When we have in-laws, whether son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or other in-laws, the holidays can get complicated. Do we go to daughter-in-law’s family, or son’s family? What about children from a spouse’s former marriage? You want to cover all your bases, but sometimes, how do you choose without hurting someone’s feelings? I have three married children and they have in-laws they must accommodate, too.

Years ago, we went to the home of a cousin for Thanksgiving and to my husband’s parent’s for Christmas. Eventually, since we had more room, my husband and I took over Christmas. Then after a misunderstanding over the holidays, my in-laws took Christmas back. Things were touchy for a while! When all was resolved, we went back to the original plan. Then my husband and I were divorced and now, instead of 35-40 family members, it was my mother, three kids and me. A big change. Where did everyone go? When there is a divorce, people don’t want to take sides, so you lose everyone. Friends you’ve known for years back away. However, a rift occurs, there are some family members you just don’t see anymore and that is the sad part of the holidays. Even though I remarried eventually, Frank didn’t have a large family either so Christmas and Thanksgiving remained sparse.  We spent some holidays by ourselves. Then, my younger son married Natalie, a woman with a large, warm family and they extended their love to us and took us in. What a blessing to have a large family again! I look forward to Thanksgiving at the home of Natalie’s brother John in Ramona in the San Diego mountains; “warm rounds” using Thanksgiving leftovers at my son’s and brunch on Christmas Day at the home of Natalie’s father and stepmom in Alpine, east of San Diego. What a joy to look forward to the holidays again and spend it with a people I’ve grown to love.