Why can’t I come on vacation?

A letter writer’s mother-in-law wants to take her kids on vacation without her. Is it wrong to feel hurt?

Not necessarily, says our elder — but it’s not your children’s fault.

Dear EWC

My mother-in-law wins vacations as an incentive for work. My husband and I have been together 15 years. When she first began winning trips, my husband went as we were told she couldn’t bring in-laws. After my husband’s younger sister married she decided to bend the rules and take her and her husband on trips. After this, I was brought on a trip with my children and husband. We have all gone on two trips together. (My husband’s sister and husband have gone on more.) My mother-in-law recently asked to take my children alone out of the country. I wasn’t comfortable, but agreed as it is an experience that we cannot afford them. My son is anxious about the trip and unsure if he will go. Due to this, my husband was invited. Not me. I am very hurt by this and feel that I am being wedged out. My husband doesn’t support me and says I am overreacting because his mother didn’t exclude me to hurt my feelings. She just wants to have a good trip with great memories with her grandchildren. Where do I go from here? My feelings are very hurt and I am angry. I do not want my children to go on this vacation at all now. (My husband has told me he will decline the invitation for himself, but thinks I shouldn’t rob the kids of this experience.)

Ketchman replies

If you think that your children will be safe and well taken care of by their grandmother on the trip she’s proposing, I think you should allow them the experience. As you pointed out, this journey is not something that you could afford on your own; and so permitting them to go could amount to a once in a lifetime opportunity for them.

I’m not in any position to know what your mother in law’s motives might be for her decisions as to who she invites to join her. You may have a perfectly understandable reason to feel hurt. Your children, however, are not part of that dynamic. It seems to me that you would be, in effect, punishing them for a hurt that you’re feeling. That doesn’t seem fair, does it? Even if you have been treated unfairly you could have the satisfaction of knowing you were big enough to rise above the dispute and give your children a great experience while allowing a grandmother to have some quality time with her grandchildren.  

I hope I’ve been able to offer a useful perspective. You and your family have my best wishes. Please call on us again whenever you’d like another opinion or advice on anything you’d like some help with. We’ll always do our best for you. Thank you for giving me a chance to help. I hope I have.

Letter #: 412445
Category: Marriage

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