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Author Topic: Who should drive Grandpa? - update post 39  (Read 13935 times)

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Re: Who should drive Grandpa?
« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2012, 11:13:21 AM »
He's elderly, and not in the best of health so nobody is going to make him stay, but he has been pulling some stunts lately that my mom doesn't like. For example, at a recent event he wanted to go, and mom told him she would take him a bit later, so he went to ask my BIL's granparents if they would drive him - they did. My mom was not happy, and she told Grandpa that from now on, she could either make him a bed or call him a cab.

Mom wasn't ready to leave, so he found someone who was. That's not pulling a stunt. That's acting like an adult and being responsible for yourself.

From what I understood from my mom, GPIL were not ready to leave and had to make the drive especially for him (they live close to my mom). My mom was mortified, as she had already told him she would take him, just not at that moment.

NyaChan - the hosts are taking responsibility for his transportation - they are the one asking someone to pick him up. If none of the grandkids could do it, they would do it themselves or send their spouse.
I don't want my mother to have the burden of hosting, plus having to drive to pick up Grandpa, that really isn't fair. I want her to enlarge the "chauffeur pool", but she's so non-confrontational she'll probably just do it herself.  ::)
The one time my sister was asked to take Grandpa home it was because I conked out on antihistamines, and she threw a fit so eventually one of my parents drove him.


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Re: Who should drive Grandpa?
« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2012, 11:23:24 AM »
If GPIL's weren't ready to leave, they should've said 'no.'  It's not your mother's fault they agreed.  She has no reason to feel "mortified."

Your sister has learned that throwing a tantrum will get her what she wants.  It works for her so why should she stop doing it?  Your parents gave in. 

Plus, if your mom won't ask others to help...that's on her, not you.  If you help because you want to help your mom, that's on you, not your cousins.  Until you (and/or your mom) start saying 'no' nothing will change. 

I've learned that you can't control how others respond so now I just do what feels right for me.  So for you, I'd just start saying 'no' and let others handle it. 


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Re: Who should drive Grandpa?
« Reply #32 on: May 20, 2012, 12:02:25 PM »
This is all about being afraid to say it will horribly offend someone. But at the same time no one is concerned about offending the person who is always put upon to do the favor.   My BIL is in his 70s. Often he gets invited to a niece's home for a holiday. It is a 2 hour drive for him but he is capable of doing it himself. The problem is there is another elderly relative that cannot take herself and I think he vounteered once to take her (this is like an hour out of his way). After that it was assumed he would take and bring her home. He didn't have the nerve to say no or turn down invitations if he didn't really want to go. And I guess how he was raised keeps him from saying that this is just too inconvenient for him to do.


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Re: Who should drive Grandpa?
« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2012, 12:34:04 PM »
I wonder if you might be able to approach it from the standpoint that whoever picks up/takes home Grandpa gets to spend a little extra time with him.  You could put it out there that you really enjoy the extra conversations you get to have with him and you wish other people would get more of a chance to do that.

Of course, I don't know if that is actually the full truth! But there might be a way to say that, in a way that really is true.  And there is the possibility that at least one member of the family really would enjoy the extra, more private time with him, and therefore would actually volunteer for the job.

If it does end up on one person's shoulders, volunatarily or not, though, I would say that the rest of the family should kick in some gas money to the one doing the driving.


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Re: Who should drive Grandpa?
« Reply #34 on: May 20, 2012, 04:54:58 PM »
If you are worried about how to say no, be cheerful and matter of fact: "No! I can't do it this time!" Then, don't explain. If asked, you are busy before hand. Otherwise, focus on suggesting alternatives. "Have you tried asking Cousin?"

Until you tell your mom and uncle know that they need to find alternative drivers, they don't know it's a problem they need to solve.

You can also offer to split the burden. Yes, you can pick him up, but someone else will have to take him home.


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Re: Who should drive Grandpa?
« Reply #35 on: May 20, 2012, 08:16:19 PM »
What would happen if all of the people shared the cab cost every time?
There is no 'way to peace.' Peace is the way.


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Re: Who should drive Grandpa?
« Reply #36 on: May 21, 2012, 06:19:43 AM »
The problem could be that not every place has cabs or public transportation.


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Re: Who should drive Grandpa?
« Reply #37 on: May 21, 2012, 06:51:20 AM »
One option I haven't seen mentioned is to skip driving gramps and have the party a his place. Would that be feasible occasionally? Or could you find a replacement for the chauffeur that he had the falling out with?

The advice to say no and let the others find a solution is good and likely what I would do, but it doesn't sound good for *you* right now. Sometimes family dynamics and having a conscience (dratted thing! :P) make the obvious and reasonable solution a difficult one to implement. I don't think you should rule it out, but if you can find a solution where no one in the family drives gramps, it might be easier on you.

(Even if you find a way around saying no, it's still a good skill to develop if you feel you need to.)
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman


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Re: Who should drive Grandpa?
« Reply #38 on: May 21, 2012, 12:42:34 PM »
Why do I feel like a bad person for wanting to say "no", and how can I change the family dynamic?

I don't think you can. The only one you can change is yourself. That doesn't mean you have to agree to everyone else's demands, just that your own boundaries are the only boundaries you can draw.

