Wondering If I Am Being Too "Sensitive." ETA

Updated on December 17, 2017
M.6. asks from Woodbridge, NJ
13 answers

Our military son is arriving home for Christmas this Sunday for two weeks. We are meeting him at the airport, which is about 3 hrs from us and bringing our 2nd oldest son (still lives at home) with. However, none of the other siblings are going to meet him:

2nd oldest daughter - lives 30 minutes from airport, but says she doesn't want to drive to airport and then later that day drive 30 minutes the other direction from her home to pick up her daughter from her ex-husband's house.

Youngest daughter - Lives in another state, but through a stroke of luck will be attending a Christmas event about 30 minutes away from the airport but says she can't leave event early.

The rest of the kids have what I would call "valid" reasons (like one lives across the country, etc.)

I'm kind of annoyed that these two girls are just "too busy" to see their brother, who has been gone for a year and is being deployed early in the new year, arrive at the airport. To make matters worse, youngest daughter is leaving for her honeymoon shortly after our son arrives and gets home after he leaves - so unlikely she will see him this trip at all. 2nd oldest daughter will see him on our Christmas for a few hours. Possibly she will drive down for another visit before he leaves, but nothing has been planned yet.

Am I just overthinking this? I get people's lives are busy, and I get that they are all adults with work schedules, family stuff, spouse stuff, life stuff. I guess I kind of thought that since he was coming on a Sun afternoon, it would be pretty easy for the folks who could come (vs. taking time off of work in the middle of the week). I kind of had visions of a group of us being able to meet him . . . I do also realize this was pretty last minute as his orders approving his trip home were waylaid due to him being off his base for a training exercise until the last minute.

I'm not mad at my kids - just a little disappointed.

Thanks for any thoughts on this!

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So What Happened?

Ugh, thanks guys! I figured this was a mostly me thing. I think part of the reason I am so sensitive about it is my youngest daughter, who is also military, won't see him at all if she doesn't come to the airport (and is oddly so close that same day). Both her and the son who is coming home are being deployed shortly after Christmas so I worry if something happened to one or the other . . . they missed out on an opportunity. However, I realize that they don't even think that way!

The kids are all really pretty close to each other, talk on the phone pretty regularly (even the military one), and just the usual amount of drama for a family our size. The only two who really butt heads are the oldest daughter and youngest daughter - but even that is minor, when my youngest daughter got married a few months ago, she asked the oldest to be her maid of honor.

Thanks again for the help - I feel better :)

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answers from Washington DC on

ooh I understand....it's like when I go to California to visit and can't see everyone I want to see...

I think that as long as THEY are communicating and knows what's going on? It's up to them since they are adults? Kinda hard to demand it...but I so get what you are feeling...

I hope it all fits and they all get to see each other...

I would be a tad disappointed with the one who is close to the airport and doesn't want to make the effort....but that's on her...NOT YOU.

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answers from Norfolk on

I hate airports.
When it comes to them I want to get going and get gone - either way - coming or going.

As such - I know it's emotional for you to see him first thing right off the plane - but I don't see it as the ideal venue for a grand reunion.
The airport is a busy crowded place and they don't appreciate extraneous people being there either.
With terrorist threats and such it's just that many more people security has to keep their eyes on and they are busy enough as it is.

People getting off the plane have luggage to claim and often need to de-stress after the flight (you don't know if some kid was screaming the whole flight or not) and then there's the parking and traffic to/from the airport.
They want a shower, some sleep, adjust to any jet lag they are feeling - and THEN they feel human again and ready to face the world and relatives.

You are the mama - the emotional impact is for you and it's not the same for siblings.
Cut everyone some slack - they'll catch up with him sometime over the next few weeks - and let the vision go.

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answers from Atlanta on

Unfortunately, I think you are being too sensitive. Many people HATE airports. During Christmas? It's going to be a madhouse so a 30 minute drive might turn into a 90 minute drive.

I totally get not wanting to be late picking up my child.

