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3 times I’ve asked my son if I can visit him in Canada and 3 times he’s just put up problems

(148 Posts)
ganmaj Sun 08-Sep-19 16:02:26

It’s a long flight and 20 years ago I had a brain injury. So although I walk and talk normally enough, thankfully, my stamina is very low. Like a lot of brain injury survivors I havez Diverticulosis, so my diet is minimal and simple.
My daughter in law doesn’t work I just want to get to know my 10 year old granddaughter a bit. They’ve been away 11 years.
My son who I brought up alone, says things like it won’t be what you imagine’ were a very busy gamily’
You’ll have jet lag’ I have travelled all over the world with my work, would have taken out hefty health cover, and don’t expect to do anything other than what I do at home: sew, read, go for a walk have an afternoon rest. I am 74 and my 20 year relationship has come to an end, as I think my partner who has become abusives and aggressive, has dementia.
I’m sad about the ending of course, but I nursed him for 5 months with COPD to the detriment of my own health, and just had to on my doc’s advice look after myself first.
This hoped for holiday was to be my treat of a lifetime to myself.
I get on alright with my d-in-law
Any advice as to what’s really going on here it’s being presented to me as all there concern is my health and welfare.
Please be gentle with your replies. I’m very sensitive at the moment. Thank you

annodomini Sun 08-Sep-19 21:00:31

Do you have anything to lose by asking your DS why he is being so cagey? It is probable that he is trying not to hurt your feelings, but it would be better for you to know the real reason than for you to continue worrying about it.

mosaicwarts Sun 08-Sep-19 22:23:48

I do hope you can go, I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to do long haul, I found Thailand hard, and we were upgraded on the way back!

My daughter was doing a gap Uni year near Ontario in 2016, so I flew Newcastle/Charles de Gaulle/Toronto.
Charles de Gaulle was so fantastic, so peaceful compared to other airports. I worry about airports now as my legs seem to get so tired as an unfit 62 year old ... I found it really hard changing Terminals at Toronto on the way home, it seemed like a marathon. I had to get from Terminal 1 to Terminal 9 - I thought I was there and suddenly had to get on a train! smile After that trip I changed to an 8 wheel suitcase, so much better than 4 wheels. I can walk, but next long haul I'm going to book passenger assistance, I don't mind sitting in a wheelchair and getting on the plane first! smile

If it was me, I'd find a trip I could do solo with someone like Riviera Travel so I would have my trip of a lifetime there - then tack on a week at the end to spend in an Airbnb near my family and just do normal family things. Go round for lunch, dinner, walk round the area and see your GD's school, go for pizza, just ordinary family things. If you get the adventure out of the way first you will feel really relaxed as well as having a lot to talk about smile

Tangerine Sun 08-Sep-19 22:32:24

Ask your son straight out about his motivation for not wanting you to visit? At least you will know the reason.

Depending on what he says, perhaps suggest going another time.

Could they visit you perhaps? You could perhaps contribute towards the cost, using the money you would have spent on your air fare etc. to Canada.

lemongrove Sun 08-Sep-19 23:04:53

Lots of good ideas on here to you ganmaj you could also try explaining to your son that the treat would simply be to see them in their own home, and that you don’t expect to be taken on sightseeing trips if he is working, just happy to be with them.
Good luck.?

mumofmadboys Mon 09-Sep-19 00:13:09

I would just ask your son. Could you say ' John you seem very reluctant about me coming out to see you. Please can you tell me honestly why that is so I can better understand the situation' At least you would know then although there is a chance you would feel hurt.

Apricity Mon 09-Sep-19 00:18:48

In my view jumping on a plane and just arriving would be the worst possible option even if you had booked separate local accommodation. It is clear that your son and family do not want you to visit at this time. As other posters have speculated there are many possible explanations. Ask your son, respect their reasons and keep the communication lines open.

SueH49 Mon 09-Sep-19 00:32:44

I agree with others saying ask your son outright why he seems reluctant for you to go. You need a frank and open discussion so that everyone can move on. Nothing but angst - probably for both you and your son- is being achieved by the current situation.

justwokeup Mon 09-Sep-19 01:42:07

You say you 'don’t expect to do anything other than what I do at home: sew, read, go for a walk have an afternoon rest' and get to know your DGD better. Have you told him this? It may be that he fears you will need to be entertained and/or he may have genuine fears for your health. Perhaps ask him what he thinks would be better or could you ask your DiL if there really is a problem? Do you think he'd respond better to suggesting you all meet somewhere for a holiday, somewhere in Canada or USA for example? Or perhaps they might want to come to Europe? Best wishes in finding a solution.