Regarding the norms in different cultures, if I were Granpa, I'd want to consider whether after I'm dead I want the family to think "We miss Dear Old Granpa" or "The old buzzard is finally off our backs". I'd hope he'd prefer to be thought of fondly.

I think you say in advance, "I'm going to be to able to get Grandpa this next time--someone else will need to do it." And then you just stick to that!


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Re: Who should drive Grandpa?
« Reply #39 on: May 22, 2012, 09:25:25 AM »
We meet at Grandpa's house 2-3 times a year, but not every time. It's easier for my mom/aunt to host at their own house, of course.
Grandpa doesn't usually talk on the drive, he sometimes falls asleep on the way back - so not really "quality time".

Anyway, I talked to my mom - I started with how I felt I was only being invited so someone would bring Grandpa. she insisted that I had no reason to feel that way. I said that reason or not, that was how I felt. I said that I felt I (and my husband) were the only ones taking part in the burden, that we have been doing it for years and I think it was time to start taking turns.

So Mom started yelling at me. Her points were:
1. I was being incredibly childish, she couldn't believe what terrible things were coming out of my mouth and how I dare say that.
2. I was not going to tell her what to do, and there was no way she was asking someone to go in the opposite direction just to drive Grandpa (that we did it for years? That was in the past, not even worth mentioning.)
3. We had always volunteered to do it.
4. I shouldn't ever say what I just told her to anyone else because it makes me sound like a terrible person.
5. Who knows how long Grandpa will still be coming to these events (yup, she went there and I called her out on it).

I replied that I was trying to tell her how I felt, and I was suggesting a fair solution to the problem and I don't understand why I deserve the yelling. I also pointed out that the reason nobody else ever did it is because they were never asked to, and therefore they always assumed I wouls do it, and it always fell on me (and cousin1 when I didn't attend.)
I told Mom I was talking to her about it, because she is in a position to suggest that someone else pick him up without seeming like a spoiled ingrate.  I also said that I wasn't not going to do it anymore, but that I won't do it as often as they were used to.

Mom didn't know about and didn't like the issue of the last-minute request to pick up Grandpa, but said "that was between you and your aunt".

Eventually, Mom understood that I was carrying around this crummy feeling even though she still insists that it is definitely not the reason I am invited. She also acknowledges that our side of the family does the lion's share of driving Grandpa when compared to Uncle. She suggested that next time I tell uncle/aunt that I won't be coming from that direction not that I won't do it because I'm sick of it (kinda figured that one out myself), and said that for her part she will try to look for other solutions.
She said that it was just my (and Cousin1's) character - that we tended to be more socially responsible and helpful than our siblings. I replied that she was the one who raised us...

Oh, and she cleared up the thing about GPILs driving Grandpa - He wanted to go, but Mom couldn't so she asked my sister to ask her SO to drive him especially. SO was in the middle of a phone conversation, and Sister didn't want to interrupt him, so by the time he finished his conversation Grandpa had already approach the GPILs.

Mom called me 10 minutes later to share some gossip, so I guess there are no hard feelings, but I guess I did the best I could. It was either that or continue stewing about the unfairness of it for another year or two.


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Re: Who should drive Grandpa? - update post 39
« Reply #40 on: May 22, 2012, 09:41:46 AM »
What did your mother say when you explained that you don't like having to leave every family function early just because Grampa wants to leave, and you are his ride?  I'd have thrown that out there often and with increasing intensity.  The unfairness of THAT part of it alone should be enough for your mother to see how bad this situation is for you.

I think she got mad and yelled at you because she knows you are right, but doing something about it upsets the apple cart and she doesn't want to deal with it herself.  Stick to your guns.  You're on the right track.


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Re: Who should drive Grandpa? - update post 39
« Reply #41 on: May 22, 2012, 11:49:39 AM »
I second the sentiments expressed by Shoo.  You're on the right track and good for you, OP!
Paperweights, for instance - has anyone ever established what, when, and why
paper has to be weighed down? ::) ~Don Aslett


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Re: Who should drive Grandpa? - update post 39
« Reply #42 on: May 22, 2012, 12:21:20 PM »
I think the next family event the OP should say to others: "We have an event right before the family gathering so won't be able to pick up Grandpa.  Who could do that?"  and also tell Grandpa that you won't be able to pick him up this time so he should ask someone else and then see who steps up.   


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Re: Who should drive Grandpa? - update post 39
« Reply #43 on: May 22, 2012, 07:10:40 PM »
I second the sentiments expressed by Shoo.  You're on the right track and good for you, OP!



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Re: Who should drive Grandpa? - update post 39
« Reply #44 on: May 24, 2012, 03:34:03 PM »
Why not leave Mom out of the gatekeeper role? Call your siblings/cousins yourself and say that you can't give the ride this time and someone else will have to step up. And sometime you should start an email convo about how this burden--er, job--should be shared.

Here's the thing: the old contest between the irresistible force and the immovable object is really no contest at all. The immovable object wins. every. time.

Be the immovable object. No one can make you do this. If they keep giving you such grief about a perfectly reasonable request--yelling and so forth--maybe skipping the next couple of events would be a good idea. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all. You can have a nice stress-free day and they can learn how much you add to the party.  :)