When I was single — which was five times longer than I’ve been married — I accepted that the responsibility of keeping up with friends who were married with infants and small children would fall upon me. It was much easier for me to place a call, email, or fly across country than for them. And when I did visit, I made every effort to be helpful and not a drag. Who would want to invite me over again if all I did was make more work for them? Now I find myself on the other side of the fence. I am the one with a toddler and twins due in May. Traveling anywhere is difficult right now. We have one trip planned for business and I am dreading it. A toddler on a plane with a layover each way? I can barely move because I’m the size of the Hindenburg, and my son is so high energy that it has been suggested I mellow him out with Benadryl for the flights.
This 10-day business trip is going to be stressful, with long days and tremendous amounts of anxiety (me: please don’t let me go into early labor; my husband: please let us sign up big accounts so we can move to a larger, flea-free, roof-safe house). Everything is riding on this convention for us. Everything. In order to help make this trip easier, we arranged for our aunt and uncle from South America to meet us in Anaheim to care for our son while we are at work. While we work 12 hour shifts at the convention center, I’m sure they’ll be having a blast at Disneyland, Legoland, and whatever other fun lands they have in Southern California. It is also a great opportunity for us to spend time with them in the evenings and for them to build a relationship with their nephew. We haven’t seen them since we traveled to Argentina when Aiven was three months old and we have been looking forward to this aspect of the trip for months.
Alas, I should have known it would not be so simple. Without naming names, several other family members decided that our trip was a vacation free-for-all. Because Anaheim is closer to them and we are staying in a hotel, it automatically screams vacation, right? WTF?! Has everyone forgotten this is a business trip? Convening a family reunion is not part of the agenda. If I were to ever host a family reunion, I definitely wouldn’t do it while pregnant because I’d need to drink my way through it. We tried to appease one set of relatives by agreeing to spend some time with them before the show, but it totally backfired on us. They tried to extend their trip longer than we’d agreed, and the other relatives we didn’t invite got jealous. Plus, the relatives who are tagging along decided to stay in a different hotel and not rent a car. I just don’t get how they expect to be able to pinch cheeks while pinching pennies. You can’t always have it both ways! On top of being worried that this impromptu family get-together is going to result in some major drama, I’m especially worried that having people around who want to socialize might possibly distract our son’s caretakers and jeopardize his safety.
I was worried enough about this trip before family tried to hijack it, and I’m somewhat regretting our decision to let some join in. Has something like this ever happened to anyone else? What do you do when family wants to crash your vacation, or worse, your business trip?