Make Travel plans....or, Keep Future Plan with Family?

Updated on August 27, 2017
T.H. asks from New York, NY
8 answers

Within the past 3 months, I've "re-united" with my two sisters and my father. When my mother passed 10 years ago, maintaining a relationship with them became pretty challenging. We weren't raised in a loving, harmonious house-hold, so in lacking that as a foundation, going our separate ways was probably inevitable. I'm the middle sister. My older sister and I have never been close and my younger sister and I have always bumped heads because she's very dependent and I'm the opposite. Anyways, we all stopped speaking at some point. I began to leave my sisters alone because it was the best thing for me to do in order to have peace.

Upon reuniting with the three, we began talking weekly and trying to start fresh. Of course, it didn't take long for them to begin complaining about the same things they had issues with years ago. It's exhausting to me.

Prior to the reunion, I made plans with my children, to take them on a cruise during the christmas season. We don't celebrate christmas and neither does my youngest sister and father. Well.....after the reunion, I decided to invite them all to my home. December is months away, thank God. But, two weeks after the invite, I'm having second thoughts. (No, we don't fuss and fight/argue when together. If that's what you're thinking.) I believe that I'm having the change of heart because I've done all of this in the past, and it's never paid off, i.e., helped them to take the initiative to join me in rebuilding, talking things out, etc. The main question I'm asking is, would I be wrong, to cancel the invite and place my travel plans back on track? That's really what I want and need to do anyway. Btw, there is 16hrs between me, and them.


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So What Happened?

Great answers ladies! Thank you.

I canceled as putting my travel plans on hold for them never should've happened. I'm at peace now and I want it to remain that way. So, canceling was the right move for me. As far as what the future holds, I'm choosing not to even think about it. I know the truth behind the situation and without writing a book I'll simply say that it's time for others to put in the work towards what they claim to want. Action speaks louder than words and love is action.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

Cruise sister cruise! I won't spend another second worrying about the wolves that raised me. We'll be in Hawaii in December!

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answers from Honolulu on

I might keep the future plan with the family, the reunion visit, but with an adjustment to the goal or the intended outcome. From what you've written, ti doesn't sound as though you're going to end up being another version of the Waltons or some other wonderful tv family. You still might disagree, and old issues may still be the same old unfinished business.

But, what you might get is a family memory that is something other than separation and isolation.

Don't try to resolve everything. Don't try to fix every issue. Don't try to mend old wounds. Don't sit down and try to rehash everything that is happened.

Don't even call it a reunion.

Just try to spend a few days with your sisters and your dad and your kids. Make a meal if you enjoy that or go out for dinner. Let your sisters make cookies with your kids. Play video games or get a marathon Monopoly game going, or whatever your family enjoys. See holiday lights (you don't have to observe Christmas to enjoy city holiday displays), go for walks. Just have a visit simply because this is your father and your sisters who live far away. If you loved your mom, you might tell your kids about their grandma, and you might tell old stories about her. If that was an uncomfortable relationship too, skip that.

Don't work towards a particular outcome. Relax and simply visit with your guests.

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answers from Norfolk on

Waffling back and forth is tough.
My first impulse is to cancel - but you invited them and it's worth one more/last try at reconciling.
You say they fall in to complaining about the same old things.
Think about how you could react differently to this.
If they don't get the same old responses, they might knock it off.
When my Mom gets on her soap box - I come back with
"And? So what? What did you expect this was going to be like? Does spouting off about it do anything for you? Release any tension? Serve as therapy? If it serves no purpose except to aggravate your ulcer, then stop already and do something else.".
She's learned I will only listen so far and after that I will not listen further.

But they might not be able to change either.
In which case - after this one last ditch effort - then ACCEPT that you are happier without them and let them go.
In fact - document/journal your feelings as you go - so in the future, if you forget your reasons - you can remind yourself why past efforts didn't work and keep you from repeating this process all over again.
YOU have potential to grow out of this - I'm not sure they have that same potential.
A last ditch effort means - it's the LAST and there will be no more.

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answers from Dallas on

I would not have cancelled my plans with my family to begin with. They should be your priority.

I understand extending the olive branch and trying to make amends. Why not change it to early Dec or Thanksgiving and you follow the family plan you already had.

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answers from Portland on

I see from your SWH you already cancelled plans with your family to your home, and intend to travel with your kids. Reading back the titles of you last few posts, sounds like you and the kids have been through some stuff. I agree with going away with your kids. I also agree that you shouldn't have canceled them - I suspect you got caught up in the family-reunited vibe and emotions clouded your sense. I get that.

I'm with TF - I would have them come at some other time. I think TF's suggestion of Thanksgiving makes sense or earlier in December (or whatever works for them). Or, if they are all 16 hours away but live near each other - how about you travel there to visit them? Stay in a hotel so you can control how much family time you need. As you say, they may irritate you. That kind of thing doesn't always just go away, as you know.

I think you said your kids spend time with their dad also (previous post) so I'd likely do that option. I'd go without my kids, and get a feel of how things are. And as Elena mentions, just treat them like people - potential friends. Trying to rekindle the whole family thing is hard. My sisters are like friends to me. That way, you're not caught in the past. You're connecting now as adults and bonding over things you have in common.

If you haven't yet told them, just say that you thought hard about it, and really shouldn't have gone back on your word to your kids - you meant well, but just isn't fair on them.

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answers from Miami on

ETA: I just saw your SWH after I wrote my post. Good luck with them. I hope they can grow up enough to be better sibs at some point.

Honestly, I would give it ONE more shot. You issued the invitation. Don't be part of the problem. If it works and makes a better relationship for you all for the future, that's good. If it doesn't, then you will know in your heart that you did the grown-up thing and weren't a flake, and gave them a chance. And you can walk away with the knowledge that you did your best and took the high road.

Instead of arguing with them when they try to rehash old wounds, just walk outside and get a breath of fresh air. If they ask why you left them, say that it makes you sad that they can't let go of the past and look to a brighter future. That this is what you want in your family relationships. Maybe they'll listen. Maybe they won't. But you don't know if you don't try.

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answers from Seattle on

I think cancelling is what *I* would do. Who wants a bunch of drama? Not me!

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answers from Anchorage on

The way I see it the real question is do you want to foster these new connections? If you cancel now chances are the new connections will be lost and you will all drift apart again because they may feel slighted by you taking back the invitation. If you do host them it is still possible you will again drift apart, but it is far less likely. Only you can answer how important it is to try with them.

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