Monday, November 09, 2009

Home Is Where The Hotel Is?

Posted by Anonymous.

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.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you're hurt but your entitlement attitude is very offputting. Why is it so hard for you to wrap your head around the idea that maybe something in your mother's life has shifted and having so many people descend on her home is too much? Maybe she has a health issue going on that necessitates her being able to get to the bathroom with a moment's notice and she doesn't want to have to kick one of nine people out of her bathroom?

Maybe she's simply getting older and tired and can't do what she could do in the past.

Get over yourself. It's great that your aunt could save you the cost of a night at a motel, but it's gross of you to be angry at someone who can't offer that.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to spend time with people even if you can't host them.

Brenna said...

I think you have every right to be upset. If, for whatever reason, your mother doesn't want visitors anymore, she should have made that clear before you dropped a bunch of money on tickets. Deciding a mere 2 weeks prior that you can't stay there with no more excuse than 'it gets too crowded' is unacceptable to me. It was generous of you to visit her while you were there.

Caitlin said...

My question is, did you assume she would be providing you accomodations or did you discuss it with her earlier and she just changed her mind? Cause to me there is a big difference. If you assumed that it would be the way it always is, then I think you are in the wrong. It is not your home (even if it once was).

With children so young, circumstances have obviously changed from the other times you came home - maybe 5 years ago there were only 4 or 5 of you total? It can be a lot to have even one guest in your home, let alone 7, especially with small children. I understand times are tough, but you already got a deal on airfare - if you can't afford to provide lodging for yourself when you travel, don't go. But I don't think that's what happened here, because you could afford it - you still made the trip didn't you? You spent the money, but decided to be petty, and waste a trip that might be one of the very few left for your mother to spend time with your family.

Just Vegas said...

Nice rant. I'd be totally pissed too. You had no reason to think that your mother would suddenly not want you staying there. It is hurtful and only worse because she didn't discuss it with you ahead of time. She didn't explain why it wasn't worth the hassle for her to see her family.
To the people that are saying you feel "entitled", well, yeah, she's your mom. If she wants to change the rules all of the sudden she has to do a better job and still expect some hurt feelings.
I truly hope your relationship recovers.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Caitlin--did you ask if it was okay, or did you just inform your mom you were coming? Because family or no, I wouldn't want someone telling me they were coming to my house without checking with me first. Your mom is totally within her rights to want you to stay somewhere else, although she should have mentioned it well before she did. Of course, you're also totally within your rights to be hurt that she didn't want you all to stay there, but she may have had her reasons that she didn't feel comfortable discussing with you.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, I'm with the first poster, Anonymous.

You gave your elderly mother five months' notice about your arrival. You didn't ask; you assumed you could impose. I would never allow anyone, family or nto, to call me up and say 'btw, all 5 of us will be in town on Dates X,Y,Z and we'll be staying with you. That's just plain rude.

And 'pitching in' with the cooking, cleaning and paying for food isn't' enough. A single elderly person has very little food expenses and cooking and cleaning chores. Seven people are an ENTIRELY different matter, especially little kids, and 'pitching in' isn't enough. The burden should all be on you under such circumstances.

Please reconsider your position. Your self-entitled, martyr-like attitude really needs a re-adjust.

Anonymous said...

Read between the lines............
When I first read your post, I thought, 'How horrible!' I'm a mother myself and I would sleep on the closet floor if my children wanted to come visit....but then I read your post again. You are a grandmother. That means your mother is a great-grandmother. Which means seven visitors----wow. And as far as her suggesting that it might work out better for the group of you to split up between the relatives, no, I doubt she meant send the toddlers on their own. A group of seven is a lot for anyone, never mind an elderly woman. And your passive aggressive payback by visiting her for an afternoon on your last day says it all.

Just Vegas said...

My inlaws welcome all 13 of us plus BILs dog every year. If they've always done this, why would I assume this year would be any different? It sounds to me like they've always done this and her mother always seemed happy to have them. Saying no after everything was planned out (the author says she told her months in advance) is her "right" but it's not kind. It's amazing to me that people read this and see "entitlement" as the issue and not a daughter feeling rejected.

Anonymous said...

I'm with the person above.. I think that the author felt rejected and hurt.. and think that the two weeks notice was not enough.

That said- there are four of us.. we live in upstate NY, my family, every single one of them, live in SC. We decided many years ago that it was difficult and uncomfortable for us all to crash on anyone, and we don't like to be split up. So, once a year we rent a vacation spot at the beach, inform everyone where we'll be, and hope and pray that they will be able to join us. It seems to work out best for everyone that way.

I do think that hosting four (and of course, SEVEN) is alot to ask anyone. We only stay with family if it's an emergency and we are specifically asked.

I don't think we should jump on the poster - I hear the hurt more than an entitlement issue. I know how it feels to go ''home'' and not feel wanted. But.. I'm sure that's not how your mom meant it. Please try to fix things while you can.

Candy said...

I really do see both sides of this coin. I can't imagine the hurt involved when you think your mother doesn't want you. And I can't imagine how it must be for an elderly woman to suddenly have her life turned upside down with the sudden arrival of 7 visitors including 3 babies.

The elderly don't bounce back as quickly as younger people do. They find it harder to shift and make room for change. They settle into a routine and they don't like it messed with.

