Special Occasions Bring Families Together
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Dear Christine,

I enjoy your column and wonder if you could give me your opinion, as a young person, on a problem we are having.

My husband and I are an older couple with no children of our own, and we’ll be celebrating a wedding anniversary in the spring. We would like to have a dinner for friends and family. We have 10 nieces and nephews who we could invite; however, three of them are closer to us. Even their children are like grandkids to us, keeping in touch all the time. The other grandnieces and nephews, who we hardly ever see, never contact us.

We don’t want to start a family feud, but we’d rather invite closer friends as opposed to strangers. -- AUNT BEA – LONDON, ONTARIO

Dear Aunt Bea,

Since I come from an enormous family, I am all too familiar with your predicament.

As we go through life, some bonds remain constant and strong, while others never become more than acquaintanceships. It’s only natural to want to celebrate with those who are currently active in your lives. Then again, you celebrate your kinship with them all the time. It’s the special occasions in our lives that can help us come together and strengthen family bonds.

It takes two to build a friendship, and it takes two to remain strangers. So I say invite all the troops.

If you ask all invited to R.S.V.P. by a specific date, you’ll have time to adjust the cost and style of the event to match the number of people.

Another option is to make the invitation casual. Plan an open house type of event—cocktails, punch, and snack trays make for a relaxing event with plenty of time to mingle.

Since you already suspect some won’t attend, don’t be disappointed when they don’t. Just enjoy your celebration.

Leave the feuding to the Hatfields and the McCoys. You can never have too many friends or loved ones.

Dear Christine,

I’m with a European man who was raised with the attitude that men wear the pants in the relationship, and women should do as they’re told.

I’ve lived all of my 26 years in Canada. He moved here when he was in his late teens; he’s now 37.

When I disagree with him, he gets angry and yells, saying it’s “a European thing” or “a respect thing.” How can I get him to understand that I want his respect too? -- ANDREA – CHATHAM, ONTARIO

Dear Andrea,

You can’t.

He’s had two decades to Canadianize himself. Time’s up.

There are many European people who have been in Canada for less time than he has, and they don’t live by his archaic standards. Next time you see him, bow your eyes with “respect,” curtsy like a good little peasant girl, and then turn and run.

Oh, yes…and don’t forget to say goodbye to him in his native tongue on the way out the door.

Have a question, a thought, or a story to share (anonymity guaranteed)? Email Christine at: single@keynotebooks.com

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