As my parents got older, and especially since my father passed away, my sister and I have slowly but surely been taking on more and more of the responsibilities for holiday dinners, and such.Â I guess it just seemed logical.Â It was our turn to pick up the torch and run with it.Â It was now our responsibility to take up the menu planning, and the staying up late baking, and other such thing, so that my parents not only no longer needed to bear the brunt of the expense of these holidays, but more importantly, that they could just sit back and enjoy them.Â We were doing them (and in particular my mother) a favor, right?Â This is just the way it goes.Â Or so we thought.
Even though Christmas dinner is still at Mom’s, we often do a lot more even there.Â I bake cakes and cookies, my brother-in-law is a wiz with the Antipasto, and my sister will cook a dish or two, helping to alleviate the pressure and the workload from mom.
In our effort to help though and do what we thought was the right thing, we also as it turns out upset my mother.Â Ever since she was diagnosed with cancer, she has been trying to not let it affect her and her routines.Â She is very much about her routines and ways of doing things.Â And while we thought we were doing what was right, we were also messing with her routines.Â She started to feel like we were planning “beyond” her and not letting her do what she wanted any longer.Â It was really disheartening when we heard it, and realized that we hurt her feelings so much.
So this year, Thanksgiving is still here at our house, but for Christmas Mom is once again calling the shots.Â We are not allowed to do more than ask, “What can we do?”Â And if she wants help, she will tell us.Â But other than that, she is back in charge for Christmas, and I don’t think she could be happier.
So the moral of this story, as is often the case, is pay attention when you think you are helping.Â That person may not actually want your help.