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Grandparenting

flight booked and going to see my grandkids for Christmas

(73 Posts)
Brownsgirl Tue 30-Oct-18 23:10:05

I am 63 divorced with one son. I live in the UK , my son is married with 2 kids with a third due week before Christmas. They live in Canada. I had planned to spend Christmas there this year even before I knew of baby . My flight is booked and I am going but I am not comfortable. My son told me ages ago I can’t stay with them whole time. Too much “stress” . I plan on staying Air b n B near them but can not confirm with them for how long . My son is totally stressed out from work and works crazy hours as a chef. I try FaceTiming them and he will not talk . They are also renovating their home. My grandkids 6 and 7 make faces at me and tell me I am interrupting them on YouTube and my daughter in law doesn’t say Hi . I do chat through messenger or Instagram with her often but just short texts . I feel I am an inconvience to them and feel I have made a huge mistake by pushing to come for Christmas. I know they will all be different when I am there ...they always are and I love visiting but this is different than normal. Any ideas to help ?

pensionpat Tue 30-Oct-18 23:50:02

Don’t overthink it. Relax and don’t expect a perfect Christmas as depicted in adverts. It will be lovely to see them, but not more than they need.

notnecessarilywiser Wed 31-Oct-18 07:59:51

The way I see it they've got an awful lot on their plates this Christmas - the youngsters, the renovations and the imminent arrival of the baby. Your arrival could be seen as a godsend or the last straw to them!

If the rules of your air ticket permit changes of date, I'd suggest an email to your son outlining two options :

1) You make the trip at Christmas and will undertake as much of the childcare, shopping, cooking as you possibly can to ease things for him and his wife. This may well involve you needing a car.

2) You will reschedule your trip for a future date so that they have less to contend with at Christmas.

Make it clear that you want him to make whatever choice makes life easier for them, and if they choose 1) be prepared for an exhausting visit!

EllanVannin Wed 31-Oct-18 08:04:01

If that was me I'd feel a bit uneasy about going. The family seem to have a lot on and rather than them having Christmas in their own way they'll feel obliged and more under pressure because you'll be joining them. Personally I'd be giving it a miss as it's a long way to go to feel uncomfortable. Try for another time when things are more settled.

travelsafar Wed 31-Oct-18 08:10:27

I certainly wouldn't go in light of all you have detailed!!!

Wildrose24 Wed 31-Oct-18 08:20:16

Your son and daughter in law are stressed by everything and probably see Christmas as an even bigger stress coupled with the arrival of a new baby.I would still go be as helpful as possible,confirm as soon as possible how long you are able to stay in the b and b.If you are confident driving over there a car would be useful to take the older children out and about.Make it clear you are there to help and alleviate stress.Your son may welcome the opportunity to offload some of his stress.How do daughter in laws family fit in to the equation will they be around as well.

seasider Wed 31-Oct-18 08:25:36

I would just book some accommodation nearby and visit in the daytime. You may be a great help amusing the older children and helping with cooking etc. I would just play it by ear when you get there. The bonus is that you get to meet your new grandchild. They sound pretty busy getting ready so probably not much time to message. My GC are often busy with their "games"
Go and have a good time.

sodapop Wed 31-Oct-18 08:38:18

I agree with seasider your family seem to have a lot going on at the moment, stay somewhere nearby if possible then you can help during the day. pensionpat is right, don't expect too much, Christmas is rarely picture perfect especially with work, visitors etc.
Hope things go well for you.

starbird Wed 31-Oct-18 09:29:37

I would cancel if possible. With a new baby which might be late and even arrive Christmas day, they would probably not do Christmas at all. Perhaps you could go at Easter?

GrandmaKT Wed 31-Oct-18 09:39:49

I wouldn't cancel. As others have said, there is a lot going on and I'm sure you could be really helpful. You should make it clear that you are there to help and make sure you aren't adding to the stress. Ask for specific areas they would like help in - looking after older GC, cooking, cleaning etc.
We have a son in NZ and he and his partner are expecting their 1st baby in March. We will be there (at their invitation). I am aware that we don't want to be in the way and will need to allow them time on their own, or for his partner's family to visit etc. So, what I am going to do is research places to go nearby and then we will just play it by ear and book b&bs a few days in advance according to the situation.

Sandigold Wed 31-Oct-18 09:40:20

Just listen to your gut. You mentioned that you "pushed" to go. It is hard when it is your only child but they seem to be giving you pretty clear messages! If they don't have time or energy even to speak with you what would being there be like? I'm sure you could plan some other way of spending Christmas that would be enjoyable. Heads and brick walls come to mind.

