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I Hate When Other People Don’t Plan Their Lives Around Me

May 28, 2014

You know what I mean? Isn’t it just the most irksome thing when somebody has the nerve to do something that affects ME negatively? Obviously there’s sarcasm here, but this is also a real-life emotion I’m struggling with right now. I don’t want to be selfish, but clearly, I am, and I see this most when other people disappoint my expectations.

it's all about meFor instance, what about when you make plans with people only to have them bail? That is always a sucky feeling, whether it was a simple study date in the library back in college or an international vacation. Speaking of international vacations, I just took one recently to rendezvous with Sleeping Booty in Spain. For months and months, ever since SB started talking about taking her big trip, I had wanted to join her for part of that journey, and I promised to make it happen. When life circumstances changed and I wouldn’t be able to go during the dates I had originally wanted, I made sure to make it work during a different month. Sleeping Booty even changed her route a bit to accommodate me, when she wouldn’t have had to. We both made it a priority, and it worked out great.

Then there’s my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, who are, by all accounts, fantastic people. I love them dearly. I also hate that I can’t count on them to make long-term plans, or even short-term ones sometimes, because something inevitably gets in the way. Usually that something is their children…you know how it goes trying to be friends with people with young kids…usually pretty difficult when you don’t have kids yourself and want/are able to do completely different things with your time. So here’s the latest story of how my extended family has let me down when it comes to making my dream vacation plans come true.

Almost two years ago I floated the idea of a family cruise to Alaska. Fun, right? None of us had ever been there, and as a relatively new member of the family I loved the idea of a big family trip where we could all make memories. Family cruise, summer 2014! Everybody seemed on board at first (get it? On board?!) But at that point the family consisted of 8 adults and four children. Flash-forward to the actual summer of 2014, and two more kids have joined the group. Last summer my other brother-in-law and sister-in-law, expecting their third child, decided they wouldn’t be able to make it. But I wasn’t too bummed, because I had half expected them to bail anyway (they’d had qualms about the money from the start). Then, a few months later, the other couple bailed, but they had a good reason—they wanted to save money and vacation time to come visit us in the Middle East in February 2015. Fantastic. Totally understandable. I would much rather have them come to visit us than to come on a cruise where, to be honest, their kids probably wouldn’t enjoy themselves much anyway. But…

You can probably see where this is going. This morning they called to tell us that (surprise!) they were pregnant with baby #4, due February 2015, and wouldn’t be able to make the trip to see us.

With that news I immediately felt a mix of emotions. Of course I was excited for the prospect of a new niece or nephew, but my annoyance overshadowed that joy. I don’t even think I said congratulations, because I was all wrapped up in what it would mean for ME. It’s not really the fact that they can’t come in February (that wasn’t the best month for me, work-wise, anyway); it’s the fact that I have a strong suspicion baby #4 will be canceling the trip for good. They didn’t say that, of course, they said things like, “Maybe in April,” or “Maybe in 2016,” but I know how these things work. Another kid means another plane ticket to buy, another passport to apply for, another complicated visa to process. It also means that their lives are about to get even more hectic and complicated than they already are, and international travel usually doesn’t mesh well with that. We’re not going to live in this part of the world forever, and their window of opportunity may have just closed.

So I’m kind of ticked. I’m frustrated that, having semi-firm plans to come in February (they were already looking at plane tickets), they couldn’t manage to delay a fourth pregnancy another few months (Natural Family Planning Fail). But I’m also irritated that I’m feeling this way at all. My family is growing by one precious member, and I should be overjoyed for my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, not bitter about how their baby threw a wrench in my vacation plans. I mean, seriously, no one is required to plan their family, or their life, around me and my desires. I think I’ll be a better person when I can wrap my head around that fact and curb my innate selfishness. Any tips about how to do that?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2014 11:55 am

    Hate to say it but your relatives just sound like flakes. You don’t need their lives to revolve more around you or less around their kids, you just need them to realize saying yes to things means yes. If they’re worried about money, they should say no, but maybe we’ll join last minute! If they’re natural family planning then they should expect to get pregnant tomorrow! Knowing when and what is reasonable to say yes and no to is a seriously important life skill and it sounds like they haven’t learned it. Being turned down initially is WAY BETTER than bailing at any stage.

    And as for the world revolving around you thing, you really don’t have to worry. Your hubby has that covered.

    • June 1, 2014 4:26 am

      Yeah, I’m just glad this happened far enough in advance that none of us had actually bought any tickets or made any concrete plans that had to be upset. I’d be much angrier if it was a few weeks beforehand and I had asked for time off work to see them, or something like that.

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