I'm going to try to keep this as short and sweet as possible. My mother is 84. She has long been a bitter person, seeing and thinking the worst about people. As she has gotten older, this has gotten significantly worse.
My niece (sister's daughter) and great-niece decided to come for a visit to my mom's house in my hometown over the 4th of July holiday (the celebration is a big deal in my hometown). This would be my mom's granddaughter and great-granddaughter. They have not stayed with my mom in a very, very long time, and admittedly there are some personality issues involved with the two females also. I believe, though, that they have grown and changed and I am hoping for the best.
My mom is dreading the visit. Despite me telling her that etiquettehell.com heartily endorsed her telling niece and great-niece that they either could not come OR they needed to stay in a motel (not the easiest option in my hometown area), she agreed to the visit (because how would it look otherwise???) and now is bitter, angry and prematurely mean about it. She is judging how my niece's visit is going to go based on long ago perceptions of her (my niece's) behavior. She is already complaining about how she is not going to enjoy the holiday because my niece will "sit around and expect me to wait on her hand and foot."
I fear getting caught in the middle of all this and it is the last thing I want to deal with. I am retiring this Friday (yay!!!!) and the 4th of July holiday is a big deal for me (better than Christmas!) and I honestly don't want my time spoiled by this. Selfish possibly, but also realistic.
I know bean-dipping is the best policy, but are there other techniques I can practice to keep my sanity? I am planning on including my niece and great-niece in as many activities that I am involved in as I possibly can, in order to give my mom some time to decompress, but I am unwilling to become the de facto host.