I live in Florida. My daughters live in Florida. My grandchildren live in Florida.
My mom and my sister and my extended childhood family live in Michigan.
I subscribe to several airline emails to watch for good deals on airline tickets from Florida to Michigan.
So when I saw $19 tickets in January for flights in May, I snapped them up.
You see, I think I'm doing a good thing to buy a ticket for each of us to come home to see you. It's not like I didn't just show up on your doorstep and say 'here we are!'. I told you in January that I was coming home for 4 days in May. I gave you plenty of notice.
In reality, the $19 tickets cost me considerably more than $19. I had to pay for seats to be assigned (times 7!) and to pay for luggage. Unfortunately I didn't know that when I bought the tickets.
We love being at your house. Hanging in the back yard. No schedules to keep, no place to go but across town to visit more family. A trip to the cemetery to pay respects that I can't pay the rest of the year.
And then, two weeks before we were going to be there, you dropped the bomb on me that we couldn't stay at your house. WHAT? We've always stayed at your house!!
You said we were too many, too noisy, too confusing, too many people for one bathroom. We were willing to sleep on the floor and the blow up bed and the couch. All of us have stayed there before and the bathroom was never an issue. Shoot, 3 of the kids don't even use the bathroom!
And mom said, "You can't expect to just come home and have accommodations."
Well for starters, five months notice does not qualify as 'just'. And well, yes, as a matter of fact, that's exactly what I expect.
Mom said we'd have to split up and stay different places. So .. what .. we farm out the three year old? The two year old? The baby? No. That doesn't work.
You said groceries were difficult and cooking and cleaning was too much. Since when? I have never come up there that I didn't go immediately to the grocery store and drop a hundred bucks on groceries. We help with the cooking. We help with the cleaning. Not a meal goes by that my hands are not in dishwater washing dishes.
I really don't get this. All of a sudden ... we're not welcome???
You see, I am paying out my hard earned money to bring the family home so you can see them and they can see you. To foster a relationship between you and them. So you can see your namesake for the first time. Because we love you. We only come home once a year. Four days out of one year. But, no, that was too much hassle for you.
So ......... we didn't. We flew into the airport, rented a car and drove around the state like tourists. We went to the water park and other places my family has never been to before because .... we always came to your house. We stayed in motels and ate in restaurants. Oh, and the motels, still 7 of us ....... and only one bathroom. And never any problems. And trust me ........ I paid dearly. I paid for the car, most of the hotel rooms, most of the meals because they are broke and barely getting by.
Then one of the aunts stepped up and said you can stay overnight at my house. So we took her up on that. We slept on the floor, the couch and a blow up bed. Nine people in that house with ......... you guessed it ....... only one bathroom. We offered to buy groceries and they said they wanted to cook us dinner. We all ate around the table and had a good time. They enjoyed getting to know our little ones, and we enjoyed our time with them.
Oh, we made it to your house for a few hours on the last afternoon. But by then, the damage was already done. We weren't comfortable with you ... and you weren't comfortable with us.
And we heard afterwards that you complained about us being in the state for so long and only getting to see us for a little while.
Well you know what? You can't have it both ways.
And now, occasionally, you say things about the 'next time we are home'. Don't count on it. I have no plans to do so. If we are going to take a family vacation and stay in motels and eat at restaurants, we'll be going someplace else next year.
In case you haven't figured it out ....... things have changed.
I suggest you subscribe to airline emails and start watching for a Michigan to Florida ticket. And you won't have to worry about accommodations .... because, unlike you, I would make room regardless of what it took. You'd have a place to sleep if I had to give you my bed. That's where we're different.
I'm glad we're different.