BG: My family is pretty spread out. I live in City A, halfway between my parents in City B, to the east of me, and my sister in City C, to the west of me. Each have to drive about 4-5 hours to reach my city. My brother, Ted, recently moved to City D, a few hundred miles east of my parents' city, a 4 hour drive from my parents' city and a 6-7 hour drive from my city.
So in an oversimplified map it would look like this:
Still with me?
I love my younger brother, but I have posted here before about his maturity issues. He's 28 but in the past my parents have had to step in and rescue him from various financial problems or situations of his own making. He has been doing much better in the past year or so.
Because of his job, he frequently has to miss Thanksgiving with our side of the family. He has a history of telling my parents he can't make Christmas, only to show up in dramatic fashion late at night on Christmas Eve, having finagled a complicated compromise with his boss/coworkers. He has done this several times in the last few years. I don't know if it's because he likes the attention from my parents because they tend to over-compensate for his missing the holiday or because he genuinely likes to surprise them. Either way, it really doesn't affect me as long as my parents are happy.
This year, things got more complicated with brother's move to City D. My parents were upset at the prospect of him missing Christmas, so they decided to drive the 4 hours from City B to City D the weekend before Christmas to see him and have a mini-celebration, then turn around on Monday and drive the 6-7 to my city, where I am hosting Christmas Day festivities at my house for my parents and sis' family.
I was a little worried about them spending this much time on the road during high-traffic holiday time. They're getting older and I would hate for anything to happen to them. But I figured, they're adults, they make their own decisions and they want to see their son on Christmas. MYOB.
So earlier this week, my brother calls me and tells me he's planning on coming to my house on Christmas to surprise Mom and Dad. His plan is that on Monday when my parents are leaving, he will grab a suitcase and tell them, surprise, I'm riding along with you! I said, OK, here's a list of hotels where you can stay, (My house is already full) and recommended that he drive himself to my house, so Mom and Dad don't have to drive him home four hours out of their way. He hadn't thought of the driving issue, so he agreed to do that.
I don't begrudge him time with the whole family on Christmas Day, but basically, my parents are driving 4 hours to his city for the express purpose of making sure that he has some family time over Christmas. And he's going to end up getting that on Christmas Day anyway. So my parents are driving all that way for nothing.
Brother told me several times not to ruin the "surprise" but the more I think about, the more this is bothering me in terms of worrying about my parents' safety, wearing them out with unnecessary travel right before the holiday (both have health issues), my parents paying for a hotel room in City D when they don't have to, and just the dramatic quality of it all. Should I call my brother and tell him he should let Mom and Dad know his plans so they can adjust theirs? Or just keep my mouth shut and let them work it out?