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answers from Portland on

I come from a fairly large family. We actually didn't live that far from the airport growing up. When my siblings would come home for the holidays from wherever they were, we did not all pile into the station wagon to collect them. The drive from the airport - was usually bonding time between my parent and my sibling - before the mad rush of all the rest of us.

We would wait for them at home, by the fire, having fun, doing food prep, and they would meet and greet us in our family home - surrounded by the hustle and bustle there - not in the gross airport.

I don't know - but we liked that far better, and I liked that far better - when I flew in.

Not everyone likes airports, and maybe view it as some alone time before the chaos of the holidays. Your other grown kids have busy hectic schedules too - it's not that they don't love your son.

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answers from Santa Fe on

Yes, I think you are being too sensitive. You should go and greet your son at the airport...maybe do something fun like make a sign and have some balloons. Your kids (who are able to) will all see each other over the holidays.

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answers from Boston on

I understand your feelings. You want it to to be special for your returning son. I also think you have been the captain of this ship for so long, as well as the social director, and it's hard to let go of that. I think your kids are adults, and it's time to let go a little bit. You've raised them well, and it's time to loosen up a bit. It's up to them to have relationships with their own siblings. I also think that airports are tough, with traffic and crowds and delays and impersonal settings, so if he kids want to do different things, you have to let them. Maybe it's better for them to have some one-on-one with him too, and avoid the crowd and (possibly) step away a bit from their mom organizing everything as if they are kids and teens. It's one less thing for you to orchestrate. If they don't all see him, let them all miss it and let your son tell them he missed them. Meantime, enjoy the somewhat more private time with him instead of the big hoopla that makes a splash but doesn't let anyone complete a sentence. It will be okay.

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answers from Anchorage on

Sorry to break it to you but not only reasons you find "valid" are in fact valid. Airport traffic is nasty at the best of times, parking, waiting on delayed flights etc are never fun. Collecting ones child or attending an event they already had scheduled are more then valid enough reasons to miss being at the airport for a 5 minute hello before you all have to pile back into your cars for long trips back to your lives. Also, siblings are not always as close as parents think or hope. I would have zero interest in driving out of my way just to say hello to my sister, someone who has never been nice to me. Your children have their own relationships with their siblings and that is not your issue to worry about.

In short, yes you are being overly sensitize about something that really should be a non-issue.

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answers from Reading on

They are adults. And I can tell you, you love your children, but they make their own choices. My siblings have never once met me at an airport. Of course, my siblings are jackasses, but that’s another story. Ask yourself, if the roles were reversed, would he go with you to meet them? My brother wouldn’t, no matter how often I’ve reached out to him. Some people are just like that.

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answers from New York on

I agree with B - you are the mother, the impact of his arrival home is not the same for adult siblings. It's not a youtube video where small children run and jump into his arms...and that's okay!!

Let this frustration go and enjoy YOUR time with him.

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answers from Indianapolis on

I think you are being a little too sensitive. Just think since the other's can't come you get to have your son all to yourself. You can't make adults do what you want them too. I think they will find a way to spend time with your son while he is home. Just enjoy the time you all have together and don't worry so much about what the others can or can't do. I am happy for you that your son will be here to spend the holidays with you. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

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answers from Washington DC on


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answers from San Francisco on

Um, no, I wouldn't expect the siblings (or anyone else) to show up at the airport. Aren't they going to see him at Christmas?

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answers from Minneapolis on

You invited them all to join you at the airport to welcome your son home, that's all you can do. They are adults, and they now make their own choices. It's not up to anyone else to judge their choices/schedules/reasons as valid or not. Your children's relationships with one another are going to be what they each put into them. The more people in a group, the more difficult it is to get everyone on the same page, no matter what. Sometimes you just have to focus on enjoying the company of the people who are present. Don't spend too much time being disappointed in what you can't change. Smaller groups can also be special in a way a large group cannot. It's good to have some of both in families.

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