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I need your input to resolve a family conflict!

I need your input! I’ve been struggling with an upcoming situation, and I’m conflicted about what to do. My mother is going to have her 90th birthday on July 10th. That date comes out on a Thursday, and my sisters want to celebrate on the weekend because of work schedules.

I’m a traditionalist and believe that a birthday should be celebrated on the exact day. Especially a milestone birthday such as this. Isn’t that why they call it a birthday?

I understand that everyone is busy, but I’m willing to adjust my schedule to do what I think is right. The problem is that my sisters don’t feel the same way. The conflict remains, and I don’t think they will change their minds. Last year we had separate celebrations.

I talked to my mother about this, and she told me that she doesn’t care. I’m not sure if this is true. She may just be trying to keep peace. Am I being “too sensitive” about this?

My question is … Do I give in, and go against what I truly believe, or do I make plans to celebrate my mother’s birthday when it’s supposed to be? I believe in my heart that this is what she wants to do. I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Abbe

    Hi Cliff,
    Firstly, I want to say I really enjoy your newsletters! I think as highly sensitive people we always put other’s needs before our own. Sometimes, it’s just easier, but sometimes it’s really bad for us! Is your mother highly sensitive? I probably would do what works best for the family as a whole. Unfortunately, people have to work, have other obligations, etc. Perhaps, you and your mother could do something special, just the two of you, on her actual birthday. Thank you for your wonderful postings!!

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Hi Abbe,

      Thank you for your comment about my newsletter and blog posts! You’re right about highly sensitive people sometimes putting their needs before their own. My mother isn’t highly sensitive. I’m still giving it some thought about what I’m going to do. I’ll keep you posted!

  2. Myrna

    This is definitely an issue. In our family, due to busy work schedules, we generally had parties on the weekends. But we’d observe the day during the week with just us. Seems to me, you should do what’s right for your mom and you. Most moms don’t want to make trouble in the family. But your mom will surely appreciate it if you help her celebrate on the exact day. You could also let your sisters do what they want and then join them too.

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Hi Myrna,

      Thank you for your input! My mother doesn’t want to make trouble in the family. Unfortunately I go through this EVERY TIME there’s a holiday or celebration! My sisters are extremely inflexible and we usually have separate events. My mother’s 90th birthday is a different story. I’m still trying to figure out a solution that we all feel good about. Stay tuned!

  3. Terri

    Maybe you and your Mom can celebrate on her birthday, then have a family celebration on the weekend?

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Thank your help Terri! Your suggestion is a good one. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to do. I’ll keep you posted!

  4. Kay Chin

    It’s incredible that you get to celebarate her birthday at this age. Perhaps you can ask yourself these questions.

    1. What is this celebration mean to your mom, your family and you? 2. What are your values that are in conflict with your sister’s? 3. What is a win~win situation?


    1. Cliff Harwin

      You’re correct Kay, it is incredible that my family is able to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday! Thank you for your very perceptive questions we need to ask ourselves! I’m still working on this. Stay tuned!

  5. Tracy

    I agree. I always like for my birthday to be celebrated ON my birthday. Since you feel strongly about it, I think ON the day is wonderful. If you’re able, you could also attend the family celebration on the weekend. This also gives you a special day with Mom… assuming you have a good relationship, this would be a great thing! Now on the other hand, some elderly folk are a pain. If this were to be the case for me, I would opt for just the birthday celebration of my choice, but not both celebrations. I think she’s a lucky mom, to have you caring about this subject, taking her feelings into consideration.

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Thank you for your input Tracy! It’s not easy to deal with my relatives! I do care about taking everybody’s feelings under consideration and want to please everyone! Easier said than done!! LOL I’ll let you know what happens.

  6. Sid

    Well I have a few thoughts. First your mother has already celebrated 89 birthdays. If she says she doesn’t care to wait a few days to celebrate it on the weekend, I believe her.
    It seems better to celebrate it if all of the family is together. My family has done the same thing when someones birthday is close to the weekend, we just wait till Sat of Sunday so more people can attend. Or have two celebrations. One on the actual day and another on the weekend. I try to remind myself not to make a mountain out of a molehill (which I tend to do).

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Thank you for your thoughts Sid! You’re right about me trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. LOL This should be an easy decision, but it’s not. Especially when I deal with my relatives! Stay tuned!

  7. Marina

    Everyone has different personal preferences.
    I often celebrate my birthday on the following weekend.
    But if it’s really important to you and your mom, why not
    have your own celebration on her day, and then also go to the
    big family gathering too? Unless your sisters have a history of
    being mean-spirited about these things in the past.

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Thank you for your thoughts Marina! This should be easy, but it’s not. My sister’s are nuts! LOL I’ll let you know what happens.

  8. Maria Cross

    I think people do have differing opinions on things like these. I personally don’t feel it is important that things get celebrated on the exact day. Acknowledge and remembered on the day Yes! but the celebration can be anytime that is suitable. The most important thing is that the person whose celebration it is for can fit it in!! I feel being together needs to come before anyone siblings choice and if your mum is happy for the weekend then why not. Maybe there will be another event where you can have the casting vote like your birthday. It does depend on history also – these things rarely come with just one event of ‘baggage’. Make sure this is about the person it is for – your mum, and not the baggage.

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Thank you for your input Maria! You’re very perceptive about the “baggage” part. My family and I have plenty to spread around with each other. That’s the reason why there is a problem with this. I’ll let you know what happens.

  9. Kristie

    Sounds like I agree with most. My hearts first answer was to celebrate with her yourself on the actual day, just the two of you. Would be a wonderful memory to have, wouldn’t it? Then you can join in the bigger celebration if you can on the weekend as well. It’s what I would do anyways. When the people we love get to that age it’s time to really cherish all of the time we get to spend with them. My grandmother is in her mid eighties and I relish any time with her knowing it may be the last. Thank you for always putting yourself out there with these posts Cliff. I really enjoy them. Best to you and your family!

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Thank you Kristie for your comments! You’ve given me a lot to think about! I’ll let you know what happens!

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