Author Topic: Nephew's birthday Update #99  (Read 15124 times)

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NutellaNut

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Nephew's birthday Update #99
« on: May 03, 2013, 11:24:17 AM »
BG1: My brother lives several states away, more than 7 hours of travel time.  For the last 20 years, it's usually been me and my DH who travel for family visits - for many of those years, our parents lived in the same far state as my brother, so it made sense.  But even when our parents lived down near me for 6 years, my brother and his partner visited our state only once or twice.  I have typically visited (with and without my DH) my brother's state twice a year or more.  I'm OK with this; DB leads a busy life, traveling for work and I know it's hard to make time and energy to do family visits sometimes.  This is even more true now that DB has a child, Nephew, who is darling but a lot of work!

BG2:  For the last 10 years or so, my DH and I have vacationed in a third state with friends.  They are locked into a certain week of the year at their lakeside cabin.  We really enjoy our time with them and look forward to this vacation very much.  This year it will mean even more to us as one of the friends we vacation with has been diagnosed with cancer.

Unfortunately, my nephew's birthday falls within the vacation week, and the two locations are much too far apart (5+ hours) for a day trip.  Therefore we have had to decline when my brother has invited us to Nephew's birthday parties in the past.

You know where this is going, right?  :P

A few nights ago I was talking to my brother and he brought up Nephew's birthday.  "DN's 3rd birthday is XX date, you know you could come..."

"Oh, DB, I'm sorry," I said, "but that's the start of our vacation week.  We just can't."
"Yeah, well, great," he said sourly.  "So you'll miss it again."
"It's unfortunate, but it just lines up that way.  We're locked into that week."
"Well, I can tell you, DN's birthday isn't going to change.  So I guess you'll always miss it."

I think the conversation was slightly longer, but that is the gist.  And then he abruptly said he had to go, he'd call me back later in the evening, and we hung up.  And then he didn't call me back.

So, is this really a problem, or is my brother expecting too much?  Is it normal to have family travel 7 hours one way for a child's birthday party?  Even if we weren't on vacation, I'm not sure we would go up for just the birthday party - that's a lot of travel and expense for a weekend.  And I would rather see my brother's family at a less hectic time - from the pictures of previous years, the birthday parties are big, with three extended families (we would only know my brother and his immediate family, and my parents) and several friends and families.  I'm sure the parties are fun, but I feel like we'd have better quality time with my brother and family on a less-scheduled and chaotic weekend.

My brother is going through some difficulties, including relation$hip problems with his partner, so maybe his grumpiness is more about his general stress and not a real reflection of his thoughts.  I'm torn between ignoring the conversation, or calling him up to tell him again that I'm sorry we'll miss DN's birthday, but we're hoping to find a weekend we can come up when we can all spend some quality time together.

Thoughts?

« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 04:04:50 PM by NutellaNut »

Shoo

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Re: Nephew's birthday
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2013, 11:28:19 AM »
I love my niece and nephew, but there's no way I'd travel 7 hours to attend their birthday parties.  I think your brother is being completely unreasonable and quite self-centered about this.

Bexx27

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Re: Nephew's birthday
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2013, 11:29:27 AM »
It's ridiculous to expect you to travel so far for a birthday party, even if you didn't have other plans.
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MorgnsGrl

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Re: Nephew's birthday
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2013, 11:32:28 AM »
Okay, so. I don't think you're being at all unreasonable for not wanting to make such a long drive to spend very little quality time with nephew. But I don't think your brother is being unreasonable for wanting you there, and being sad that you won't be there this year or presumably at any year in the future, either. I think suggesting to him that you would love to plan a visit and spend time with his family would go a long way to soothe his hurt feelings.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Nephew's birthday
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2013, 11:36:25 AM »
My family is very close. One sis lives 4 hrs away and another 5 hrs away. None of us have ever traveled for any of the kids bday parties. If they were going to be in town for another reason, we might move a family bday celebration around so they could join us.

I think you'll just need to explain to your brother at some point in the future that you won't be attending his children's parties unless you happen to be in the area for other reasons.

ETA:  Did your aunts and uncles travel to your bday parties when the two of you were young? Is that where he is getting the expectation? Or does your SIL's family live close so the other side has family in attendance?

