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by Abigail Van Buren

Parents' Bitter Breakup Is No Occasion for Thanksgiving

DEAR ABBY: Our parents, who were married 47 years, divorced six months ago. Mom and Dad now live on opposite sides of town. My brothers and I have been discussing how to celebrate the holidays as a family. I think Dad could probably tolerate being in the presence of Mom for a few hours, but Mom is so angry, she can't stand the sight of him. We kids want our children to celebrate as we always have -- as one family.

I realize we could split Thanksgiving and spend half a day with each parent. However, we don't think that's fair to us and our children. My husband is recovering from a heart attack, and he will get too tired if he has to spend the whole day with that many people. I suppose he could slip off into the bedroom and rest, but how much rest can you get with people talking and kids running all over the place?

I would like for our parents to meet us in a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner, either at noon or in the evening. I'm not sure Mom would agree to be in the same room with Dad, though. My oldest brother thinks it would be a disaster.

Abby, do you have any suggestions for handling this holiday dilemma? -- THE CHILDREN

DEAR CHILDREN: Putting your parents together now would be like mixing fire and ice. Forcing them to be in the presence of each other when their feelings are still so volatile would ruin the holiday for everyone. It's time to establish new traditions.

Since your husband is not up to a full day of celebrating, I suggest you have Thanksgiving dinner with one parent and dessert with the other. Next year, do the opposite. It isn't the "family" celebration you wanted, but it's practical.