When “family vacation” doesn’t include you

This weekend looked so promising of being relaxing, but of course that was never meant to be. I woke up to a group message from my dad about wanting to take us on vacation. Seems nice right? Well it never is. The first thing that caught my eye was that my middle brother was left out of the conversation. Perhaps he had talked to him separately about the trip but it doesn’t matter. Just the fact that he wasn’t included in the group message brought back painful memories of being left out. My middle brother is currently living out-of-state, just as I was a couple of years ago. When living out-of-state it’s true that we often can’t make certain events, however, that doesn’t mean we want to be left out of family plans. Seeing that my brother had been left out hurt me on a very deep level and sent me back 5 years ago to when this happened to me.

“What family vacation?”

Five years ago, my husband and I had flown home and were staying at my parents house. One night we all drove together to my middle brother’s house for dinner and games. It was a fun and lighthearted evening. As we were saying our goodbyes it happened. I can still remember the incident perfectly, even where everyone was standing as my brother spoke. “Are you guys coming on the family vacation?” my brother innocently asked. I looked toward my parents, their heads down avoiding eye contact, then back at my brother. It was probably only a second but I could feel the silence. “What family vacation?” I asked. My brother’s smile faded as he looked toward my parents who continued to stand in silence. My brother replies with never mind. Apparently the vacation was only a few short weeks away and had been planned for months.

“Are you really not going to say anything?!”

The drive home with my parents felt like pure torture. I waited in silence to let them explain, but no words were spoken. Half way through the 20 minute drive home, I couldn’t take it anymore. No apology, no “I meant to tell you”, nothing. I finally shouted out in anger “Are you really not going to say anything?!” My dad explains he never had the chance to tell me, which was a complete lie since he had been calling me daily for the last month or so “just to say hi.” My mom on the other hand explained that it was my dad’s Father’s Day trip so he should have been the one to invite me. Either way it didn’t matter, no words at that time could have made me feel better. I’ve never really felt like a part of my family but this really took the cake. This time it felt as if they were acknowledging how I felt, as if now that I had moved away they could finally have the family they had always wanted. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more hurt in my life. To this day I continue to feel hurt and bitter around Father’s Day. My family continues to plan a Father’s Day trip every year and always make a big point to let me know I’m included, but really what’s the point. As I have told them, I will never go on a Father’s day trip with them ever again.

See I told you it was a bad idea

I know this new trip isn’t for Father’s Day, and maybe my brother knows about the trip, but it was the first red flag for me. The thing is, everything about this new trip invitation struck me as a potential issue. The invitation itself was rude and the timeline was unrealistic. The “invitation” was more of a, look at this wonderful thing we’re doing for you, you’re welcome and we’ll see you there. There really wasn’t much of a question involved. Plus, when I said we’d have to think about it, I was told they would need to know by the next day. It’s a three day weekend and you’re wanting us to let you know the next day if we’re able to take two days off work to come on this trip. That’s not really how this works. As if that wasn’t enough, there was also the second major red flag. I had asked in the group message if dogs were allowed/invited on the trip. I didn’t want to be rude and assume, especially with my young nieces being on the trip, but I also needed to know because we’d have to hire someone to care for them if they couldn’t come. I found it very concerning that after asking this question about the dogs, I then received a separate private message from my dad letting me know he’d ask my oldest brother if they were okay with the dogs being there around the kids. Okay… well why doesn’t my brother just respond in the group message if he has concerns. The kids were the reason why I was asking in the first place, I wanted everyone to be comfortable and have a good trip without having to be worried about our dogs around their kids. I eventually received another separate message from my dad saying it’d be fine with my brother if the dogs came. The problem is it made it seem as if it was a big deal that I even asked. A question that required secret conversations which I wasn’t allowed to be a part of. Now if something was to happen because of the dogs I would worry that it would turn into a “see I told you it was a bad idea” type of a situation.

… they will all blame you

The fact of the matter is, we shouldn’t be going on this trip because it would only be stressful instead of a fun vacation. It’s just hard for me to come to terms with this because I desperately want that fun family where we all vacation and play games together. One where I can run around with my niece and play in the snow. But I need to just accept that I’m never going to have that. There is just too much hurt and blame. Part of me thinks I’m being too worried and I should just go and have fun. Then the other part of me says, yes but if things go bad, they go really bad and they will all blame you. I just hate that a simple invitation of a family vacation, something most people would love or desire, can ruin my whole weekend. I just don’t know how to let go. I know we’re not going on this trip but I can’t help but daydream of the family I’ve always wanted. The one that they become when I’m out of the picture.


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