Sisters strained over holiday-hosting rivalry
Dear Annie: My sisters and I always took turns having the family Christmas at our respective houses. Six years ago, it was my turn to be the hostess. I was in the kitchen all morning cooking. As everyone arrived and was going through the buffet line, I noticed no one was taking much food. Some were not even getting a plate. I asked why my daughter wasn’t eating anything. She said she ate too much at my older sister’s earlier. I felt like a train hit me. My sister said she just “ended up” having a brunch at her house for whoever wanted to stop by to pick up extra gifts. It turns out that she had baked a ham, made several casseroles, prepared a big vegetable tray, salads and a few desserts. She had invited our entire family except my husband and me.
I was pretty upset and said, “Well if I’d known you were going to have something at noon, we would have just came to your house, too, and I wouldn’t have spent the time all morning cooking and preparing for everyone to come here.”
She didn’t apologize and ended up leaving shortly after by going to get her and my brother-in-law’s coats and waving a Merry Christmas, saying they had to be somewhere and left. My Christmas was ruined.
All I can gather is that she moved into a condo earlier in the year and wanted to have everyone for Christmas. Had she asked me if she could’ve hosted Christmas, then I gladly would’ve let her.
Since then, I’ve hardly seen my sister. She started “forgetting” my birthdays. She still kept in touch with my daughters, and her husband and daughter have come to my house for get-togethers. But she always says she’s too busy.
I’d just like to know what you think about what happened. — Sidelined Sister
Dear Sidelined: Your sister might never apologize, but you can still forgive her. Do it for your own sake. Write a letter expressing how hurt you’ve been by her actions over the last six years. Then write another letter expressing how you love her anyway.
Don’t mail either of them. Treat it as a therapeutic exercise, to process your feelings and air frustrations.
Try reaching out to her. Express how you’ve felt sad that she hasn’t been in your life much these past few years and that you’d like to change that. Hopefully, that ice between you two will start to melt.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Don’t Shoot the Mockingbird,” who was embarrassed that he accidentally mirrored people’s accents during conversation.
Anyone with such a gift for mimicking accents should consider studying foreign languages. I study for fun and am hardly an expert, but I have a great time playing with it! I use Duolingo app. I’ve got a good handle on eight languages so far. –Polyglot
Dear Polyglot: Que magnifico! The benefits go beyond just helping you to communicate with more people. Studies have shown that learning a new language promotes cognitive health in myriad ways, increasing the volume of gray and white matter and enhancing overall brain connectivity.
As we age, learning a new language can help keep our working memories in good health.
Keep it up.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.
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