Thipu1

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Re: Nephew's birthday
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2013, 11:36:44 AM »
I agree with other posters.  Giving up part of your hard-earned vacation and driving hours to attend the birthday party of a 3 year-old is nuts.  A child of that age will hardly notice you if you do show up. 

You do see the child several times a year.  You can give a present when you visit.   Nobody  doesn't like an Un-Birthday party. 

Your relative is being unreasonable. 

Eeep!

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Re: Nephew's birthday
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2013, 11:41:57 AM »
I personally would not expect my sister to travel 7 hours for one of my boys' birthdays.  But I suspect that maybe your brother is more upset over the realization that it would appear that your vacation will always take precedence over your nephew's birthday.  What I am trying to say is that even if he would understand about the travel time making it an unlikely event, the fact that it seems pretty clear it is a never-happen event is probably still hurtful.  I know it's not very logical, but I think I would probably feel the same way. I think the best course of action is to, if you can and WANT to, is to plan some other visit to see your nephew, couching it as you would prefer to have some one on one auntie/nephew time instead.  Unfortunately, I suspect that will likely ring a bit hollow as he knows the primary issue is the vacation. 
And please don't take this as judging you - I totally get the whole set date vacation.  But I'm just trying to give a little insight into how he might be feeling...

Edited to add: I also am not trying to say that your brother is right and you are wrong or anything like that.  Travelling for a 3 year old's birthday is a bit much. It really is.
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daen

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Re: Nephew's birthday
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2013, 11:44:07 AM »
If your nephew's birthday is as big a party as the pictures you mention suggest, your brother might be thinking "It's a big party! Everyone loves big parties! It's so worth the trip! NutellaFamily would have no reason not to come except that they don't love Nephew or any of us!" It can be easy to fall into the assumption that because you (ie Brother) enjoy an activity, everyone else (ie NutellaFamily) does as well, and it can happen even if brother has been told that NutellaFamily has reasons for not enjoying said activity.

I hope that, in your situation, I would continue as if it were a case of the above mistaken assumptions, with or without stress complications. I don't know if pointing out your reasons (don't know many people there, friend in poor health, whatever) would be helpful. I think the visit on another weekend is a nice thought, and if you were so inclined and you think it would go over well, you could call it Nephew's Unbirthday Party.

ETA: I see Thipu1 beat me to the Lewis Carroll reference.  ;)

GSNW

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Re: Nephew's birthday
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2013, 11:44:53 AM »
Who is this party for?  I mean, I get that it's for your nephew, but Nephew is 3.  If you came in a Barney suit with fireworks, chances are high he won't remember in the future.  In my opinion, your brother is hurt that you're not coming out and putting his kid out there as the reason.  It would be better for him to say, "You know, we'd love to see you and I had hoped this would be an occasion we could all be together.  I'm disappointed."  This would be far more honest and not a temper tantrum, which is essentially what happened IMO.

I would say that if you are interested in being involved in Nephew's life, be there for his graduations, send him cards, talk to him on the phone when you can.  Life is not just being there for birthdays and you have plans this year anyway - I'm sorry to hear about your friend, and I hope you guys can spend some great time together.

kakack

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Re: Nephew's birthday
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2013, 11:51:01 AM »
I have never understood why people feel they have to have every relative they know at a child's birthday party.  I would never expect any of my siblings to attend any of my son's party (all but 1 live out of state)- why would they want to?  It's noisy, a bunch of kids running around, and they don't know anyone there but me, DS, and our parents.  Not much fun for them.  Heck, my siblings don't even send presents!  If they do, fabulous.  If not, who cares?  Expecting relatives to travel more than 1 hour or so for a birthday party is, to me, unreasonable.

I know in some families, birthday parties are a big deal, but we have a family dinner for the b-day kid, then kid has a friends party, which adult relatives may or may not attend, based on their schedule or desire to attend. 

SingActDance

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Re: Nephew's birthday
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2013, 12:00:22 PM »
I see both sides. That is a long way to travel just for a birthday party, but I can see why your brother might feel hurt because (it seems to him) you've pretty much decided you'll never be available for your nephew's birthday due to this standing vacation week. Go ahead and set up a date for a visit, so they know that seeing them is a priority for you. And talk with your DH about the possibility of doing a different vacation sometime in the future (maybe for his 5th?) and being there for nephew's bday.
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LeveeWoman

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Re: Nephew's birthday
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2013, 12:01:54 PM »
BG1: My brother lives several states away, more than 7 hours of travel time.  For the last 20 years, it's usually been me and my DH who travel for family visits - for many of those years, our parents lived in the same far state as my brother, so it made sense.  But even when our parents lived down near me for 6 years, my brother and his partner visited our state only once or twice.  I have typically visited (with and without my DH) my brother's state twice a year or more.  I'm OK with this; DB leads a busy life, traveling for work and I know it's hard to make time and energy to do family visits sometimes.  This is even more true now that DB has a child, Nephew, who is darling but a lot of work!

