Dear Dr. Laura:

Our local grocery store has a new advertisement for their liquor section for the holidays.  It’s a picture of two alcoholic drinks with the caption “It’s in-law season.”  I certainly understand in-law jokes.  During our thirty-year marriage, my husband and I have rolled our eyes at each other many times about our respective in-laws.  But now that my dad is deceased, and both his parents are gone, I felt sad when I saw that ad.  I wish my dad and his parents were still with us so we could roll our eyes and have a few laughs after everyone went home.

I never dread making holiday dinners.  I don’t strive for perfection, and our families never expected it.  I don’t understand families that don’t look forward to the holidays and I don’t understand putting up with rude family members either.  Life is short, parents die, children grow and move away.  Enjoy every crazy moment and don’t get caught up in the small things.

I remember one Thanksgiving when I was around 10 years old.  All our relatives crowded into our small row house in Brooklyn.  My mom sent me to look for my dad, and I found him at the back of the house.  When I asked what he was doing, he turned to me and said, “counting my blessings!”  I’m 54 years old now, and I have never forgotten the words or the sentiment.  Teach your children what the holidays mean, and it will stick with them for a lifetime.

Linda

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