I have a younger sister, who found us about a year ago. Her mother is dead so, basically, she’s an orphan. My mom knows about her but has no interest in meeting her. I have two older brothers and we have been getting to know her. My mother knows about it and hasn’t discussed it with any of us.
It’s my turn to host our family Thanksgiving. I’ve invited my sister, she’s excited. I’m hoping it goes well and we can be together at Christmas, too. (Fingers crossed!) What I don’t want is my sister to walk into an emotional ambush, or my mom to feel uncomfortable. Any suggestions for how to help make Thanksgiving be special for everybody.
Wow! Awkward. You’re testing the limits of the reason for the season. I’m a big fan of the holiday season; the food, music, laughter, decorations, food, parties, having family around (and did I mention food) make for memorable times. I understand wanting to share it with your sister. But…. You must let your mother know she’s coming as well as how much it will mean to you for everyone to get together and get along.
Let your mother know as soon as possible that you have invited your sister. Give her time to digest the information and emotionally prepare. Consider that though you happily have found a sister, your mom may have to face an old wound. Tread carefully!
In addition to preparing your mother, try enlisting the entire family to participate in a “Happy Family” holiday. Ask everyone to steer clear of land mine conversations from sports to politics, and limit their conversations to things that are Truthful Helpful Inspiring Necessary and Kind (THINK). Ask if they have any ideas to insure everyone enjoys their time together like games, music, etc. Leave grievances behind. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how effective Happily Family works.
Good luck and enjoy your happy family!