Nansnet Mon 09-Sep-19 05:06:31

I live overseas and, over the years, we have had many, many visitors. It's not easy, even when they are your nearest and dearest. People just assume that we're on a permanent holiday, but in reality my husband works very long hours in a very stressful job. When he comes home, he wants to relax, have dinner, and maybe watch a movie. He doesn't want to feel like he has to 'entertain' guests. And even if that's his mum, he would feel obliged to be making conversation, etc., when all he wants to do is rest. I no longer work, but frankly, even for me it's not easy with guests around, as I feel that I can't carry on with things that I would normally do on a day to day basis. Always having to take the guest into consideration. It's actually quite stressful, and exhausting. Husband's brother wanted to visit recently ... people tend to assume that you can just drop everything if they're coming here 'on holiday', and some assume that we'll be happy to take our holiday entitlement from work, so we spend time with them! ... but we had to explain that husband was working and couldn't take any time off at that time, and I certainly didn't want to be responsible for keeping my brother-in-law occupied.

I think, when your son said, 'it won't be what you imagine', that he's trying to say they are just living their normal lives, in a normal house, with all the usual day-to-day stresses of work and a busy family life. He won't have time to spend with you, as he'll be busy working. Grandchild will be at school, and busy with after school activities, and friends. And your DiL, whilst not working, will no doubt have her own things going on, and will feel that she can't just go about her daily business and leave you on your own. If that's the case, I really do think that your expectations of the holiday being your 'treat of a lifetime', could possibly be a big disappointment.

I appreciate that all you're really wanting is to see them, and perhaps you really don't care about doing anything else, as long as you get to spend some time with them. But, take it from one who knows, having guests in your home can be very stressful for all concerned. A weekend, or a few days, I can manage, but any longer and I feel like tearing my hair out, and we both breathe a big sigh of relief when they eventually leave, no matter how much we love them!

Personally, I'd try to have an honest chat with your son, and ask him the reason why he is so reluctant to have you visit. If you've always had a good relationship with him and your DiL, I'm sure you'll find the reason is probably quite understandable. And if it is any of the reasons I've mentioned, you can try to assure him that you have no high expectations, you're not interested in doing lots of things, and you simply want to see them, and share a bit of family time with them. Hope things work out for you.

Willow500 Mon 09-Sep-19 06:42:34

I think there are some good suggestions here but I also wouldn't just turn up even if it's to stay in separate accommodation. Have they been over to visit since emigrating - have you ever met your granddaughter? I just wonder if rather than spending the money on a trip which could be fraught with all sorts of things could you afford to pay for them to come over here for a holiday?

I understand this was meant to be your trip of a lifetime but if it's merely to get to know your GD better they might be more relaxed if they see it as their holiday.

We went to visit my son and family in NZ 4 years ago and although they were pleased to see us and we got to meet our GC for the first time it wasn't really the trip of a lifetime. They had a 2 year old and 6 week old which was stressful in itself as well as my son running 3 jobs at the time. We weren't staying with them but had no car so they were coming to collect us (or his FIL was) and we didn't really see much other than their house or going out for breakfast. My husband went back a year later and did stay with them which was a disaster as they'd given up their bedroom for him and were both out a lot so he felt both in the way and unwanted.

There could be any number of reasons why your family are reluctant for you to visit but Nansnet has summed up the probable possibility quite well - they may simply feel they will be too busy to entertain you. Perhaps asking directly what they would prefer is the answer.

Hetty58 Mon 09-Sep-19 06:59:03

I don't enjoy having house guests. I can't relax and feel 'on duty' and exhausted so it's an ordeal rather than a pleasure. I just don't have the energy or patience in my old age. Even my grown up children know how I feel about it. A weekend is fine but any longer and they'll stay nearby so we can have trips out.

Calendargirl Mon 09-Sep-19 07:29:18

As other posters have said, it’s difficult visiting family overseas. My daughter and her family are in Australia, they both work full time, children at school and college. We went often when the children were small, every year , but things are different now they are older. We last saw them two years ago, for a couple of days at the end of a touring holiday with T...n Travel, which was nice. My DH is now saying when will we go again, but their current home is not large enough to accommodate us, so we would have to stay in a hotel, not a problem, but with work etc. I know it isn’t easy for them.

BlueBelle Mon 09-Sep-19 07:49:02

Oh don’t just turn up and yes do ask him in a kind non judgemental way why you cant visit explaining that you really just want a quiet time not entertaining but just to see them If you do have the money to incorporate it in another holiday all the better or invite them here

But one thing puzzles me you speak as if you have a loving relationship with your son and say you get on with the daughter in law(not sure how well you know her if they ve been gone ten years) so what I don’t understand haven’t you had news from them about their lives, jobs, up and downs even their home and photos even if only over internet over these ten years
My son went to NZ 22 years ago and I only get to see him and his family approx every 5 years but we talk for about 40 mins every Sunday morning and they tell me what’s happening over there what the kids are doing, when they first went out I used to get post with photos now it’s more likely pictures pinged over on the internet, if they moved they would tell me all about the house, the garden what the kids were up to etc their jobs and the children’s progress My son s not a great talker very factual in his conversations but my daughter in law bless her is chatty and gives the more emotional side of things So although I don’t see them I still feel a little bit involved I don’t get ANY of that from you post
Your post makes is sound as if you know nothing about their last ten years or about your granddaughter maybe it’s not like that and just the way it’s worded
I wish you luck, it’s a wobbly situation

sodapop Mon 09-Sep-19 08:18:18

Yes you need your son to be honest with you ganmaj and find out the cause for his reluctance. You will be investing a lot in this trip not just financially but emotionally and physically as well so it needs to be as well planned as possible. The idea of combining your visit to the family with another holiday is a good one.

