My dad and his wife (dSM – dear stepmother) have a little house on a lake over on the Island. It’s a lovely spot and the lake is nice to swim or canoe in. I used to really enjoy visiting them there, playing cards out on the deck and BBQ-ing, etc. But since I’ve had children, it is not a relaxing visit. Their house is full of knick-knacks, open stairs, and all sorts of other non-child-friendly things. They have no yard to speak of, and the back of the house is on a cliff. The very steep path behind goes down to the water and their little pier.
We’ve been there before with the kids and we came home exhausted. All DS wanted to do was go up and down the stairs, which required someone to go with him. Everybody else lost interest after a few minutes, so yours truly ended up doing it the most. The sleeping arrangements leave alot to be desired. Two small rooms downstairs with a full size bed in one and a twin in the other. I slept with both kids and was cramped all night, not to mention I didn’t sleep much worrying that someone was gonna roll off the bed. DH was pissed that he spent his weekend sleeping alone (I know, I think it sounds heavenly too, but he’s a softie and likes to snuggle). The kids have a hard time going to sleep there and I can’t leave DS down there alone for fear of him rolling off the bed (it’s on a high frame). So we don’t get any adult time (eg. no card games).
I have tried many times to explain to my Dad that the reason we always say no is not personal. I have spelled out to him on a few occasions what it’s like for us there with the young kids. And yet they still ask, EVERY TIME we see them. They are constantly trying to pin us down for a visit. What really bites me is that it’s tinged with this whole “we never see you guys” tone. Well, if you didn’t take off virtually EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND to go over there maybe that would change. But no, they go and then they ask us for the umpteenth time to come.
Well, being the big wuss that I am, I finally caved into the pressure and said yes. They even got me to pin down a date – the upcoming long weekend. As the date drew nearer my anxiety level rose. It’s hard enough being with the kids in our house all day, which is very child friendly. But I could only imagine being up way too late with kids who can’t go to sleep, and having to follow them around from the minute they wake up in the morning, preventing them from touching whatever-it-is, watching Dad and dSM set the table with all sorts of things that DS would love to just yank right offa there, not that either of the kids will actually sit there. Nor will DD eat anything they serve. So we have to bring our own food and cook it. Yeah, can you just feel the relaxing vacation vibe? Me neither.
Anyways, I finally decided to tell them “no”. So I told Dad today and used as my excuse the fact that I couldn’t get a ferry reservation. He seemed really cool about it. But then tonight he calls back and lays this “now it’s too late to invite anybody else” trip on me. Which I’m thinking clearly means that dSM was not happy about it and Dad is the messenger. Now don’t get me wrong, I like her alot, she and Dad are great together. But I really didn’t need that guilt trip. The woman has never had kids so it is not the slightest insult to say she has no clue about our reality that way.
Then, just to ease my nagging brain, I decided to go and check if the reservations really were full. They were not. Not by a long shot. So now I feel like crap because I lied, and if they decide to check they’ll know that. I’m angry at myself for not being able to just tell them the truth, and angry at them for making me feel roped into something I don’t want to do. I’m angry at myself for lying.
Tomorrow I’m going to tell Dad that I made a mistake and the reservations aren’t full. But we are still not going. I’m going to tell him, again, that it just isn’t fun – it’s totally stressful for us. I’m also going to call dSM and tell her the same thing. I really need to unburden my conscience on this one. Lying was wrong and I feel bad about it.
We’ve discussed going camping together and I think that will be a much better solution. I love my Dad alot and I really enjoy hanging out with him and dSM. I just want the opportunity to actually relax and enjoy that time with them, and not be in a situation where DH and I do shift work so that we end up not spending any time with each other.