My dad said to me recently, after getting back from Yellowstone, that he and my mom had such a fun time and thought it would be so worthwhile that he wanted to desperately offer to pay for my husband and I to go.
At which point, I had to explain to him, for the 4000th time that it’s not a question of money, it’s a question of vacation time. Oh, and priorities. He sighed and said he understood. But this has been one of the most difficult issues with my husband and my parents. Namely that my husband has a regular job, that has regular hours, that has inflexible policies about working from home, leaving early, and taking time off.
It’s hard. There is a constant stream of questions like, “why can’t we do dinner earlier than 6:30?” “Because my husband has a job.” Of questions like, “do you think we could go to Alaska this summer?” “No, my husband has a job. [Also we do not want to go to Alaska. With or without you.]” My sister has the same issues, but her job is a little more flexible on the day-to-day than my husband’s. My dad is retired. My mom is a government employee. I think she has a year of vacation time saved up.
It feels selfish to complain that my parents want to travel the world and want to take us along for the ride. That they want to have us over for dinner or take us out. It feels utterly utterly selfish to not want to spend as much time with them since they are getting old and crazy. But last week, I saw my best girlfriends together for girl’s night for the first time since we all had brunch in December, and I see my parents once or twice a week. And seeing my best girlfriends makes me feel happy and giddy. Seeing my parents makes me feel guilty, because every dinner involves the phrase, “we’re just so happy whenever we get to see you.”
I thought that eventually I would have a job as well and my parents would respect the fact that both of us worked similar hours and had similar vacation time. But that job hasn’t come yet, and my husband continues to be the scapegoat for why we can’t travel. How do I tell my parents that I don’t want to take trips with them, and more importantly, a huge, selfish, selfish part of me wants to go places they haven’t gone? Places where I can come back and tell them about my trip and my Dad won’t take my story and turn it into his story about the bears in Yellowstone?