Coconut Wed 31-Oct-18 09:46:40

Sounds difficult for you .....Go, but give them the opportunity in advance to schedule visiting, and ask if you can help with childcare, cooking etc Once they know there is no pressure to entertain you they may relax a little. Make sure you have sightseeing etc planned for if/when you have free time. Dependant on how this visit goes, will help you decide future plans. Good luck.

sweetcakes Wed 31-Oct-18 09:52:31

I wouldn't go, if you can why not change your flight for the spring.
The baby will be about 5mts old you will at least be able to get out the house (hopefully no snow) and your son as a chef will be even more stressed as it's Christmas and a baby coming!! Why do you want to put yourself through that! Good luck and I hope you have a nice Christmas what ever you decide 👍

kwest Wed 31-Oct-18 09:59:09

I would cancel, explain to them that you sense it is just not convenient for them to have you there this year.
Make it clear that you love them all very much and would prefer to give them their 'space' this year to enjoy their own family Christmas
. Ask them to wait until things feel more settled and then, if they would like you to visit, suggest some dates that will be convenient to all of you.
You may have to lose your flight money, but you will have achieved a level of personal growth and independence, albeit in an initially uncomfortable manner. My mother used to say to me " Always keep a little bit of yourself back that no one else knows. If no-one totally knows you they can never totally hurt you." My mother's father left his family in Ireland when my mother (the eldest of six children) was nine years old. He went to America and never came back. My mother never spoke of him and it was other family members that told me what happened.
I come from a line of very strong women and I have passed on my mother's advice to my daughter and my grandaughters.

luluaugust Wed 31-Oct-18 10:01:41

I think I would go but get your accommodation there sorted out now and let them know, also tell them you are expecting to help out a lot, maybe even cooking whatever Christmas meal they have, filling stockings etc. It would be good if you could be looked on as an extra pair of hands, leaving your DIL to care for the new baby. You will probably find yourself looking at a lot of very silly things on YouTube, as we do.

David1968 Wed 31-Oct-18 10:32:42

As someone who has an only son (and family) overseas, I agree with Seasider and Grandma KT. Book yourself some comfortable accommodation nearby. (I'm assuming you can afford this?) And rent yourself a car, if this is possible. This will give you complete independence, alongside the scope to be as supportive as needed.

GabriellaG Wed 31-Oct-18 10:38:35

Christmas = happy times?
No, not always. That's the rosy picture, families round the fireside, good food, smiles, bonhommie, everything running lkke clockwork BUT, behind the smiles there is exasperation, cracks appear and, in the kitchen, muttered words are heard between husband and wife.
The most stressful time of year, you are already feeling apprehensive and uncomfortable.
Why are you then still inisting on visit with all the extra stresses you listed, new baby, renovations....?
My advice?
Go in the spring or wait for an invitation.

Buffybee Wed 31-Oct-18 10:51:36

I would definitely cancel and reschedule for another time when things are more settled for them.
From what you've said in your post, it's obvious that they are very stressed out with the renovations, his demanding job as a Chef, which by the way Christmas and New Year will be the busiest time of the year for him and a baby due as well.
Also, it does seem to me that you decided yourself that you would be going for Christmas, did you ask them if this was ok?

MawBroon Wed 31-Oct-18 11:01:08

Great advice from kwest
I did wonder from the OP whether you had discussed your Christmas plans with the family before you booked or if it was just your plan?
Nobody likes to think of being less than welcome , that is so hurtful, but the advice to “hold back” a bit is good.
They may protest and want you to come anyway or breathe a sigh of relief and be happier to see you at a time of their choosing. Sadly, I fear our children rarely love us as much as we love them which may be as it should be. But if we as parents push forward, the only way they can move is back.
The French have a saying
“Il y a toujours un qui baise et l’autre qui tend la joue”

mabon1 Wed 31-Oct-18 11:02:36

See if you can cancel the flights, I wouldn't go as clearly you will not be welcome.

sarahellenwhitney Wed 31-Oct-18 11:08:14

Brownsgirl Don't go is my advice .It is clear they have enough on their 'plate' and feel you will be doing them a favour by saying you understand Xmas is going to be a very busy and possibly stressful time for them Why subject yourself to what appears to becoming a less than festive event.

JanaNana Wed 31-Oct-18 11:11:51

See if you can either cancel the flights or rearrange to go some other time. It seems your family already have enough on their plates even without the added stresses of Christmas to consider.

Kerenhappuch Wed 31-Oct-18 11:13:33

My gut reaction is postpone till after the baby arrives. If someone told me it was too much stress having me to stay, I wouldn't want to go at all. Christmas is a stressy time anyway, particularly for a chef. Have Christmas your own way at home, and visit when they have less to deal with.

Having said that, you know them better than we do, so it's your call in the end.

grannytotwins Wed 31-Oct-18 11:21:36

If it were my son, I would ask him, even if it’s by text. Would it be better if I postpone my visit until the Spring or would you prefer me to stay in a B&B at Christmas and help with shopping, cooking and looking after the children? Then you know exactly where you stand.

MacCavity2 Wed 31-Oct-18 11:22:05

Thank you MawBroon your words hit home with me. “I fear our children rarely love us as much as we love them which may be as it should be”. Wise words as usual.