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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 06:47 PM
Original message
What would you do in this situation?
I love visiting my grandnephews and grandniece, but their mother (my niece) keeps delegating me as a "low priority" visitor, who has to settle for "fitting me in" to their schedule, where other people take priority. The father of 2 of them sees them every other weekend, while I get to see them only 5 or 6 times per year. I told them a week ago I was coming up this weekend to carve pumpkins and help decorate their yard for Halloween with my large collection of decorations. Their theme this year is a pirate ship, and I even bought a pirate skeleton thing for $40 and some pumpkins. They knew all of this in advance.

This morning they call me and tell me that the father of the 2 kids is going to have the kids for the weekend, and the other nephew is going to a Halloween party at his school tonight anyway. I asked my niece, "Well couldn't the father have swicthed weekends with you?" and she said, "Oh, he never lets me have what I want anyway." (On a later phone call with my sister, I found out that my niece never even asked him to switch weekends.) If they knew these things in advance, why didn't they just tell me before I made plans to come up there (bought all the stuff, hired a catsitter, etc.)

This isn't the first time that they have "shoved me aside" in favor of other people. On Christmas 2 years ago, I didn't get to see the kids at all on Christmas Eve and not until 5 p.m. on Christmas Day, while they went from one relative's house to another. And I'm one of their closest relatives! There have been other times when they have planned to visit me or have me visit them, then cancelled on the day before because something else came up (usually something trivial like they want to go swimming instead).

I am beginning to feel like I am a second-class citizen in my own family. I told them I would call them tomorrow and might come up there tomorrow (Sunday). Then I would get to see all 3 kids (2 of them only in the evening tomorrow). Am I being oversensitive about this? Should I just accept what time they will allot me to be with them? Or should I just forget the whole trip, and not put up with this kind of thing. I know the kids all want to see me. I feel like my niece doesn't value me too much. It's a 2-hour drive each way. What would you do?
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skygazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 06:57 PM
Response to Original message
1. I can sympathise with all parties in this
I remember what it was like when my kids were small, trying to juggle relatives. My in-laws insisted that we go to their place in Rhode Island (a good 2 or 3 hour drive) every year on Christmas Eve - since we ran a dog kennel, that entailed getting someone to care for the dogs on that day, driving all the way down, spending the day, packing up kids and toys and presents and driving home, arriving very late. Then we'd have to set up for Christmas morning - it was horrible and not enjoyable at all. And then on Christmas in the afternoon, we either had to traipse around to my relatives' homes or have them at our house. It usually wound up with us going to some people's places, others coming over to ours.... It was hectic and chaotic. And it sucked for the most part.

Honestly, though I know you want to spend time with the kids, it's pretty important for them to spend time with their dad. And holidays are hectic - I'd suggest trying to spend time with them in between holidays when there's less going on with everyone.
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idgiehkt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. wow.
I can't imagine having to deal with that having a kennel, on the freaking holidays of all times. All the times I have worked in kennels I have never had a day off on a holiday. I would have just asked them to come see me instead, lol.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 06:57 PM
Response to Original message
2. It's hard to say this, but back off.
Edited on Sat Oct-28-06 07:00 PM by Gormy Cuss
Your niece is telling you that over and over again. Why, I couldn't begin to guess. You are not being treated like 'one of their closest relatives.' If you want to know why this is the case you'll need to get it out of your sister or your niece. Perhaps all the attention you offer makes your niece feel inadequate in some way, who knows.

Meanwhile, keep trying to find ways to add joy to the kids' lives (maybe by mailing things to them rather than spending time with them. The kids don't care who thinks they're the center of the universe -- kids love adult attention!
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Thanks.
I feel a lot closer to my sister than to my niece, so I'll ask her why I'm always the "standby" passenger. I wish I could ask my niece directly, but I don't think she would even come up with any real answer. She would say what happened in this case, but she wouldn't be able to see the underlying pattern going on, or offer any real explanation for it. I'll ask my sister about it, since she is the closest person in the world to my niece (her only child).
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Suich Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
3. Sort of the same situation with me except there are 3 nephews.
They're a 5 hour drive away and even though I'm usually the one that gets "bumped", I'm fine with it. I remember what it was like when I was raising my 2 kids! Ergo, I really, really enjoy and make the most of the time I do get to spend with them!

Good luck! As Tim on "Project Runway" always says: "Make it work!"

:hi:

btw, we IM a lot back and forth.
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Haole Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 09:21 PM
Response to Original message
6. Would you like a Dear Abby kind of response?
You need to talk with them...in an assertive but non-aggressive manner...and tell them how you feel. They are caught up in their busy lives (not that all of our lives don't get busy) and probably don't even realize it is upsetting to you. And when you talk to your niece be sure to let her know in terms of feelings...feelings really can't be argued with. For example, "It really hurts me when..."

I feel like I'm dispensing medicine without a license, so I'll stop now. Just know this...many of us go through this with many of our relatives. Since you love your grandnephews and grandniece I know you'll want to make it work...rather than "just forget the whole trip". Just stay focused on the priority...visiting the ones you love. Good luck! :hug:
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. That's good - thanks
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mad-mommy Donating Member (884 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 09:36 PM
Response to Original message
7. with kids...
With kids, sometimes things are so chaotic. In just one day, plans change back and forth, let alone in a week or two. It can also be stressful to then think of how this will affect other people who have made plans to come visit.

the the day they went swimming, I would have allowed swimming a few hours, then some time with you a few hours. Or, if at all possible, ask you to come along to the pool if it were a public pool, then you could enjoy watching them play. There are always ways to work it out.

