Author Topic: GMIL Birthday Mess  (Read 14265 times)

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baglady

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #30 on: December 30, 2013, 09:01:56 PM »
If I were an elderly person having a milestone birthday, and there was a surprise party planned for three weeks after the fact, I would be hurt if my actual birthday came and went without *some* acknowledgment/celebration (not knowing everyone was saving their thunder for a big do three weeks later).

Why on earth couldn't MIL and other local family members take Grandma out on her birthday, and let the big gathering happen as scheduled, with all the relatives who made travel and time off arrangements there as planned? Of course, that would have required MIL to keep her mouth shut to Grandma about the second party.

I recently co-planned a surprise 65th birthday party for my SO. It was after the actual day (but two days, not three weeks). His actual birthday fell on Black Friday, and a friend throws a Black Friday party every year that SO enjoys. I gave him his card and gift on Friday, and if we hadn't already had a party to go to, I would have taken him out for a low-key celebration that night so he wouldn't suspect there was something planned for Sunday. (It worked -- he was totally surprised.)

BTW, I don't see anything in the OP about the actual birthday dinner being at the same restaurant as the surprise party. Did I miss something?
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TurtleDove

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #31 on: December 30, 2013, 10:39:45 PM »
I don't even see why it would have to be a surprise. Take GMIL out on her actual birthday, and have the big to do three weeks later. I seriously don't see why that is bad at all!

lastnightsdream

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2013, 02:00:52 AM »
Thank you to everyone for your consideration!

One thing that I see requires clarification: GMIL did NOT make the autonomous decision to have the party without us on her actual birthday, nor did she express any desire to do so. MIL's explanation prior to GMIL's actual birthday to us was essentially this: I decided, and already spoke to AIL, that we had to tell GMIL about the party at her favourite restaurant being postponed until you guys fly out (and ruined the surprise, etc) because she will be disappointed we're not going to the restaurant on her birthday. So I decided instead we'd have everyone at her house on her actual bday, and just immediate family when you guys come out at the restaurant.

According to MIL, MIL assumed GMIL would be disappointed she wasn't going to the restaurant the day of her actual birthday. No explanation was given for why MIL then decided to host the whole extended family at GMIL house the day of aside from 'this is what we're doing now.'

DH still hasn't told them we're not coming. He asked me what I hope to get out of telling MIL the real reason we're not coming, and if I think its worth the massive WWIII fight that will no doubt come from this discussion (past experience with MIL indicates this is a likely outcome of her not getting her way).

TurtleDove

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #33 on: December 31, 2013, 02:28:56 AM »
Personally, I think you handled this really badly. I think it was childish to cancel your plans to visit GMIL. You made it about you and not about GMIL or her birthday. Presumably, other people in the family can decide where they will go and when.  Just because MIL says no extended family doesn't make it so, especially if, as you said, you planned for everyone a few weeks after GMIl's bday. I really don't understand why you took your ball and went home, as it were!

Corvid

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #34 on: December 31, 2013, 09:32:33 AM »
Let's see if I have this straight.

OP and aunt-in-law decide to make and execute certain family surprise party plans for grandmother-in-law's birthday; they're going to make this birthday celebration a big deal.  OP and aunt-in-law consult mother-in-law who agrees to plans.

Then mother-in-law requests that OP and her husband hold the family surprise party three weeks after grandmother-in-law's birthday so they can stay four days instead of two; OP and her husband agree and make arrangements with work and for travel.

Then mother-in-law decides that three weeks later is too late, grandmother-in-law would be disappointed if she didn't celebrate her birthday at the planned venue on the actual date of her birthday.  Mother-in-law then tells grandmother-in-law about the planned family surprise party, thus ruining the surprise, and alters the family party plans by deciding to hold them at her house (and not the planned venue that supposedly grandmother-in-law would be disappointed not to be taken to on her birthday).

Mother-in-law then tells OP and her husband that when they come they'll take grandmother out for dinner, just immediate family.

OP's husband plans to visit in the summer.


If I have that correctly, I can say that if I were taking time off for work and paying for plane tickets (whether with points or with cash) to attend a big family event, and then said family event was cancelled - which the original party planned has, effectively, been - I would probably cancel my visit too, particularly if I plan to  see said family at another time of the year.  Maybe I'm not that sentimental, but I would not be taking time off of work and traveling a long distance just to go to dinner with someone.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 09:36:42 AM by Corvid »

TurtleDove

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #35 on: December 31, 2013, 09:40:59 AM »
If I have that correctly, I can say that if I were taking time off for work and paying for plane tickets (whether with points or with cash) to attend a big family event, and then said family event was cancelled - which the original party planned has, effectively, been - I would probably cancel my visit too, particularly if I plan to  see said family at another time of the year.  Maybe I'm not that sentimental, but I would not be taking time off of work and traveling a long distance just to go to dinner with someone.

Here is where I just don't get it.  How did MIL cancel plans made by the OP?  The OP said she paid deposits.  How did the MIL get the venue to deal with her instead of the OP?  Why didn't the OP just say, "No, Aunt and I planned the party, and even though it's not a surprise anymore, we are going to hold it.  I will let the extended family know (it isn't clear to me whether the extended family already did know).

I just don't understand why MIL is given control over so many people's schedules.  Why does she get to say who attends what events when?

PastryGoddess

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #36 on: December 31, 2013, 09:50:48 AM »
If I have that correctly, I can say that if I were taking time off for work and paying for plane tickets (whether with points or with cash) to attend a big family event, and then said family event was cancelled - which the original party planned has, effectively, been - I would probably cancel my visit too, particularly if I plan to  see said family at another time of the year.  Maybe I'm not that sentimental, but I would not be taking time off of work and traveling a long distance just to go to dinner with someone.

