Holiday drama, who is wrong... is anybody right? (sorta long)

It seems to me that the solution is for N to partake in part of the holiday but when he becomes too much, dad takes him home. (leaving the rest of the family together)

Good solution, but I wonder if the “multiple hour drive” might be a prohibitive factor.

That’s really tough.
What is she going to do when he get older and stronger? Is there a plan?


I was thinking about this more and I realized just how uncomfortable I would be, as a not-very-strong woman, to be around a hulking 14 YO that no one can control. It would be trivially easy for him to hurt someone. And he is only going to get bigger and stronger. I feel for her, but if the plans didn’t change and he kept coming I would probably privately and quietly bow out of the celebrations.

I would submit that the sister is not handling things “as well as she can” if she is going to melt down over the inclusion of a babygate. He can’t be stopped, he can’t be controlled, and he can’t even be corraled. That is the recipe for some little kid or an elderly auntie to get hurt.

Some years people opt out of the big holiday shebang for just that particular holiday, and then come back to the family traditions later on. This might be a good year for you, your son, and your parents to spend a quiet Thanksgiving together, just the four of you.

I imagine Cheesesteak’s mom being “unwilling to have other guests without inviting N as well” would extend to attending a Thanksgiving dinner that doesn’t include the whole family.

What’s that old saying…you can pick your nose and you can pick your friends…but you can’t pick your family’s nose…?

As much as you don’t like it, N is a part of your family and your son’s. That’s the way it is. It’s not ideal, but think of your sister, this is her everyday…not just holidays. The least you could do is be supportive. I’m sure she wishes she could have family holidays like she did when she grew up too. Instead of unilaterally making decisions that impact her and her son, why don’t you ask her what the best way to have a family get together where the risk of N hurting himself or someone else is achieved. Engage with her. She is your sister.

She cried over a babygate!

Well all the more reason to sit down and have a conversation with her directly. Unspoken actions can be wrongly construed.

I think everyone’s been walking on eggshells around the issue for so long that we don’t know how a direct conversation would be taken. That’s on us for not realizing that this conversation needed to be had early on.

I may strike up a conversation and dip my toe in the water to see how hot it gets.

Good luck…I would start out with being sympathetic to her.

Nobody is wrong, it’s just a sucky situation. Is a compromise possible? Perhaps your sister’s family can limit their visit to an hour or two? That way she and her family get to visit, but it doesn’t affect the entire day for everyone else.

Have a talk with ‘D’ to see if there is anything anyone can do to help. It would probably make problem solving more simple.

Are you pissed because N is part of the family and has the audacity to attend FAMILY gatherings?

How about being thankful that your family can get together and eat a meal because fuckin THANKSGIVING?

You are in a shitty situation, worthy of stress, but this is hardly the end of the world. Is there anything stopping you from grabbing a truckload of food and having a get together any other weekend? Holidays are more of a mindset than a date on a calender.

Since you are close but don’t want to risk causing drama by inviting them over and excluding the rest of the family, maybe you and your son can prepare dinner for yourselves but make enough to run over to your parents. You still get to see them and they don’t miss the traditional meal. Then you and your son can do your own thing for the rest of the day.

This sounds like something directly out of one of my philosophy classes. Is it better for every to be somewhat miserable or for most people to have a good time while a small subset feel REALLY miserable.

I’m of the feeling that your sister had to know the issue with N was going to come to a head at some point and has been avoiding any solutions for years. “Just keep hoping everything goes fine” is not a solution. It seems your parents have picked a solution for her, which is “no more Thanksgiving dinners at our house”. After babygate-gate, I think your sister is just having trouble accepting the reality of bringing N around. Which is understandable, but still needs to be dealt with.

I’m reminded of what we would say if N’s problems really were N’s fault, like if he was a fully capable 14 year that thought flashing Auntie Prude was funny, or kept trying to grope Cousin Susie, or rudely complained that the food Grandma made sucks and he wants his McDonald’s. Nobody would bat an eye at telling your sister that N isn’t welcome anymore. The counterargument that N’s condition is not his fault is met by pointing out that it isn’t the rest of the family’s fault either, and being forced to cancel Thanksgiving to try and not hurt your sister’s feelings (Let’s be honest, I doubt N cares either way if he’s 1.5 year old level) is pretty rude.

Not fair to N and your sister? Sure, but life ain’t fair.