Birthdays, and Telling Family “No.”

The Narrator turns 6 on Monday. (Woah) We are planning on doing something nice for him this weekend and maybe having a party for his school friends and family in a week or so on an open weekend when the weather is a bit nicer. This weekend though, we are planning on taking it pretty easy.

In addition to tomorrow being my only day off for the week, it is my birthday, and per my request, we are doing as little as possible. It was a long work week and I need my down time.

Sunday I have to work in the morning, but I’ll be home around dinner time and we’ll probably celebrate The Narrator’s birthday then, since on his ACTUAL birthday on Monday, I’ll see him for a total of less than two hours between his school and my work schedule.
I tallied up some numbers the other day, and it turns out that I get to spend a little less than 29 hours a week with him- that is when we’re both home and awake- so the time I DO get with him is very precious and special, and on his birthday weekend, I want it to be exactly that.

Cue my in-laws.

My mother-in-law tried to invite herself up this weekend. They “Wanted to see The Narrator for his birthday.” They knew mine was Saturday and that we ‘probably have plans’ (we don’t, but still) so they wanted to come up Sunday.

Now, I understand that they would like to see him for his birthday, but she deliberately picked the day that I WOULDN’T be home to come up and see him, thus being the first people to celebrate his birthday with him- before even I can.

In a rare move, I rejected their plan to come up. My wife agrees- with the limited amount of time we all have together, the initial birthday needs to be an intimate affair. The idea that someone else would get to do it while daddy isn’t here….just is a lousy message and makes me feel like shit to think that anyone would even think that is a good idea.

“Hey, we know you won’t be there to celebrate your son’s birthday, do you mind if we do it?”

I didn’t wait for my wife to call her parents and tell them no. I did it myself.

I adore my in-laws. They’re wonderful people. But my mother-in-law in particular, has a tendency to think that since they’re an hour and a half away and my family is 7 miles away, that she’s being cheated out of spending time with her grandchildren, yet my side of the family gets the pleasure of seeing them all the time. This simply isn’t true- even MY family isn’t seeing us this weekend. I’m opting for a quiet Saturday with my wife and the boys, and Sunday after work will be when we celebrate our oldest son’s birthday, without hosting anything or worrying about anything other than ‘us.’

Honestly, adapting to my new work schedule hasn’t been all that difficult for ME, but it has been for our extended family. Working on Sundays means that our periodic visits are shortened. Adding my shifts to The Narrator’s school schedule, and we simply don’t have the time to accommodate everyone’s desires to see the kids.

But not once has anyone bothered to think for a moment that even I don’t get to spend time with my son that often and that the free time I DO have with him- I’d like to spend it trying to be a father instead of a host.

So I’ve managed to upset people in the extended family by cutting off access to us this weekend while we celebrate a few birthdays quietly and intimately.

….and I’m perfectly okay with that.


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