June 03, 2010,
C.H. asks from Bolingbrook, IL on August 11, 2009
My Sister Plans a Vacation on the Day of My Daughter's 3Rd Birthday Party
So, my sister Kim (who has 2 kids 6 months older than my kids) decided to plan a vacation and take our mom with (who happens to be the only grandparent our kids have). She tells me last Friday that my mom hasn't told her yes or no. I explained that she never told our mom what day they were planning on leaving and since our mom works, it's pretty crucial to inform her of it. That's when she told me Saturday, Oct. 17th (same day as my daughter, Cait turns 3). When I told her that that's the day of Cait’s party, she said "well, you should have checked with me before deciding on what day to throw your daughter's party". Okay... Cait turns 3 on a Saturday this year and she feels I should have checked with her (yeah, right). Ironically, I e-mailed everyone in my family the party date several weeks earlier (not knowing about their plans to go away). My other sister and mom both responded that they have marked their calendar and I get no response from Kim.
During our lunch last week, she rants about how my mom picks up her kids so late on Friday and then decides to drop them off late on Saturday (no, she would never consider dropping the kids off herself - she expects my mom to do everything), and that she and her husband couldn’t even go to the movies. I asked her when the last time they went to the movies was and she said 2 weeks earlier (the last time she had my mom watched her kids over night). I explained that mom hadn't watched my kids in over a month, let alone have them spend a night and the last time my husband and I went out to the movies without the kids was well over 2 years now so she has nothing to complain about.
She then went on and said that every time she calls our mom, she happens to be with us (just for the record, we invited my mom to attend a kid concert with us and one day at the Ren. Faire this entire summer). Because of that, my mom couldn't watch her kids the whole weekend (as she would have liked). She also had the nerve to say because I plan things with our mom, it impacts her schedule (to have my mom watch her kids (Fri - Sun)). My mom has graciously agreed to watch our kids one weekend a month, which I appreciate and am grateful for.
Anyway, on the way back to the office after lunch, I call my mom and explain that the reason Kimmy hasn't told her the date of departure was because she planned the vacation on the day Cait turns 3. I did, however tell my mom that it would be okay with me if she decides to go on vacation, BUT to understand, I will go out of my way to plan a vacation with her (mom) on one of my sister's kid's birthday parties (just so my sister knows how it feels). She said fine.
My sister decides to e-mail her the date of departure and when my mom replies to her saying that that was Cait's party and then asks her what time they plan on catching the flight. My sister responds with "9AM". When asked why they can't catch a later flight, she replies that they will get there at 3:00pm as it is and doesn't want to get there any later.
Now, birthdays only come once a year, whereas vacations can be taken at anytime. My mom tends to favor my son as it is (it's very obvious and everyone who sees them, can instantly tell). I've already discussed her favoritism towards my son and expressed my feelings towards my grandfather because he favored our oldest sister (and I don't want my daughter to feel that way towards her) - she just laughs it off.
Well, several days have passed; my sister calls me out of the blue and asks me for my zip code. I give it to her (knowing very well, she has it) and then ask her why she needed it again. She said it's for mom's passport. I say nothing and hang up. Over the weekend, she asks my daughter what she would want for her birthday present, since they will not be attending her party (okay, my daughter has no clue that she is even going to get presents, let alone have the ability to blurt out a wish list - besides, my sister and I give the kids money towards their educational fund).
So, I get e-mails from my mom and sister today stating how many more weeks it will be before they go on vacation. I reply to my mom saying please don't include me in e-mails that pertain to their vacation, as Kimmy is already rubbing it in my face.
My mom replies to me saying "Quit being so self centered. Do you think Caitlyn will even remember her birthday? Do you remember any of your birthdays when you were young and if so do you remember your grandmother not being there for yours? Or in fact your grandfather never went to any of his grandkids birthday parties.
So what is the big deal all about? Quit your bitching, Life is too short so enjoy the time we have. This will be the first birthday party that I will miss out on but it won’t be the last. So please stop!".
With my reply of:
Why? Because Kimmy went out of her way to book a vacation so that you can purposely miss out on Caitlyn’s birthday party. Keep in mind; you are the only grandparent she has. Yes, she will not remember, but you not being in any pictures – she will.
For kimmy to say “well, you didn’t check with me before you booked her party” says it all. Also, she has/had the option to catch a later flight, but instead decided single handled that it was more important to have some “sun” time, instead of some Caitlyn time. More importantly, she decided to take you away from it.
No biggy. I’m just going to plan a vacation with you so that we can miss her kid’s party and maybe she will see how it feels.
So, am I over reacting or should my sister have had the common courtesy to not plan a vacation knowing it's my daughter's birthday? I know some of you are going to say I should be the bigger sister and not take revenge… but that’s not me.
So, would you be upset?
As a side note, my kids only have 2 cousins - which happen to be her kids, but I’d be okay with them missing it, I’m more ticked off that she’s forcing my mom to choose.
J.V. answers from Chicago on August 11, 2009
It sounds like you and your sister engage in some serious sibling rivalry.
If it was me, I probably would be hurt, but I would be more concerned about the deeper issues here than with the bday party. It seems to me that you and your sister are fighting over your mom (like another poster said), and this just strikes me as toxic to your overall relationship. If it was me, I'd be more concerned with trying to figure out how to not have such a relationship.
Your sister booked the trip fully knowing she'd be missing the party and taking your mom. Now you want to do a turn around and do the same thing to her in the future. This just strikes me as childish. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but you really need to figure this stuff out or you will just continue to have this unhealthy relationship for the rest of your lives. You also aren't being fair to your mother --you are putting her in the middle and she does not deserve that.
