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AIBU

Not to want to suprise 90yr old for birthday.

(33 Posts)
CanadianGran Mon 06-Jan-20 20:24:32

My sister in law is planning a 90th birthday party for her mother, my MIL. All the grandchildren are invited, some from quite far away. It will be a family dinner, on a Friday night, and then on the Saturday we will have an open invite at a local hotel for friend and neighbours to drop in and have refreshments and cake.

My daughter and family are coming on the Wednesday morning flight and will stay a week. My daughter and husband are born and raised in this town, with plenty of friends and in-laws to visit.

My daughter does not want to surprise her grand-mother. She points out that she will have to stay under the radar for 2 and a half days without her GM finding out she is in town, and will miss spending those days with her GM.

My SIL is a very organized type A person. Every detail will be taken care of.

I tend to agree with my daughter; I would rather not surprise a 90 year old quite fragile woman. She will be thrilled that her grandchildren and great-gc are coming.
I do not want to upset all the planning of my SIL though! She is already very ticked off that one grandchild is not able to come.

Your thoughts?

Bridgeit Mon 06-Jan-20 20:30:25

Can Your daughter go to see her without letting on about the other plans.

eazybee Mon 06-Jan-20 20:36:08

Your sister in law has organised this for her mother; you have to abide by her plans. Once people start interfering with reorganising carefully thought out plans, trouble ensues.

DillytheGardener Mon 06-Jan-20 20:36:37

Canadiangran. I’m on the fence with what is best. Out of curiosity why is SIL not yourself or your brother not organising your mother’s 90th do?
It seems like perhaps between the lines you’re not a huge fan of SIL, so I’d try leave that at the door and focus solely on what your mother would want.
I just organised a birthday for my MIL in her 90’s, and I know she is a very anxious woman and wouldn’t like a surprise but tbh she was such a nightmare leading up to her birthday I think it would have been easier on her and me had it been a surprise.
If she is generally fairly lively for her age and social I would leave the surprise aspect in place, she will have such boasting rights afterwards with her friends and acquaintances.

MawB Mon 06-Jan-20 20:40:07

It’s Canadiangrans MIL not her mother.

welbeck Mon 06-Jan-20 20:40:55

whose benefit is this event really for.
the aged GM, or to stroke the ego of the go-getter type A person?
90 yr olds should not be surprised, it may be too much for her. it can be difficult for a younger, highly organised person to put themselves into the position of someone who is less powerful, due to age.
your D sounds more in touch with GMs real needs and wishes. she should do what she deems best for GM.
could she tip her off quietly, GM, so she is prepared, not overwhelmed by all these people suddenly appearing, however much she values family.
would GM be able to not let Type A know than she has been fore-warned. does your D have GMs confidence.
good luck.

cornergran Mon 06-Jan-20 20:47:07

This is a difficult one. I personally detest any sort of surprise party so my instinct is to say the surprise element is a bad idea. But, and it’s a big but, your sister in law has been asked/allowed to arrange a celebration. It would be disrespectful to simply override her plans so on balance I think the surprise element needs to remain.

Could you speak to your sister in law about your daughter and ask how she would feel if your daughter visited her grandmother as part of a ‘normal’ visit and under strict instruction not to let the party cat out of the bag? Otherwise it sounds as if your daughter has plenty to occupy her before the party. Whatever the decision I hope the birthday celebrations go well.

Hetty58 Mon 06-Jan-20 20:51:41

If I were the 90 year old, I'd soon need a lie down in a quiet place!

BlueBelle Mon 06-Jan-20 20:55:06

I m not a surprise person either but it’s not your party it’s been arranged by your sister in law so you must abide by what she wants and feels is right i d be well pipped off if I d organised something and someone broke ranks and gave it away
We did a party for my dads 90th it wasn’t a surprise but it was a surprised that his youngest granddaughter and three children travelled over and he was delighted surprised and thrilled He loved the party and was the star of the show
It was funny as we invited a few friends from the day centre he went to their children brought them with their walkers and wheelchairs and asked what time they should pick them up
Talk about role reversal

CanadianGran Mon 06-Jan-20 22:18:02

Thank you for the replies; I see some of you have mixed feelings as well! I know my MIL will be thrilled to see all of her family, but if were up to me it would not be a surprise, or the family could surprise her as they came to town individually, instead of bombarding her all at once in the restaurant!

I am involved in the planning as well and will speak with my SIL tonight. My daughter tends to run in the same vein as her aunt, and be a planner; it is stressing her out to think she has to sneak around our small town for two days so she can surprise Grandma. When she is in town she usually drops in every morning for coffee with GM, so she will miss out on 2 days, which bothers her.