Here is where I just don't get it.  How did MIL cancel plans made by the OP?  The OP said she paid deposits.  How did the MIL get the venue to deal with her instead of the OP?  Why didn't the OP just say, "No, Aunt and I planned the party, and even though it's not a surprise anymore, we are going to hold it.  I will let the extended family know (it isn't clear to me whether the extended family already did know).

I just don't understand why MIL is given control over so many people's schedules.  Why does she get to say who attends what events when?

MIL is there, OP and AIL are not.  It's actually quite easy to call up a venue and take over plans.  especially if you know most of the pertinent details or if the venue has already dealt with you in the past. 

Luckily the OP got her money back, but if she hadn't it could have been uglier.

TurtleDove

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #37 on: December 31, 2013, 10:05:27 AM »
It's actually quite easy to call up a venue and take over plans.  especially if you know most of the pertinent details or if the venue has already dealt with you in the past. 


This is really disturbing!  So if a bride is planning her wedding, a jealous ex with access to details like names and dates, possibly from Facebook stalking, can call and cancel reservations she has made?  Holy canoli that sounds obscene! 

Yvaine

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #38 on: December 31, 2013, 10:09:17 AM »
It's actually quite easy to call up a venue and take over plans.  especially if you know most of the pertinent details or if the venue has already dealt with you in the past. 


This is really disturbing!  So if a bride is planning her wedding, a jealous ex with access to details like names and dates, possibly from Facebook stalking, can call and cancel reservations she has made?  Holy canoli that sounds obscene!

I think there was even a thread on here a few years ago where a bride's mother or FMIL, can't remember which, called a lot of the vendors and changed almost everything. Might have been on Weddingbee, though.

Corvid

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #39 on: December 31, 2013, 10:23:05 AM »
Here is where I just don't get it.  How did MIL cancel plans made by the OP?  The OP said she paid deposits.  How did the MIL get the venue to deal with her instead of the OP?  Why didn't the OP just say, "No, Aunt and I planned the party, and even though it's not a surprise anymore, we are going to hold it.  I will let the extended family know (it isn't clear to me whether the extended family already did know).

I just don't understand why MIL is given control over so many people's schedules.  Why does she get to say who attends what events when?

I don't think mother-in-law got the venue to deal with her at all.  She just decided to have everyone come to grandmother-in-law's house three weeks earlier instead, venue be damned.  And I can understand why the OP decided not to bother trying to go through with the original plans - if the extended family has a big celebration on grandmother's birthday, they likely won't bother to attend another big celebration three weeks later.  What would be the point?

As to why mother-in-law is given so much control, beats me.  I get the impression that it's a habit everyone's gotten into, possibly because resistance sets off a Big Freakin' Deal and it's easier to go along with her.  Her own son wants to tell a lie as to why he and the OP aren't coming after all because he doesn't want to deal with the fallout.  Me, I'd tell her flat out - I was willing to go out of my way to come home for big special family event, but since plans have changed and I won't be able to attend that event, I'll be sending grandmother a card and/or present and giving her a call on her birthday instead.


TootsNYC

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #40 on: December 31, 2013, 10:40:29 AM »
I don't even see why it would have to be a surprise. Take GMIL out on her actual birthday, and have the big to do three weeks later. I seriously don't see why that is bad at all!

This doesn't help w/ what to do now, but this is a situation that makes me think, "surprise parties are overrated."

Keeping this a surprise from GMIL is the source of all the trouble. If the planners had said, "GMIL, we want to have everybody come," they'd have had a lock-in on the date, and GMIL would be the fun of anticipating the party! She could be talking about it with her friends before as well as after.

Idlewildstudios

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #41 on: December 31, 2013, 11:45:16 AM »
There's nothing wrong with a surprise party, especially if the surprisee would enjoy it.  Sounded like OP and AIL thought GMIL would enjoy one.  MIL was consulted because she was local and it was her mother too.  MIL then ruined the surprise and changed the whole shebang.

If I was the OP I would have canceled my flight as well.  There is no way I be spending 4 days of precious vacation time and flight points to be stuck visiting a  MIL who ran roughshod over agreed on plans in such a manner.  I would send some nice flowers or a cookie bouquet to GMIL if I couldn't make the actual birthday and then just be content with seeing her as planned later in the summer.

I would tell MIL how her meddling affected my choice as well.

TootsNYC

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #42 on: December 31, 2013, 12:17:31 PM »
. . . Me, I'd tell her flat out - I was willing to go out of my way to come home for big special family event, but since plans have changed and I won't be able to attend that event, I'll be sending grandmother a card and/or present and giving her a call on her birthday instead.

This is a nice script. And reasonable reasoning.

lorelai

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #43 on: December 31, 2013, 01:12:45 PM »
Personally, I think you handled this really badly. I think it was childish to cancel your plans to visit GMIL. You made it about you and not about GMIL or her birthday. Presumably, other people in the family can decide where they will go and when.  Just because MIL says no extended family doesn't make it so, especially if, as you said, you planned for everyone a few weeks after GMIl's bday. I really don't understand why you took your ball and went home, as it were!

I disagree with this completely, and I think you're handling it very well under the circumstances! If you do decide to tell your MIL the truth, and it blows up in your face... well if that's the very worst that could happen then maybe that's not a bad thing. Her alienating you means she doesn't get to have a relationship with you. It's not like you'll be missing out.

PastryGoddess

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #44 on: December 31, 2013, 01:29:11 PM »
Agree with others OP,  if your MIL gets mad thats on her.  You are not responsible for her actions when she hears something she doesn't want to hear.  I think you should be polite, but one can say NO and still be polite.