she tends to be unable to empathize with others. What she perceives to be "easiest" is often what would be easiest for her rather than for the others who are involved. Regardless, I realize that changing the invitation at this point could be awkward for her. I'm not sure how she would approach that with this couple.

Still, she might see the merit in going this route rather than having them on the road. If she balks, I can backtrack and say we'll bring the couple with us.

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6255
Re: Easter dinner quandary
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2013, 07:23:01 PM »
I appreciate the approaches that PPs have suggested as far as broaching the topic of having the dinner here. I also sent an e-mail to my brother to see what he thinks about this. I don't know whether he is planning to be at my mother's for Easter, but he might weigh in about the idea of moving the dinner at my house. DH is on board with the idea.

My mother is not the most approachable person. She can be difficult to manage mostly because she tends to be unable to empathize with others. What she perceives to be "easiest" is often what would be easiest for her rather than for the others who are involved. Regardless, I realize that changing the invitation at this point could be awkward for her. I'm not sure how she would approach that with this couple. Still, she might see the merit in going this route rather than having them on the road. If she balks, I can backtrack and say we'll bring the couple with us.

Gosh, I don't see it as awkward at all. Just say, "Other couple, Mom realized that so many of us would be driving to her when it would probably be easier for her to drive to us.  I'm excited to be hosting Easter here. We'll be planning on every one arriving around X. Do you have directions or should I send you some."

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: Easter dinner quandary
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2013, 07:31:00 PM »
I think it's worth asking. Obviously I don't know what the dynamic is like between you and your mother, but if this were my family I could call my Mom and bring it up. I'd say something like "Other Couple's daughter just called me. Apparently they're not getting around as well as they used to and she's concerned about them making the trip up to your place for Easter. I'd be happy to give them a ride, however, I get the sense there's more to it than just the drive. I've seen Mr. using a cane lately and I noticed last year that they both became exhausted after dinner and had to leave early. How would you feel about having dinner at my place?"

See what she says. If she loves the idea then it's a win for everyone. If she gets upset you can backtrack with "Whoa Mom, calm down. I'm not trying to upset your dinner plans, I was simply offering an alternative with Other Couple in mind. As I said, I'm happy to give them a ride up and back. Be aware, however, that we'll all have to leave when they need to go." Then bring it up early next year and try to persuade her to let you host.

This ^ exactly.

And as far as your mom wanting the easiest solution to be the one that's easiest for her, emphasize that your house is easier: she doesn't need to shop, or cook, or clean up at your house, she gets to relax and be a guest (I'd use those exact words" relax and be a guest).  If she wants to bring a special dish she can, but its totally on her terms. And remind her if you are driving this other couple, you and your kin have to leave when they want to and you might not be able to help with any clearing up (thus leaving more work for her).

Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1108
Re: Easter dinner quandary, update #11
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2013, 08:12:20 AM »
Thanks, everyone, for your responses!

I heard back from my brother, who supported the idea of moving dinner to my house and shared my concern that my mother might be resistant to the idea.

Called my mother last night and broached the topic. I told her that the couple's daughter contacted me out of concern that the man should not be driving. I explained that we certainly would be happy to drive them to her house for the dinner, and I pointed out that because they tire, we likely would have to drive them home on their terms. That would effectively end the party.

She said she was not aware that his health had declined to the point that he should not be driving, although she said she had seen them a few months ago and could see that he was declining. (Honestly, I think there's some denial of reality going on there.)

I told her that another solution would be to move the dinner to our house. I focused on the benefits of moving the dinner for the other couple. She became very quiet. Then she began giving some reasons for not moving it:

- It would be too hard for me.
- There would be too many people. (We're figuring on 14.)
- It's too much food for me to prepare.
- Was I sure I could handle it?

I responded with, "It won't be that much different from what we do at Christmas. It will be fine." She then agreed to move the dinner, but I could hear in her voice that she's disappointed. She wants to bring a dish, and I will be happy for her to do that. My brother agreed to do the same. She wants to have an egg hunt for the kids at our house. We can do that.

Her focus after that was on the fact that the man's health is declining and what that means for her. (This is not unusual for her.) She also said that they hadn't RSVP'd yet, and she was surprised about that. In addition, she said she hadn't followed up with them about the invitation either, so it has just been sitting there. Of course, it's still a couple of weeks until Easter.

She will call them and let them know we're having dinner here. We can make sure they get to our house safely. So, that is the plan. It worked out!

(Edited because I forgot to put "update" in my subject line.)
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 09:22:49 AM by Coley »

gingerzing

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 934
Re: Easter dinner quandary
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2013, 09:16:49 AM »
Wish there were "like" buttons.  This sounds like a very good solution and you handled it quite well, especially knowing the "trigger" points that your mother would be able to work with. 


KarenK

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2018
Re: Easter dinner quandary, update #11
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2013, 10:01:28 AM »
I predict that any remaining resistance will melt away after she realizes that all she has to do is make one dish and drive to the OP's house. She'll wonder why it wasn't done sooner!

bah12

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5050
Re: Easter dinner quandary, update #11
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2013, 11:00:04 AM »
I think that your mother probably just likes hosting at her house and has always done it, so doesn't really think it's appropriate to ask you or anyone else in your city to host.

Easter is just a couple of weeks away.  I wouldn't know how much time, if any, she's spent preparing for this.  If it were me, I'd drive the other couple to my mom's house, have Easter dinner there per her invitations, and then address what to do next year with her afterwards (probably not that day).  You can tell her about how the other couple can't drive anymore and it may be more convenient for everyone (including her) if you hosted in the future. 

She may be resistant to it.  Some people (me) just love hosting.  But, I think that if you apply the logic of the situation in your conversation, even ask her if she wants to come to your home and help (if she loves cooking/hosting), then I don't see why switiching locations next year would be a problem.