To have said yes. I love my nieces and nephews- all 13 and 1/9th of them (yes there is a new one on the way- not surprising with the 13 brother and sister in laws I have plus 2 brothers, 2 step-brothers, and a step sister)- love them dearly and I really enjoy spending time with them as long as I can set my limits and have a place to escape when their parent’s parenting differs enough from my own philosophies that I need a break. So when my step-mom called me to ask if we could take two of my nieces with us on our whirlwind trip to Michigan tomorrow (5 days round trip- driving all day tomorrow to get there, driving all day Sunday to get home with no possibility of extending my trip because my husband wanted me to take someone along… and someone turned into 4 but I’m not frustrated at all… not about being forced to relive my worst memories from childhood- the cramped sweaty uncomfortable drives with 7 of us in whatever car we were driving that summer, not about feeling obligated to either take it slow or drive straight through- no choices about where and when I want to stop to take pictures or a break or keep moving because no one can coordinate pee breaks) GAAAHHHHH
Where was I? Oh yes… I was saying something in my brain that has been well trained to be polite, always say yes, never argue with my parents, etc. said yes when she asked if we could take them along. And the moment I hung up the phone I started cursing my inability to deal with the issues from my past (and the countless ridiculous guilt trips from childhood) that make it impossible to tell that woman no, no matter how much I want to.
I should have called her back and told her I’d had a momentary lapse of sanity, or that my evil twin had answered the phone, maybe a different personality? but I didn’t. I did tell my dad the next day that I had reconsidered my initial answer and asked him to see if he could talk her out of it (since he never let me fight back as a kid, that was also a knee-jerk reaction and I’m going to have to stop that too) but it was to no avail.
So tomorrow I’m setting out unpleasantly early to make the 800 mile drive to Michigan with 4 other people in my tiny Hyundai Santa Fe. The A/C is fixed, but not the strongest so people are going to be uncomfortable. It seats 5 but my nieces don’t get along so well so one of the adults will be riding in the back, most likely between them. It won’t be me because I will be driving. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. Its my car after all and my trip, despite the fact that my vacation has been taken over by everyone else and I can barely recognize in it my fun plan to surprise my grampa for his 90th birthday with his only out of state granddaughter and his younger son in tow. I’m trying desperately to put a positive spin on this and that involves this verbal outpouring- I need to get all the angry out now so I can leave tomorrow at peace.
I’m planning on mapping out a couple of stops that can be quick, but hopefully get some energy out- I remember the agony of being stuck too close together for way to long and the rest stops never seemed long enough. The girls will both have portable DVD players and I have almost 14 hours worth of music burned to CD’s for my own amusement. My phone has GPS and I bought an atlas, plus I have Google Maps on my phone as well. I should be set for directions, redirections, and any summer traffic we might encounter. I’m just not ready for the arguments that are sure to happen between the girls. I don’t have kids of my own yet and I don’t like the way a lot of parent’s raise their kids to be rude, spoiled brats (says the children’s photographer). I can handle short periods of togetherness in large areas where they can run around, but in a car for 10-16 hours? not so much. (and I’m not calling my nieces rude spoiled brats btw- I just don’t like most kids these days in general or at least today I don’t *sigh*)