Let's face it - we are ALL busy. I would like to meet someone who is NOT busy. Over the years, though, I have discovered there is a difference of being busy, being out of control and using the "busy" excuse to the point of abuse.
We have family members who can't/don't come to anything because they're "too busy." And I don't mean they use this excuse occasionally. I mean in almost 15 years of marriage they have been to our house twice. Count them. TWO times. Once in 1999 and then last year for Thanksgiving. Every time, the excuse has been "we're too busy." I honestly have not EVER heard another reason why they don't come to something. At least not the times they bother to even respond to our invite. These are not lame invites to baseball games, school play type of stuff. We are talking major holidays and baptisms. And these are not distant family members. This is a sibling of my husband. They only live five hours from our house. The other sibling has been to our house once. And that was to visit from London with her now husband. They are now living in the states for the last eight or so years and have not been to our house ONCE. Count it. Not one time. And the kicker? As a family, we have NEVER been invited to their homes. Count it. NEVER. NADA. ZILCH. ZERO. (I did visit my SIL and her family once right after Motorcycle Guy and I got married in 1994 and we did go to London a couple of times to visit and vacation.) My oldest SIL did not even invite us to the high school graduation party when her oldest son graduated from HS. I went off on my FIL like he, I am sure, has never seen a woman go off, when I found out not only were we not invited, but she was not inviting us because "we were probably too busy to attend." WTF. I am not capable of deciding what I can attend and can't? We did visit her town, back in 2001, when my in-laws paid for a hotel room for a long weekend for all the family members to celebrate the older sister's 40th birthday. The next year my husband turned 40 and we had a party. You guessed it. The siblings were too busy to come. After all, my oldest SIL does have three kids. Oh, and she works. So she's really busy. Hello? How many kids do I have? And yes, we are busy. The difference is, our schedule does not control us. We can be flexible for important events and big holidays. We don't have a problem telling our kids that our family is more of a priority than sports or other activities and they are just going to have to miss (fill in the blank with practice/game, meeting, party, etc.). I guess not everyone has that priority.
And so I can't be accused of playing favorites, let me give fair mention to my family. We lived in the Kansas City area for three years. My brother and his family visited how many times? You guessed it. NONE. ZERO. NADA. ZILCH. I realize 600 miles is a long way. But it IS only a 10 hour drive and I think it would have been nice if they could have visited just once. I don't think that is too much to ask. I have to say, though, they're really busy with all of the kids activities. They do have three kids, after all. Funny though, they are able to carve out 1-2 weeks every summer to go on vacation with my SIL's entire family - siblings, parents, nieces/nephews. And when my SIL's sister moved to Atlanta? They were there visiting within just a few weeks of her move.
It's hard not to take offense to all of this. Are we really terrible hosts and guests? We might be, but no one would know because they don't visit and they don't invite us. I am living close to my family now that we are back in Ohio and my brother and his wife are frequently inviting us to get togethers, b-day dinners for the kids, etc. Sometimes we just can't make it. Paybacks are hell. Really, we could make it, but after the three years of being shunned because we lived 600 miles away, I am not inclined to change my schedule to match theirs.
I guess all of this has popped up because of the impending holidays. This year we are hosting Thanksgiving for my family. There will be many family members here, including my brother and his family. I guess it is obvious to us they don't mind visiting as long as it's not too much of an inconvenience to travel to our house. We are worthy of a 30 minute drive, but a ten hour drive? No way in hell.
We are also having Christmas with my in-law family at our house starting the day after Christmas. Both SIL's will be here and one of the SIL's husband and kids. My other BIL is not coming due to work. Of course, as my husband said regarding his older sister, until they show up on the doorstep, we really won't know for sure if they are coming.