Our daughter is bringing home her “girlfriend” for Christmas and we’re squeamish about the sleeping arrangements. We’re thinking about making up the pullout couch in my husband’s den for the girlfriend. Just after our son turned thirteen, he was killed by a drunk driver while riding his bicycle home from soccer practice, and we’ve since turned his room into a den for my husband.
The girlfriend’s parents are divorced and she doesn’t go back to southern California for holidays. Our daughter has a double bed in her room, but we would be more comfortable knowing the girlfriend is sleeping in the den. What should we do?
Also, since we’re helping our daughter pay off her student loans, we don’t give big presents. What can we put under the tree as Christmas gifts for them?
–Squeamish Parents, Roxbury, MA
What we want you to do is to be gentle and try to lighten up. Holidays make us all feel fragile about those whom we’ve lost and those we hold tightly to help us bring back the past. Coming home is as difficult for your daughter — and perhaps her friend — as it is for you and your husband.
Make up the bed in the den. Leave fresh towels for her on the bed. Should your daughter ambush you conversationally, tell her you made up the bed in the den so her friend could have her own space. It is your house, but where your adult daughter and her adult friend sleep is their business. Respect their privacy.
Your daughter will tell you what she wants you to know. Don’t ask or say anything judgmental. Such as, “We don’t think you should sleep together in our home.” Be nice, nice, nice.
Even if they don’t live in a cold climate, you do and they’ll need a hat and gloves while they’re staying with you. Find them each a warm hat, similar in style, but not exactly the same, along with solid-colored gloves. Wrap them separately — colorfully and cheerfully.
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Accepting A Compliment