Dear Abby: My parents have been divorced for 15 years. Dad is remarried; my mother lives alone. My brother and I alternate holidays every year, and this year he was supposed to host our mother. Instead, he just informed me he has decided to invite our father and his wife to dinner, leaving our mother no place to go.
I would love to invite her to my in-laws’ house, but my husband doesn’t want her to come. When I told him he could take the kids to his family’s house, he got very upset and told me I should consider him and our children first, before my mother.
So, what should I do? Should I leave my mom home alone on Christmas, or stay with her so she’s not alone? – Worried About Mom in Pennsylvania
Dear Worried: Has your brother told your mother he won’t be celebrating Christmas with her? If he hasn’t, he should let her know NOW. Because your husband refuses to share Christmas with your mother, I assume their relationship is strained. If that’s the case, it may be time for her to start mending fences.
As to whether you should sacrifice Christmas with your husband and children to be with her, I’m not sure you should. Your mother would be wise to learn to be more independent than she appears to be, and a way of doing that would be to start making plans of her own. If there is a church celebration, or an opportunity to volunteer in your community, suggest she investigate it. Also, consider seeing her on Christmas Eve, or for brunch or for lunch if she can’t join you for dinner.
Dear Abby: I was at a friend’s wedding and introduced myself to the groom’s father. Because I was carrying something in my right hand, I extended my left hand. I’m no dead-fish guy, but the “lobster’s” grip was so tight it crushed my ring into my finger, causing a bruise. I made no comment at the time, but now I am seething over his behavior. What might I have said, or should I say in some similar encounter? – Sore in Silicon Valley
Dear Sore: Some men, in an attempt to prove their masculinity, tend to overdo it. It was within your rights to say, “Oww! Loosen up!” In the future, transfer whatever you’re carrying in your right hand so you can observe the social amenities.