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by Abigail Van Buren

Parents Are Left Out in the Cold While Son Celebrates Holidays With In-Laws

DEAR ABBY: Have you ever heard the saying, "A daughter is a daughter all of her life, but a son is a son 'til he takes a wife"? Our son and his family have never spent a single Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with us during the entire 17 years they have been married. A Thanksgiving with them is very rare.

They live an hour away. We and his in-laws live in the same small town, but they spend every holiday at the in-laws'. Their children have no memories of us on the holidays. When I talked about it with our friends, they said they have the same problem. All of their sons go to their daughter-in-laws' parents', too.

With the holidays coming up, I hope you may have something to say about this. When we spoke to our son about it, it just caused bad feelings. -- SAME PROBLEM IN MINNESOTA

DEAR PROBLEM: My heart goes out to you and other parents who experience this. However, there is nothing I can do to change the behavior of adult children, as regrettable as it may be. The best advice I can offer is for you -- and your friends -- to spend the holidays doing things that you enjoy. Take a trip, gather with these friends and celebrate. It would be a lot healthier than sitting around brooding about something none of you can control.

P.S. It's regrettable that although you live in the same community as the in-laws, you have not been asked to join them for a holiday meal at their table. After all, marriage is supposed to unite families, not divide them.

Read more in: Holidays & Celebrations | Family & Parenting