DEAR AMY: My family drove six hours to visit family members over Christmas. Upon arrival, we were informed that one of their children had been ill with the stomach bug since the day before. We ended up spending the holiday with their entire family (including three kids, both parents and a grandparent) sick and running to the bathroom. Once home, all three of my children got the stomach bug. My wife and I will get it soon, no doubt. Is it wrong of me to be extremely upset with the family we visited for not notifying us immediately when their first child fell ill so we could decide if we should visit? I feel it was disrespectful to keep that information from us. Once when one of ours was sick we called to let them know and they chose to postpone their visit. Obviously, if sickness unexpectedly strikes after arrival, it's bad luck. However, I feel as though we are all now unnecessarily suffering due to their selfish desire not to miss out on a Christmas visit. Any advice?
-- Furious Dad
DEAR DAD: These hosts absolutely should have given you a heads up about their child's illness, but before you confront them with your fury, please take a moment to consider what it was like for them: Every member of their household was sick while they were hosting a family of five in their home. On Christmas.
You should thank them for their hospitality in such challenging circumstances and ask them (good-naturedly) to notify you if something similar happens in the future. You say, "We were so sorry to see you all suffering so much over Christmas. Of course now we have the bug so we understand all the more what this was like for you. Please -- let's make sure in the future that we tell each other if any of the kids has so much as a sniffle before a visit."