Happy “ruining the holidays” season to all who celebrate! Between the drive, flight, and time change, it takes me an entire day to get to my hometown—it’s a terrible and expensive day getting between two of the busiest airports in the U.S. This isn’t my family’s fault, but I do feel resentful that once I get to town, they expect me to be the one to reach out to plan a visit and then drive a further 45 minutes to see each of them. I didn’t see my sister and her toddlers last time because I experimented with just giving her my travel dates and telling her to come by when she could. And she still holds it against me!
My mother is in poor health, so I’m going home for two weeks this year. My focus is staying very close to my parents so we can spend quality time together and so I can do some house chores, take her to treatment, etc. I’m not going to have the time or emotional capacity to do visits with my siblings and cousins the way we’ve become accustomed to, as much as I truly love them and want to spend time with them! (Also, for some context, I was adopted. So I’m still connected with everyone in my bio family except my bio parents, but they don’t have my real parents’ well-being on their radars really.)
What I want from them is the emotional wherewithal to understand that I’m not on vacation for the holidays and that this is going to be a financially and emotionally taxing trip spent holding my mom’s hand at a dialysis center and beginning the uncomfortable work of preparing their home for her final stage of life. My fatigued resentment wants me to say, “Hey siblings and cousins! I’m going to be in town these dates, if you want to get together it’s your turn to plan something and to drive to me! I really for real will not be organizing anything” which seems petty, and honestly probably wouldn’t even work.
Can you help me with a script in advance (over text or a call) that communicates how much I really just need my family to show up for me in this way this year? I know I can’t control the outcome, but I’d like to give it my best shot at reaching through their absolute complacency. Once we’re in the same place we have an amazing time together! I rented my own place in my parents’ neighborhood, so they can all come to me in the evenings for dinner without disturbing my mom or making me drive across town. What do you think?
—12 Hours Plus 45 Minutes Is Too Much!