BG2:  For the last 10 years or so, my DH and I have vacationed in a third state with friends.  They are locked into a certain week of the year at their lakeside cabin.  We really enjoy our time with them and look forward to this vacation very much.  This year it will mean even more to us as one of the friends we vacation with has been diagnosed with cancer.

Unfortunately, my nephew's birthday falls within the vacation week, and the two locations are much too far apart (5+ hours) for a day trip.  Therefore we have had to decline when my brother has invited us to Nephew's birthday parties in the past.

You know where this is going, right?  :P

A few nights ago I was talking to my brother and he brought up Nephew's birthday.  "DN's 3rd birthday is XX date, you know you could come..."

"Oh, DB, I'm sorry," I said, "but that's the start of our vacation week.  We just can't."
"Yeah, well, great," he said sourly.  "So you'll miss it again."
"It's unfortunate, but it just lines up that way.  We're locked into that week."
"Well, I can tell you, DN's birthday isn't going to change.  So I guess you'll always miss it."

I think the conversation was slightly longer, but that is the gist.  And then he abruptly said he had to go, he'd call me back later in the evening, and we hung up.  And then he didn't call me back.

So, is this really a problem, or is my brother expecting too much?  Is it normal to have family travel 7 hours one way for a child's birthday party?  Even if we weren't on vacation, I'm not sure we would go up for just the birthday party - that's a lot of travel and expense for a weekend.  And I would rather see my brother's family at a less hectic time - from the pictures of previous years, the birthday parties are big, with three extended families (we would only know my brother and his immediate family, and my parents) and several friends and families.  I'm sure the parties are fun, but I feel like we'd have better quality time with my brother and family on a less-scheduled and chaotic weekend.

My brother is going through some difficulties, including relation$hip problems with his partner, so maybe his grumpiness is more about his general stress and not a real reflection of his thoughts.  I'm torn between ignoring the conversation, or calling him up to tell him again that I'm sorry we'll miss DN's birthday, but we're hoping to find a weekend we can come up when we can all spend some quality time together.

Thoughts?

Going by his reaction, this seems to be more about paying homage to your brother than anything else. Is  he this way about other things?

*inviteseller

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Re: Nephew's birthday
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2013, 12:04:19 PM »
That seems to be a bit of a drive for a birthday party for a nephew.  So, if it wasn't your actual scheduled vacation that you do every year at the same time, would you have to make the long drive to and from in a weekend?  That seems alot to ask when they don't take the time to come see you.   I am not saying every interaction has to be even but some reciprocation would be nice on his part.  Tell your brother, your sorry, this is an annual thing that cannot be changed but maybe you can get together at another time for a weekend.

Winterlight

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Re: Nephew's birthday
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2013, 12:15:46 PM »
I admit I'm coming at this from the perspective of a family that's scattered all over the country. It would never have occurred to my parents to invite my aunts and uncles to my birthday- it's just not financially possible for us.

I think Bro needs to get a grip on himself. Nephew is three- he won't miss you at a big crowded party. If he's upset you aren't coming because Bro wants to see you, then he needs to use his words. 
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Lynn2000

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Re: Nephew's birthday
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2013, 12:35:55 PM »
Okay, so. I don't think you're being at all unreasonable for not wanting to make such a long drive to spend very little quality time with nephew. But I don't think your brother is being unreasonable for wanting you there, and being sad that you won't be there this year or presumably at any year in the future, either. I think suggesting to him that you would love to plan a visit and spend time with his family would go a long way to soothe his hurt feelings.

POD to this. Expectations differ by family. But I can see how it would be hard to hear, "Sorry, I will NEVER be at Nephew's birthday celebration for the foreseeable future, due to my vacation time." That's how Brother could be hearing it, anyway. I don't think you've done anything wrong, but making a special effort to see Nephew and Brother at other, more convenient times might be nice.
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