DanniRae Mon 09-Sep-19 08:23:44

Hi ganmaj - If it was me I would write a letter to them explaining all you have told us. Make it clear that you are feeling a bit hurt because you can't understand why you shouldn't visit. A letter gives them time to sort out their reply and not feel under pressure. As has been said many times on here, you really have no clue what is going on in their lives.
I wish you lots of luck and hope you have a happy ending.
Danni x

Bbbface Mon 09-Sep-19 11:31:02

The wife doesn’t work
Presumably hardly knows you
And you’re imagining spending your days seeing and reading ie in her space

OP - they would rather you don’t come over. Listen to them. Do another “holiday of a lifetime”

Bbbface Mon 09-Sep-19 11:32:47

And why put your son on the spot?

He’s being fairly clear with you. Don’t come.

JulieMM Mon 09-Sep-19 11:36:41

Can you Skype your son while he’s likely to be on his own? A face to face conversation is often best and gives him the chance to speak openly with you. I think too that if you can arrange to stay nearby it would take any pressures off that a proposed visit might incur.
The very best of luck to you and a big hug x

whywhywhy Mon 09-Sep-19 11:37:27

I really feel for you. Don't just drop in or look at it as a holiday of a lifetime, it won't be. It will be tough. My son and family only live 20 miles away yet I have to book an appointment. If you speak to them on the phone and they are alive and well then that is what you will have to make do with. Sending you love and hugs. It's tough being a parent and grandparent. Xx

jaylucy Mon 09-Sep-19 11:38:37

I don't think it's that they don't want you to visit, it's more like he is concerned about how you would cope with the flight or maybe just not really aware how well or ill you actually are?
His comment that it's not how you think it is, may well be that he thinks, or you have been told certain things - maybe in the misunderstanding that you would be upset if you were told the truth or just that he thinks you may be mislead by what is in the media about Canada - mind you, apart from Mounties, I can't remember anything about that country!
I think you need to explain why you want to visit , maybe say that they won't have to entertain you all of the time- and in the meantime, build up contact with your GC by cards, emails, skype. Find out as much as you can about the area where they live as well - amazing what Google can tell you! Put the trip on the back burner for now, things may well change.

NotSpaghetti Mon 09-Sep-19 11:38:52

We gave both been visitors to family abroad and the ones visited.
Both ways it is exhausting.
AND if its whilst you/they are working it's even harder.
It took ages arranging to visit our family abroad and even then they had no holiday so were squashing us into an already busy schedule.

Do go (by arrangement only!!) but as others have said, it will NOT be the holiday of a lifetime.

NotSpaghetti Mon 09-Sep-19 11:39:50

Please come back ganmaj and tell us your thoughts.

Jishere Mon 09-Sep-19 11:42:58

I would say life is too short - if you feel you need to go then go.

The truth is you don't know why your son is saying the things he has said. Maybe because his concerned about your health, maybe his stressed about work and his home life and maybe what his saying about being a busy family is true and his concerned you will be left on your own. Maybe he is seeing it from a negative point of view that he will have to look after you and show you the sights as well as go to work etc,,.. especially if his stressed.

But he may get alot of positives from you visiting. Unless he directly says he don't want you to come - Go book your flight. I'm sure there be day tours you could do. Listen to your heart

sophie56 Mon 09-Sep-19 11:43:09

I don't think I have any advice because I haven't enough information.

If it is any comfort I have discovered that a large number of mothers with grown up sons in particular (of all ages) feel deeply hurt and rejected by them. I think many sons are so invested in their partners, jobs and children and sadly and painfully have little in common with their mother's anymore and no longer need them. My son works and lives in America and I generally only hear from him when he needs something. I am lucky to see him once a year for a day or two which I am sure is a duty call and he is clearly irritated by me. I am not able to travel (panic when enclosed). I would love to write a novel about this because it is a recurring theme that is not generally covered and I think we would all cope better if we were waned that this is actually not abnormal. We are not advised how to develop a new and totally different relationship with them that no longer entails mothering.

I would advise against going over unless you can go with a friend and stay somewhere independently, planning a holiday just for you. If you can meet up, that is a bonus but only if you can manage your expectations otherwise you might end up badly wounded.

I really feel for you and hope that you can find a way to resolve things or accept it if you can't and concentrate on looking after and nurturing yourself.

mrsnonsmoker Mon 09-Sep-19 11:45:49

OP when was the last time you saw your son? Have they ever been back here to visit you? I'm a bit surprised about everyone saying its stressful for them to host people, because I wonder how many more years you will be able to undertake travel like this and then that would leave you dependent on them coming over.

It seems to me to be important that you have an arrangement to visit together, even if its next year and even if you have to stay in a hotel. But first and foremost, you need to be upfront and tell him you are ready to hear whatever he has to say - make it easy for him to be truthful.