My daughter did not realize her visit was supposed to be a surprise when she booked her tickets. I think in the long run I will tell daughter to just go along with the surprise. She can visit with friends and her in-laws for the two days before the party.

rosenoir Mon 06-Jan-20 22:25:50

I think your daughter should spend time with her grandmother,it will be lovely for them both to have time together without everyone else and the business of the party.

notanan2 Mon 06-Jan-20 22:27:31

Your SIL is throwing herself a party and using your MIL as an excuse.

You do not need to be a part of it, but if you do, you do need to abide by the invitation, even if that is that its a surprise

notanan2 Mon 06-Jan-20 22:29:20

The days leading up to the party are none of the SILs business. Your daughter can of course arrange to see your MIL that is none of your SILs business

Cabbie21 Mon 06-Jan-20 22:55:27

It is not clear exactly which day the birthday is, but surely the MiL will be expecting some sort of celebration to be organised so it won’t exactly come as a surprise to her.
I can’t see why your daughter should not see her GM as soon as she likes. Better for the lady to be able to greet people in drugs and drabs than be overwhelmed by large numbers.

DillytheGardener Mon 06-Jan-20 23:00:17

Thank you for alerting me to my error Mawb I’m dyslexic and read her post too quickly. It’s an awkward situation all round. I love surprise parties but I’m thinking if I were in my 90’s I probably would rather be involved the in planning of my 90th celebrations. It could lead to a falling out though between yourself and sister in law so as others have said best to keep the peace or leave DH to deal with her directly. I feel thankful when I read others stories on this site considering how quickly family members fall out these days.

MawB Mon 06-Jan-20 23:07:29

Cabbie I sincerely hope drugs and drabs won’t be featuring!

CanadianGran Mon 06-Jan-20 23:37:16

No worries about anyone falling out or being too upset. My SIL is a lovely giving person, and manages everything to the last detail. People tend to go along with her since she takes care of every detail; it's easier to go with the flow.

I will put out feelers tonight, since we planned to discuss the party. Will also discuss with husband and daughter.

rosecarmel Mon 06-Jan-20 23:47:26

CanadianGran, we faced a similar situation last summer when my mother was turning 100- I agree with you and your daughter-

Your sister in law is using the event to grandstand and control an event that would be much more enjoyable if kept simple, about family and truly about sharing quality time with the birthday girl-

It all began with me planning a visit with my adult children to spend time with their grandmother- My sister hijacked the visit and turned it into a 3 ring circus- We never did get to spend the quality time with my mother that we would have liked to-

Your daughter should not have to hide from someone she cherishes ..

DillytheGardener Mon 06-Jan-20 23:47:40

Drugs and drabs grin glad it’s not just me making textual errors

rosecarmel Tue 07-Jan-20 00:10:01

My children made their arrangements to take time from work, rearrange schedules and secure childcare, reserve the hotel and travel 16 hours, all of this without any knowledge of a party ... So I totally get where your daughter is coming from, that she had no knowledge in advance that her time with her grandmother would be restricted .. It's truly ridiculous ..

gmarie Tue 07-Jan-20 00:15:21

My grandma loved planning her own parties. She even went shopping for five new outfits to pick from and wear on special occasions! smile She always wanted to present herself in the best light, was thrilled to be the center of the celebration, and would have been upset if she didn't get a chance to look her best. This is her and me on her 102nd birthday, wearing the red suit she picked out. She was planning her next b-day when she died a few months before she could turn 103. flowers

rosecarmel Tue 07-Jan-20 01:08:52

Thank you for sharing that beautiful story and image gmarie ... She sounded fun, full of life and lovely .. flowers

SparklyGrandma Tue 07-Jan-20 01:32:40

If it was my DGM (grandmother) I agree with you DD, I would visit her after arriving and tell her on the quiet so she is not shocked by the surprise, but ask her not to let on that she knows?

Good luck with it all CanadianGran and Happy 90th to your MiL when it comes 🌸🎉

gmarie Tue 07-Jan-20 05:36:41

Thank you, rosecarmel. She's been gone since 2006 and I still miss her. She had books started in every room, set out to learn something new each year (using a computer, playing chess, painting, etc.) and outlived all three of her children. We once had a "slumber party" on her hospital bed and we whispered and giggled like girls. Oh, gosh. Such memories. Apologies. Got a little sidetracked on the thread. Hope all works out for your MiL, CanadianGran flowers

sunseeker Tue 07-Jan-20 09:19:23

I visited my mother in Australia for her 90th birthday. I discussed with my brother whether we should keep my visit secret but he said she would get a lot of enjoyment anticipating my arrival (and boasting to others that I was travelling from UK to visit her!).

If your s-i-l is adamant that her mother isn't told about the party then as others have suggested perhaps your daughter could visit her grandmother and just not mention the party