Ask Amy: Family feud a holiday dilemma

FresnoSeptember 21, 2013 

Dear Amy: My brother and his wife are divorcing after 35 years of marriage. It is becoming an ugly affair, and their two grown sons are taking sides.

This is especially difficult for us as we and our children have always been close to all of them.

So far we've been able to remain supportive without taking sides, but the holidays will bring a difficult dilemma. Since they are our only extended family, we have always spent all of our holidays together. We are not sure how to handle the upcoming season.

My two nephews (both single) are no longer speaking, and my sister-in-law has no family of her own left. I can't imagine leaving anyone out, but having them all at the same time would be a recipe for disaster. Do you have any suggestions as to how to handle this situation?

— Dreading the holidays

Dear Dreading: You don't make it clear who, exactly, the grown sons aren't speaking to (perhaps each other), but the best way to handle this extremely challenging situation is to do your best to be open and generous to each family member, understanding that you are all muddling through.

I suggest a Solomon-like splitting of this first holiday down the middle. Contact one party and invite him (or her) for Christmas Eve and then another for the next day — and let your nephews know you'd like to see them so they can make choices about what they want to do.

Dear Amy:

"Undecided Mom" was wondering what to do about her adolescent daughter, who was fascinated by and wanted to meet her no-good biological father.

I too was raised by a loving man. When I was 10, I found out he wasn't my "real" dad.

Visions of a prince on a white horse danced in my head.

Dad died and I missed him so badly that I called my bio-dad, who looked nothing like his picture. The first thing he did was borrow meat from my freezer and money from my husband's wallet.

I adored his family, but I chalked him up to life lessons.

He died and I haven't thought about him since, until I read this letter in your column.

— Been there, done that!

Dear Been There: Thank you for sharing your story.


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