Christmas Dilemma

IMG_5471My daughter’s dog.  Looking at me.  Wow.  There was a time, just a few short months ago, when just looking at this photo would have had my heart racing and hands sweating.  But I got used to this big honkin’ dog.  I just couldn’t get used to the fluids that came out of his mouth, I am still finding dried snotty spots on the walls.  Gross.  My daughter and her doggie left my home in November.  I miss my daughter, but don’t miss the dog.

The daughter is doing something in her sobriety that I did in mine.  Men.  When she moved in, she was in love with a man who was in prison… she has a tendency to love men in prison, probably because you can control the whole tiny scope of the relationship when they are not around, and your fantasies of true love can flourish.  When she starting working at a tattoo shop, she met a man, another tattoo artist, who she “fell in love” with.  She promptly moved out of my house and into the home of the man.  I think this is particularly dangerous behavior, and have told her so.  But she is 33 years old.  A grown up.  An adult.  Once I have voiced my thoughts to her, I need to let them go.  I can love the beautiful woman she is without loving the behavior.

Her brother, on the other hand, is having a more difficult time at this.  She wasn’t invited to his house for Thanksgiving because she wouldn’t come without this new guy.  I don’t blame my son for that.  We have had enough holidays with the strange people she brings around who tend to be socially awkward if not downright anti-social.  She interprets this as us not accepting her as the person she is.  I cannot convince her otherwise.

So now there is Christmas.  My son and his wife and beautiful daughter are coming over to my house for Christmas Eve.  I don’t want to go through this whole thing with the daughter again.  I have been just sick about this.

Last night I think I figured out what to do.  Son and family on Christmas Eve, daughter and man on Christmas Day.  It’s a lot of work, but I think it might be worth it.

Any thoughts?

Thank you.  And thank you all for your words of encouragement yesterday.  You guys rock.

And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.  — Luke 1:28-29



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16 Responses to Christmas Dilemma

  1. Annette says:

    What I have come to learn is that my adult daughter has the right to live any sort of life she so chooses. My job is to love and accept HER unconditionally. I am sure you know and understand all the external factors and boundaries that go into that decision. I don’t need to list them off….I just love her. When using we don’t give cash, a room in our home, etc….because I too have the right to live whatever sort of life I want to live and it doesn’t include active addiction.
    As to the holiday….my feeling is its my house and you all are guests there. I can invite anyone I want and it’s your choice to come or not. My son can choose and I don’t get mad or offended anymore. The invitation is open and people can come or not as they see fit. No guilt, no manipulation, just, “awww I’m sorry. We’re gonna miss not having you there.” I can’t think of any time that any one of them has in the end refused to come. My feeling is that these rough people who come through my door are someone’s son, and they need a spot to land on a holiday. I can do that. And my kids can scoot over and make room.

  2. Dave U says:

    I’m wondering if it would be possible for her to be there (for just one evening) without the boyfriend.
    Just for the sake of unity.

  3. susan says:

    I agree with Annette. One party and invite all the people I love. I am reaching for love, tolerance and understanding and that is what I like my guest lists to reflect.

  4. Kelly says:

    Having to deal with this sort of scenario MANY times, I agree that limiting the awkward strangers is important. I grew up in a house with an alcoholic mother and brother. Mom did not bring home the strangers, but brother did from time to time. I think when small children are going to be there, it is perfectly reasonable to make that boundary. Adults can choose (and we have done this) to forbear and welcome a stranger, but little kids…my opinion from having been one in that situation, is no.
    Your split arrangement sounds like great solution to me.

    • Kelly, I think you are hearing what I am saying. The safety of his home and baby are why my son doesn’t want the b.f. around. And I respect that. We have spent too many holidays this way.

  5. Syd says:

    Acceptance is the key to all our problems. I agree with Annette and have everyone be together in the spirit of the season. Love to all is a good thing. And learning not to exclude people is something that I embrace totally. We are having 30 people in recovery on Boxing Day. Who knows what it will be like for them, but I know it will be okay for us.

    • Syd, I also need to be respectful of the rest of my family. If it were a “recovery” event, I would surely welcome everyone, and have many times in my home. But I have more family than just the one daughter and I would like for them to enjoy Christmas too.

  6. sapphicnubian says:

    Hey Mary! I think having two separate Christmases is the best idea. One thing you definitely shouldn’t do it pick sides. Also, asking your daughter to come without her boyfriend will feel to her like a rejection of some part of herself. I one begged and fought to bring a lover home for thanksgiving only to regret it when this person behaved like a monster. I was so embarrassed and felt stupid. If she brings this guy around, At the very least how he behaves may show your daughter the kind of fit he would be long term with her family.

    Also, Our family is somewhat fragmented and we don’t all share holidays together. So hey, it’s not only yours. Love your blog, read it religiously . Bless 🙂

  7. Kelly says:

    you said ” because you can control the whole tiny scope of the relationship when they are not around, and your fantasies of true love can flourish”. Boy can I relate to that.

    I hope your solution works out well for all involved. I have three sisters and it seems like some of them move through guys faster than the others. It is hard when we are to have a family event, but they want to bring a new boyfriend along. So far, we just grin and bear it because we are so tight that we couldn’t stand to not be with each other for whatever given holiday. That’s just our dynamic, though. When my son’s father is around, we have to plan separate events as he isn’t allowed at family functions. It makes things messy, especially when all I really want is to be with my family but I have to make allowances for him. (Enough about me! I just meant to say, I can somewhat relate!)

  8. Suyin says:

    Hi there, Im from singapore and was following ur old blog for abt 2 months before u switched over to this. Im one of those ‘silent readers’ 🙂 i enjoy ur blog so much for its honesty, humility and courage. And, im catholic too and think ur wonderfully creative with those icons you work at. Please do keep writing, i have u on my bookmarks page 🙂

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