I used to feel that way. It somehow became my responsibility to make holiday dinners for the family. There was never any reciprocation and very little help. I had only one brother, but it was his expectation to come to my parents' house for holidays. The dinner that ended it all was Easter. I was working full time, caring for my parents and my own three almost adult children and was just expected to do Easter dinner on top of that. They were all coming, her three teenage girls and they brought a friend without even asking, and my brother and his wife. They brought nothing. I purchased the food, the Easter candies and the treats, cooked it all, including Ukrainian specialty dishes and when they left the table, not one of the them, not the four teen age girls or the mom or my brother offered to help clean up. Then, the straw that broke the camel's back happened. The four teenage girls took ALL the Easter candy. They loaded their pockets up and took every last one.
I told my mother it would be the last dinner I was going to make for the family. I would still cook for them, my parents,but my brother and his family could dine elsewhere. When Christmas was near, they all planned, as usual, to come not only for Christmas, but also Christmas Eve and Boxing day. I flat out told my parents that I was done. If they wanted to spend Christmas with their son and his family, I would drive them there and pick them up later. I was told I was wicked and selfish, but I did not relent and possibly that was the beginning of the absolute end to any civility between my brother and I. I was not sorry and to this day, I have no remorse.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter..well, whatever the holiday is, the dinners should be a happy celebration , an occasion for being happy and grateful. No one should be taken advantage of or taken for granted. There is no duty associated with a holiday meal. If some one so graciously offers to invite you, even in your own home, for their sake, please pitch in. Sweep the floor, tidy the bathroom, set the table, run errands, cook if you can and clean up too.
I was invited to my son's mother in law's for dinner today. She is a lovely lady, soft and quiet, pretty and efficient and a great cook. She managed dinner for 5 with ease and had everything put away and cleaned up before we had finished our pumpkin pie. I reciprocated by asking the family to my house for Christmas dinner this year. This time I won't feel taken advantage of, I am sure of it. It will be my pleasure as it will be on Monday to make Thanksgiving dinner for two friends here in my little farmhouse. With a heart filled with gratitude for even having 2 friends who would like to join me for a humble dinner, I will do my best to serve them well. I am thankful for dinner today and tomorrow and everyday I have food on the table. With my mother dying, I find myself being appreciative for life, for the life I chose and for those I love and whom love me. My other son is back in Vancouver for work, but sent me a message this morning which put a tear in my eye. He told me he is proud to have me as his mamma and that he loves me. Life for the two of us has not been easy, so this message means a lot. I won't see my dear daughter for another 2 years, but she is in my heart always.
And so, please share the work load this Thanksgiving. Please show your appreciation by changing your expectations. Maybe don an apron and stand in the kitchen rather than sit waiting to be served. Maybe, just maybe, you will put a tear in some one'e eye and your own heart will fill with gratitude and love. Blessings to you. Happy Thanksgiving 2.