Maybe the solution in the future, once you're over the hurt, is to send her a ticket to come to Florida. Pay the money to bring her to all of you. Give her a vacation. Give her back some of what she's given to you for a long long time. Make her a guest.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I'm only 44 and yes I'm a mom, but having 7 guests with 3 of them being babies would work my last nerve! If I was the age to be a GGM it would probably be too much for me. I would have told my family that in the beginning though.

Anonymous said...

This is a kids book which captures the joy of the family visit and captures the making of a beautiful memory to recall later about the visit. Family owes each other this type of experience especially mother to adult child. It's expected, it's normal, just go with it, be flexible and enjoy each other. Everybody pitch in and make it good for the adults and for the kids. Read the book, you'll get it. And, communicate with each other to avoid those bumpy roads and hurt feelings.

The Relatives Came (Paperback)
~ Cynthia Rylant
Cynthia Rylant (Author)

Kids won't "get" this book if they haven't had these experiences. Have these experiences but do the communication so the experience works out.

Heather said...

I can see the original poster's point of view. We live far away from extended family, and have for several years. The routine has always included staying at my parents' house, and I would be sad if they changed their plans two weeks before we arrived. I'm sensing from the original poster that there have been previous visits wherein expectations have been set. I don't really sense entitlement.

Monica said...

The suggestion to split people up actually sounds quite reasonable if you've got 2 daughters and grandchildren. You stay with your mom and have each daughter and their own kids stay with another relative. It makes coordination a little more difficult but your mother is getting older and having that many people around is very disruptive to schedules and that can be very disruptive to older people.

I remember as a child when visiting my great grandmother we used to stay with a relative who lived close and each (older) great grandchild would get to stay over for a night at her house. Allowed each of us one on one time and was easier for her to handle.

ERO said...

This is hard. I have such a crazy experience with this sort of situation. I have relatives that invite themselves to my home and then descend like vultures and cause chaos. I also have relatives that call, ask what works for me, and make plans with me. My attitude and relationship with these family members are so different, you would think I was two separate people. I spend my time hiding from the first group.

That said, there isn't enough info in your essay to truly provide helpful advice. Is it possible that your crew is overwhelming? Do you really have great communication with your mom? Do you understand her needs and respect her space, or do you just assume and dominate? The relatives that I have difficulties with have NO BOUNDARIES. If something is acceptable to them, then it better damn well be acceptable to me. Is it possible that she has not expressed her discomfort with things that have happened in the past, or that you are ignoring such signs?

I would like to see your feedback on some of the responses. This is a learning experience for me...and I hope you can get some closure on this problem.

Erin said...

I'm with borealis777. I'm somewhat on the fence on how to react to this story because there's not enough information given.

I will say that, despite the lack of information, I would be really upset if my mother told me 2 weeks prior to visiting that I had to find a different place to stay after having 4.5 months prior to make the information available. It sounds as if the cost was a bit of an issue for you (as it would be for me as well!) and having only 2 weeks to coordinate a new place to stay for 7 people on a limited budget would be infuriating.

I will also say that I agree that waiting until the last afternoon to visit her was a little passive aggressive. Would I have done the same? Probably. But it's still passive aggressive.

At any rate, I don't feel like you are acting "entitled," as mentioned above. I definitely read that you are hurt by this and feel rejected. I have been turned away by my mother once before and it is incredibly heartbreaking. She and I have worked through it though and our relationship is stronger now. We're able to approach subjects more easily and have gentle confrontations when there is something bothering one of us. We are more able to resolve our problems now. With that in mind, I hope you will talk to your mom and try to work this out. Tell her how it made you feel and ask what reason she had for waiting until the last minute to tell you how she felt.

Best of luck, whatever you do.

Anonymous said...

Ok, a lot of you are ASSUMING we were staying with an 'elderly mother' .... I guess I should have clarified that better. Who we had always stayed with was my sister. My mom lives nearby, and yes, we would have been too much for her and her small single wide trailer. But my sister has a 3 bedroom house with a huge deck and yard and it's just she and my brother in law. She is two years younger than me, no health issues and no financial issues.

As to being entitled .... I don't know about that. I was hurt. Rejected. And yes, having to redo the whole budget at the last minute was difficult. It's now 6 months later and I'm still paying for the credit card payments. We always stayed with my sister. Except this year. When we were no longer welcome.

Anonymous said...

It was wrong of her to wait so late to tell you, but I do agree with the others: there was (and is) nothing wrong with your sister telling you that you could not stay with her. Boundaries are funny things. If they have never been drawn before, they hurt the first time. But they are necessary. Presuming that it was fine for you to stay anywhere without asking, especially with seven people, is not ok. Even if it was the family home at one point, it's not now: it's her home, and having anyone simply decide they can stay there at any given time is a gross privacy violation. It's also possible there was something going on you weren't aware of, such as personal or health issues or marital difficulties. Anyway, try to see it not as a rejection but rather simply your sister setting proper boundaries.

Anonymous said...

No matter if it is your mother, father, brother or sister, if they don't want to be bothered then why force yourself on them? People change, you know? It doesn't matter how many times a year & the length of stay --- stop assuming the hostess is always thrilled to have 7 people coming to visit. Times change, people change. Stay at a hotel and enjoy the visit or stop going and complaining.