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T.D. answers from Chicago on August 11, 2009
This is super petty. You and your sister are fighting over your mom. It's time to invite other children to the birthday parties and not be so dramatic about your mother missing ONE birthday party. She is obviously very involved so let her enjoy her vacation without you making her feel guilty.
I think the problem is that both you and your sister have your mother so involved that it is creating drama.
You are just going to have to get over it. There are TONS of people who never have their grandparents at any of their birthdays let alone only missing the one is pretty good on your mom's part. Your mom is just going to have to make her own choices and you are just going to have to accept them.
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L.K. answers from Chicago on August 11, 2009
Wow. At first I just thought your sister was rude and hurtful but I see she gets it from your mom. Tha bottom line is you are never going to change them , ever. You have two wonderful kids and a husband who you should worry about not your mother or sister. They will get their due. Trust me you get what you give:) Try to forget it because your sister feeds off of getting you upset.Don't give her the satisfaction. you don't need her in your life so just have minimal contact and leave it at that. have a great party !Hang in there :)
N.H. answers from Chicago on August 12, 2009
I can see how you would be hurt. I sounds very intentional that your sister made the plans that she did. Not like a vacation can't be taken days or a week later, clearly taking a cut at you. But you can be bigger than that, don't bother getting even, it will only keep the cycle going. There is obviously much deeper issues with your sister and mother.
How about working to not be like them and work on allowing them to be what ever they are, we can't change people. Only you know if conversations with your mom and sister will help this situation. Either way get things right for yourself and don't play their games. Stay healthy and maybe they will follow the leader.
I hope you daughters Birthday is so wonderful that they regret missing it. Enjoy the day with your daughter and the people who want to be there.
Z.B. answers from Chicago on August 12, 2009
Honestly, if your sister and mother are going on a vacation at the same time as your daughter's birthday, who cares??? your daughter is young and will only remeber that mom was really mad around her birthday, which naturally could make her think it is her fault. if your relatives want to do something else, that's fine. you still have the rest of the family and friends to make it a special day for your little girl. let go of the anger and stop focusing on revenge and paybacks. instead, focus on that day being very special for your special girl. Don't talk negative about the 2 that couldn't make it, it is unbecoming and children hear, understand, and remember a lot more than adults give them credit for, believe me!
Have a great birthday party for your child and relax, breathe, and let go of the animosity toward your family members. best of luck...
T.K. answers from Chicago on August 12, 2009
I feel for you and I am so sorry you are going through this. My family tends to hurt me in similar ways and I learned to lower my expectations and just try and enjoy what values most, my husband and our children. I try to stay positive because I believe that if you are positive life will continue to bring you positive things and if you are negative then vice versa. I understand it hurts and you want the best for Caitlyn, I love that name!, Of course you want grandma there whether Caitlyn remembers or not! I'm sure seeing grandma there will make her happy, but I also know that her seeing her mommy will make her happy and her day will be just as special because she'll know that you are happy. My daughter turned 4 in May and my mom was sooooo late and everyone wanted to cut the cake so I called her and asked if she was coming soon because everyone wanted cake, she said she was on her way and we waited and surely she eventually showed up. So we sing happy birthday, cut the cake and serve and just as we are getting ready to open presents she says in front of everyone, "I'm leaving now, I have to get some shopping done at the mall." Everyone turned and looked at her and me and I was so embarassed and just held it in and tried to remain positive and calm until everyone forgot about it. It hurt a lot and I wanted to tell her how ungrateful I think she is and rude for her to leave her grandaughter's party, but I knew that would just make things worse. I just continue to lower my expectations so that my children can still have somewhat of a relationship with grandma without it affecting them. I hope this brings comfort and that your mom and sister realize what they are doing and put a stop to it. I don't think revenge is the answer as that will just cause more stress and pain towards yourself and bring negative outcomes. Try to move on and do what makes you happy and your husband and kids happy. I know first hand that it is easier said than done. Don't stoop to their level. Rise above and remain. I dread thinking about the next birthday party because no matter how hard I try I will be sad if my mom doesn't show up and that there is a high chance she won't. I'll just try to appreciate and want what I have and not focus so much on what I wish I had.
J.T. answers from Dallas on June 03, 2010
do you realize that all of the adjectives you are using to describe your sister could apply to YOU as well? when your sister informed you of her vacation plans, the proper response would be "wow, have a great time, that really sounds fun - we'll have a little cake or something when you get back to celebrate x's bday and hear about your trip!". THAT'S what a loving, supportive sister would say. i know your children are the center of your universe(as they should be), but surely you realize that they are not the center of everyone else's universe. i seriuosly doubt that your sister looked at the calendar and thought "oh boy, x's bday is on a saturday, i think i'll plan a trip for THAT DAY just to piss off her mom!!!!". did you ever consider that that's the only week that she, her husband, and your mom were able to all get off together???????? we have coordinated trips with people before, and it's INCREDIBLY difficult to coordinate weeks off with several working people... and to say that you are going to do the same thing(travel on one of her kids bdays) shows a real lack of character, it's really immature - she probably did this b/c it was the most convenient date for the persons travelling, you are doing it to be hateful - which motive do you think is most self-centered??? you really need to grow up, YOU are making your mom choose, not her - you should just wish them all well - it really sounds like you're mad about not being invited on the trip, and with what you've said in this note, it's not hard to see why you may have been left out(the tit for tat mentality is what i'm referring to)... this is truly a great example of the pot calling the kettle black - you ladies are adults now, not 5 year olds competing for your mom's attention - be the bigger person here, maybe some healthy relationships will emerge, your poor mom must really be upset.
J.A. answers from Chicago on August 13, 2009
Just let it go- They will realize later what they missed and they will be sorry.