Sunday, March 31, 2002

Holiday lament

When kids choose the other side

        My daughter married into a good family. This has certain disadvantages.

        Today, for instance.

        My two granddaughters are with their parents in Indianapolis, hunting Easter eggs and biting the heads off Pepto-Bismol-pink Peeps. Rosie will wear her Easter bonnet to somebody else's church. Marlo will bounce on somebody else's lap during dinner today.

        They are with their “other” family. And I am trying to be a good sport.

        But I always hoped my daughter and her family would choose to spend holidays with us. At least the major ones. I'll concede Groundhog Day, Canadian Flag Day and Earth Day. In exchange, I would like to have the kids on Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter.

Warning signs

        I was hoping to be the Main Family. And my son-in-law's family would be the Auxiliary Family. The default position. The runner-up: “If at any time, the Pulfers are unable to fulfill their holiday duties, the Runner-Up Family will be pressed into service.”

        This is not happening.

        There were early signs this new family might be trouble. For one thing, they are a family. They like each other. They name their kids after each other. They have traditions. Worse, they are fun. Plus, they have a genetic disposition for longevity, so there are great-grandparents in the picture. Hateful, don't you think?

        I tried to barter this year. They could have them April 24, if I could have them today. (April 24 is, as every holiday party animal knows, Administrative Professionals Day.) I said I'd throw in Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. My son-in-law pointed out that his family is Methodist, just like ours.

        This seems kind of narrow-minded to me.

The best gift

        Those of you who insist your children marry someone of exactly the same background and faith might give this some consideration. Somebody could have Ramadan and somebody else could have Christmas. In fact, Christmas is actually one of the easy ones for us. You can do a split shift.

        But there's no Easter Eve.

        The first year of our marriage, my mother-in-law called me as Thanksgiving approached. You have a big family, she said. We can have Thanksgiving at noon or in the evening. Whenever you're available. Obviously, I married into a good family.

        Things got complicated on my side of the family as my brothers married. We started juggling in earnest. “We'll celebrate Christmas whenever you can get here,” my mom said one year, giving us the best Christmas present of all, a guilt-free holiday.

        I'm trying to make this a family tradition.

        So, my daughter is spending this holiday with a good family. Her mother-in-law remembers her birthday. Her father-in-law waited at the hospital as she delivered a baby. Then he showed up the next day with a present for the baby and flowers for her.

        I guess I will have to get used to it. Especially on days like today, when I feel wistful and a little lonely. I'll try to look on the bright side.

        More Peeps for me.

        E-mail Laura at or call 768-8393. She can be heard at noon Fridays on WVXU radio (91.7 FM).


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