Call ahead as you do and ask when you can come, and make sure it falls on a weekend your niece has the kids. Explain once plans have been made, you will be coming since you have to make arrangements. If by that time, other events come up, expect that you may not get to have lots of priority time, but in all respect to you, there should some quality time with you.

I have a sister only an hour away, we get to see each other about 6 times a year. Right now, between her kids and mine, and the activities, and jobs, it's so difficult. I have a brother only 10 minutes away, his son played football this year, and I didn't get to one game because of my kids activities, plus they were sick on and off. So you can see how hard it can be.

But if someone called in advance and made arrangements to do something with my kids, a few hour thing, no matter what came up, they would have to stick with it. I would probably never agree to a whole day or weekend thing, because it would never work out. Though, I would still welcome the person to make them self at home while the kids were out.
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. You're right. But...
...in this case she knew about these previous commitments, and didn't tell me a thing about them when I told her I was coming this weekend. Why didn't she just say that in the first place, until waiting until the morning I was going to leave, and all arrangements had been made? I'm not asking you, I'm just wondering aloud.
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mad-mommy Donating Member (884 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:11 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. I was...
I was trying to stay even minded for future scenarios, but in all honesty, if I were in your shoes, with how you planned stuff and bought things, my feelings would have been hurt, and rightfully so. And, yes, she should mention what is already planned, if she knows about it, so you can decide whether to go as planned or make it another time.
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 09:37 PM
Response to Original message
8. I would feel exactly as you do...
and perhaps choose to spend my time elsewhere.

This year we're dealing with the fact that my mom ditched her grandkids for the kids of a coworker, who now call her Grandma Mary...Isn't that special? :( :hug:
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. That's horrible that she did that.
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spacelady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
13. Have absolutely had this happen with brothers living half a country
away. Everyone in our family except us live in the same state. We made long-term arrangements to visit so our kid could meet her aunts, uncles & cousins. Yes we got to see everyone, but they were all so caught up in their own lives that good quality time did not happen. We were very hurt & haven't been back. They can come visit us when they find the time.
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. That's a good way to deal with it, though in my case I don't think they are
going to tear themselves away from their lives just to come see me. The kids would, in a heartbeat, if they could drive themselves.
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spacelady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Yeah, I hear that, the kids are not the culprits. I don't know how
to make it better, but I certainly can sympathize & the young ones lose out overall. Keep in touch with THEM, I guess.
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barb162 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:35 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. Sad, isn't it?
I have a cousin who is dying a of cancer a few states away. Haven't seen him in way over 5 years. I have probably seen him twice in the last 20-30 years for a total of one hour. I am wondering whether to visit him. He is one of the relatives who is "isolated" in a state and all the other relatives are here. He and his family never come to this state except for a funeral or wedding (maybe). It's easier for him to come here than for 20 of us to go there. I was close to him as a kid. Absence in many cases doesn't make the heart grow fonder
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:09 PM
Response to Original message
16. In your shoes
I would invite the kids to visit me one weekend to take them all someplace fun, educational, or just goofy; someplace I KNOW they would like. Before returning them, I would hand each a self addressed, stamped postcard, telling them I am ALWAYS there for them and encouraging correspondence and contact. If the kids do computer you have your work cut out for you. GET ONLINE.

Kids are PEOPLE. I have always made clear to the parents of my rug-rats that MY relationship with their kids is INDEPENDENT. Should they ever have a problem then it is their right and DUTY to intervene. I've never had a problem. The kids initiate the calls, asking when we can spend time or more often, "CAN YOU COME OVER NOW?"
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barb162 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:21 PM
Response to Original message
17. Actually you're not a close relative compared to others.
The parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles are. And it sounds like these kids are very busy in a divorced situation where they are being shuffled around a bit. Try backing off, like the other poster suggested.
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 05:45 PM
Response to Original message
19. Thanks to all. Well, I didn't go today. I took my Mom to the mountains instead.
I didn't even call them, I just took my Mom up to Lake Cuyamaca for lunch at a restaurant overlooking the lake, then through Laguna Mountain Recreation Area on the way home to see all the trees changing color. She is 88 so it's hard for her to get out, and she enjoyed the trip. It was a beautiful drive. And I have another good memory of being with my Mother. I did feel one twinge of sadness that I didn't get to see the kids this weekend, but that went away. The only communication I had at all with them was, my sister sent me e-mail this morning asking, "Are you guys still coming up here today?" and I sent a message back saying, "Completely gave up on the whole thing. Sorry."
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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 06:07 PM
Response to Original message
20. I wish my kids had an uncle as devoted as you.
All four of their grandparents are gone and frankly, the only ones who took any interest in them at all were my parents. They came way down the list to my in laws, well after my SIL and her cat. (don't get me started)

My own brothers have their own families and we're pretty close, but we don't live near each other.

You sound to me as though you have a heart of gold and your niece doesn't realize how lucky she is.

:hug:
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. Thanks, I appreciate it. The kids absolutely love me, and they always say
Edited on Sun Oct-29-06 10:02 PM by bob_weaver
that they wish I lived with them or near them. And it has nothing to do with giving them gifts or anything. I just spend a lot of time with them and relate to them, like very few adults do. Most adults treat them like kids. I treat them as friends. Just with me and the kids, it's fantastic. It's the adults who mess everything up. I guess I am classifying myself as a kid.
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wildhorses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 07:20 PM
Response to Original message
21. i get the same treatment with my nephews--
it hurts :hug:
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