So, I’m taking this Friday to reach out to Tulle Nation (especially the already married ones) and ask for a wee bit o’ advice. Before we go much further, I want y’all to know that I adore my in-laws. I totally love them and love how they treat me. But anytime a new family forms, it alters an old family, and situations arise. I have a situation happening right now with my in-laws regarding Thanksgiving and it’s kind of stressing me out. I need to vent a bit and then have y’all tell me (Straight Up) if I’m overreacting. Be honest – this getting married thing and becoming our own family stuff is new for me.
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After The Boy and I got engaged, I immediately talked to him about how we would run our new family of two. What rules would we have for our relationship? How would we spend our money? What about kids? We also talked about how we would handle holidays. See, the holidays are kind of a big deal for me – I love tradition. I love family. And I love celebrating.
And The Boy… is a wee bit different. See, his childhood was awful. It truly blew and thus, he has a detached attitude toward family rituals, holidays, and traditions. After much prodding and pushing, I was able to get him to commit to some holiday choices and voice some wants of his own (mostly ones involving our future kids). The big decisions made were that we would celebrate every other Christmas in Alaska with my family (and the others with his “adopted family” – more on that in a bit) and that I would ask his “family” if we could host the annual Thanksgiving dinner.
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Before we go much further you should know that I LOVE Thanksgiving. Oh, Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday but since I’m a grown-up with no kids (and, until this year, single), Christmas has been a lot of watching other people’s happiness and doing stuff at their homes. But Thanksgiving? Was all me for the last 12-ish years. I planned the meal, I made the décor, I cooked the dinner, I did T-Day. And I totally LOVE it.
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Fast forward to me discussing the hosting Thanksgiving thing with his family*. They were happy with our decisions and completely understood them (after all, the mother-in-law hosts an annual Christmas Eve buffet and my sister-in-law does Christmas morning brunch every year). They agreed to let me take Thanksgiving. Done, right?
Apparently not. A few days ago, I emailed my sister-in-law and mother-in-law to hash out a few pre-Thanksgiving details (namely, checking to see if we were doing this thing as planned this year and seeing what times worked for everyone). In the email, I talked about how I was going to host Thanksgiving this year, how I’ve done the whole meal on my own for 10+ years, and included a list of the meal items that I was planning on making. I also mentioned how people always want to help cook something so it would be lovely if people could bring pies and appetizers to share. I also asked if there was any really special dish that wasn’t on my meal plan – if so, I’d be happy to include it. And off went the email.
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The next day I got a response from my sister-in-law – this is where the stress/frustration comes in. Basically, she wrote to me that a bunch of her extended family would be in town for Thanksgiving this year (no biggie – the more, the merrier) but then…
She went through my entire menu and talked about how she already had a recipe for this and that and “oh, her family loved this recipe that she does”. For every. single. thing. Here’s a sample:
- X’s Mom’s Sweet Dressing (X and I both know how to make, but it usually is better stuffed in the Turkey)
- My apple pie
- A pumpkin pie (I know most people like this especially X and my kiddos)
- Whipped cream for the pies
- I make a different kind of sweet potato casserole with a crunchy brown sugar and pecan topping (we could have both yours and mine)
- I make a cranberry sauce that has mandarin oranges and pineapple that my family really seems to like so I’d like to add that as well (again we could have yours and mine).
- I also do a layered salad that everyone really likes that I’m willing to make unless you have something else in mind.
Am I reading too much into this? I just think it’s so rude for all of us to agree to let me handle Thanksgiving and then have her volunteer to make every single item. I was so pissed off when I read the email. I really felt like I wasn’t being accepted as a member of the family. Like, hey, I know we said you could do this but I don’t think that anything you’re planning on making will be as good as what I do. Am I overreacting? Or did she overstep her bounds?
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Listen, Tulle Nation – I need the truth. If I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, I need y’all to tell me. If you think that she is overextending, then please give me some advice on how to handle this situation. Like, tell me exactly what to say. I’m not so much with the people skills. Help me, Tulle Nation!
***Update: Everything's been sorted out. My wonderful mother-in-law talked to me and confirmed what I had suspected – that this was not malicious just not very tactfully well-thought out. She spoke to my sister-in-law and they'll be bringing pies (lots of pies) and letting me spoil them by doing all the cooking. Thanks for all your suggestions! They were super helpful – they really helped me voice my emtions to my mother-in-law in a helpful and constructive manner 9instead of bitchy and whiny).***
*The Boy’s childhood was so awful that he left home at 16 and moved from Dallas to San Antonio where he lived in a tent and chopped wood to earn money for food. Eventually the parents of a classmate informally adopted him. This family now lives on the same street as us and refers to him as their son. The son calls him his brother and his children call The Boy “Uncle”. This is his family and I consider them my in-laws.