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Our (Well, My) Changing Vacations ...

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by doctorquant, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    It's that time of the year when your humble correspondent ensconces himself and his family in a rental house along the shore for two weeks. We've been coming here for years -- more than 20 years, actually -- but this is the first year I've really begun to ponder the kinds of changes that are aborning. Thought I'd post a thread to: a) noodle through it a bit; and b) see what some other folks 'round here have gone through in similar situations.

    A bit of background: My oldest is a rising college senior, my middle child heads off to college in a couple of weeks, and my youngest will be in the 8th grade this year. Since we moved to Texas, we've tried hard to ensure they don't lose touch with their extended family. That's why, in part, we've passed on other vacation destinations and stuck to our summer routine (one or two weeks along the N.C. coast). Circumstances (schedule conflicts, $$$) may affect those plans occasionally, but usually come March or April we're planning our normal trip.

    As the years have gone by, we've tended to have my mother and sister with us for one week and my wife's siblings and their children with us for the other. Changing financial circumstances (ours improving, her siblings' degrading) have led to my wife and me shouldering most (i.e., 90%+) of the cost of the trip. We've been glad to do it for the above-mentioned reason.

    The thing is, given where our kids are in their lives, vacation time is going to soon become less about our kids catching up with their aunts/uncles/cousins and more about my wife and me catching up with our kids. We've seen this going on with some friends whose children are a bit older than ours (and who recently were blessed with their first grandchild); things change when the kids get grown.

    It's also true, however, that our efforts re: this trip have become something of an entitlement, especially to my wife's siblings. I won't get into all of the details, but suffice it to say that when somebody's toting the note, that somebody gets to, by and large, set the terms (vis-a-vis, say, room assignments and the like). Apparently this fact is lost on my wife's siblings. I've kept my mouth shut about it, but my wife has started to get pissed (at them, not me).

    My wife and I are largely in agreement that we're about ready to get out of the extended-family party business. She's of the opinion (sort of) that we should make a clean break by going somewhere else, thus precluding our families' even considering joining us. I'm of the opinion that we like this destination, so let's just conveniently get a place at which there's room only for our immediate family. Then we'll just say, "God, we'd love to see you! Let us know where you're staying!"

    What says the board? Anybody go through something similar? How'd you deal with it?

  2. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    I have not. I rarely take vacations (and don't have a family).

    That said ... next time come to Vermont. It will change your world outlook.
    HC likes this.
  3. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a change to the vacation routine may be in order, Dr. Q ... for various reasons.

    We did manage to coordinate a successful family reunion last month for my in-laws' 50th anniversary. They live in the Chicago suburbs; one sibling lives in downstate Illinois, the other two (including my wife) have families out West.

    After much debate among (mostly) my wife, her sister and my MIL, a large house was rented and shared by 15 people for four nights in the Wisconsin Dells (don't laugh ... six of the seven kids are teenagers/pre-teens). Basically, my in-laws told us, "We'll pay for the house. You just have to get here."

    First time we've tried this arrangement, and it worked very well ... was virtually stress-free. All the kids slept on the top floor; the in-laws had the master bedroom (and their own bathroom) on the main floor, and the three couples had rooms in the basement. We brought/bought food for breakfasts and dinners, and during the middle of the day, people did what they wanted. No one had to get up super early, and evenings were great — everyone hung out together either inside or out by the fire pit.

    Chicagoans know all about the Dells, and some despise them as a tourist trap, but you can find nature if you want it (a day at Devil's Lake State Park was great). And when it was water park day, my inlaws had a nice time by themselves with lunch out and visiting some of the museums/sanctuaries in the region.

    Not sure if that's your arrangement on the Carolina coast, Dr. Q., but it worked well for us in the Midwest. In fact, people seriously discussed doing it again in a couple years. Next time, it will be out West ... :)
  4. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I'm with your wife and would say that you should choose another, new destination for yourselves, even if for just this year to try it out.

    First, after going to this one place for so many years, you might really enjoy going somewhere else, whether you actually realize it yet, or not. Go ahead and widen your horizons. There's a big world out there, and I've always believed it's good to see/experience as much of it as possible. You never know what you will find that you'll like, what will interest or intrigue you, or what you'll love that you never expected or never could have imagined. It'll be an adventure, no matter who comes, or doesn't.

    Second, I think that way, your real reasons for the change will be less obvious, and will not need to be explained in such detail to the rest of the family, thus making for less potential hard feelings. Just tell the others you decided you wanted to go somewhere else this year, and leave it at that.

    If they end wanting to and being willing to pay their own way, great. (But don't suggest that, yourself. Let them think of/realize the issue themselves, or not). Otherwise, just enjoy your vacation on your own, with just your own kids this time.

    The others will either figure out what they need to do, and decide what they want to do, or else they won't. But it puts the issue back into their hands, where it should be, and doesn't leave it all up to you.
    murphyc likes this.
  5. YorksArcades

    YorksArcades Active Member

    You've made vacation into work. It shouldn't be.

    Just pick another place. Or better -- let someone else pick another place. Then if it works, you can take the credit. If it doesn't, you can blame the other person.
  6. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    We're moving a significant distance away from our family for the first time and won't be coming home for Christmas for the first time in my life (except deployment Christmases, of course).

    It doesn't bother me a bit. As many times as I've been to their homes for holidays, reunions, etc., none of them have even considered visiting us -- even when we were in (near) Nashville.

    Take YOUR vacation with YOUR family. Like us, you've done your part.
  7. qtlaw24

    qtlaw24 Active Member

    I used to go back to DC every summer to see in-laws; that was my summer vaca then decided I'll stay home while wifey and kids go so we could take a true family vaca; best move of my life. You deserve a true vaca; get it sooner rather than later.
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I agree with WriteT.

    Let us know what you decide so we can all drop in though!
  9. JohnHammond

    JohnHammond Well-Known Member

    On board. Go where you, your wife, and kids would like to go. If you like the status quo destination, then find your own accommodations.

    My wife and I had to foot the bill to visit family for too long without them visiting in return. We decided it's better to spend our money on places we want to go.
  10. britwrit

    britwrit Well-Known Member

    Next summer sounds like a perfect time to end the routine. You say your oldest is going to graduate in May? That's a great excuse that allows everyone to part on good feelings.

    Something along the lines of "Tony/Antonia is moving to a new city to start their job and we're going along to help them move." Or "Commencement week just completely screws with our vacation plans." It's plausible and you don't have to be blunt about your real reasons.

    The year after that? Well, life has a way of moving on and traditions fading out. But this way, it's not so jarring.
  11. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    So you're trying to curb entitlement programs?
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    The British are so polite. That's a good way to go.

    I'd say screw 'em since it doesn't seem they are rich or free with their money.
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