My husband has two siblings, both of whom are in the entertainment business. His younger sister works as a new producer out in CA and his brother waits tables and works in musical theater. (He also has his own web show, Vash and Justin, where he and a friend review movies.) Over the years, his brother has worked for Disney, both in the theme parks and on the cruise line.
When George was an infant, my brother-in-law had a fairly decent stint on a Disney cruise ship. As such, he received discounts that he could pass onto friends and family. My sister-in-law and my in-laws took advantage of these discounts and were able to go on the cruises.
This was 2009, so Joe was about five, Camille three and George was a baby. We had just had a NICU baby and gone through a six month long house selling and buying process. Needless to say, I was stressed beyond belief. I had very little help with anything, from a baby who couldn't go out in crowds to keeping the house perfect for prospective buyers to keeping the children entertained when we had to leave at a moments notice. My husband was always harping on how expensive the move was or was going to be. Many days, I drove around crying as my baby screamed in the back seat as I had no where to go, no money to take them to a play area, it was often snowing and I was exhausted.
When we moved, things finally calmed down and I told my husband I really, really, REALLY needed a vacation that did NOT involve going to see his grandparents. I adore them but the kids were young and active and it was hard to keep them contained. I just needed to get away, to relax, somewhere, anywhere. BIL encouraged me to look into the discounts he received on the ship and I did. Together, we got the cost down very low and I even worked out a travel plan that would make getting to the site cheap.
My husband said no.
In the end, it was fine because we would have been there in October, when I would have been three months pregnant. For me, I was sure morning sickness and a giant ship wouldn't mix.
I sound like I handled it well but I didn't. I still don't. I was pissed. I needed a break. In the years that followed, I needed a break too but never got one. In fact, it hasn't been until I began coaching again that I feel like I've gotten a bit of a break. How ironic or sad is it that WORK is my break from STRESS?
(I love what I do, though, so don't feel too bad on that account.)
I used to make excuses to everyone, myself included if I am honest, as to why we didn't do anything other than go visit his grandparents. I used to make excuses as to why the "trip" he wanted to take was a week long but a family reunion for me was three days, most of it driving. This past year, I decided to be done with excuses. I no longer kept our summer open in the hopes that we might visit my parents or people might visit us. On the advice of one of our kids' therapists, I enrolled them in camps and fun things to do. It was probably the happiest summer I have had as a parent.
This year, I've been asked how my summer vacation schedule works with coaching. My response was, "I'll take all the hours you can give me!" I've started putting the kids in camps and swim team. My boys are doing baseball. If I can't have the family vacation I dream of, we might as well have fun at home. And when people ask me why we don't travel, I don't give them the half truths of "we can't afford it" or "we're busy." I give them a snarky version of the truth: My husband is allergic to vacations or traveling.
It's the truth because what is holding us- him- back isn't our children's ages or money or anything. He refuses to save for a trip. He says I only want to take them to Disney (not true) and he hates Disney (true). He says it is too expensive and makes up the amount of money it will cost in his head. No amount of logic or anything will convince him that no, family trips can be done for much cheaper.
The other week we used a free night in a hotel for a mini-staycation for his birthday. His brother called him to say hello and told my husband that he, BIL, had auditioned for another job on a Disney cruise ship. We are, of course, happy and hopeful that he is offered the job.
He said, "I get discounts, you know. You should bring the kids."
I snorted. "I know. Trust me, I know. It's not me you have to convince. Talk to your brother. He does not vacation."
My husband talked to his brother and, after they hung up, he said, "We should do that."
I choked. "Whatever."
"It only costs XYZ dollars."
I pointed out that it cost that much five years ago and he refused to go then. I reminded him that it would a Disney cruise and he hates Disney. There would be small children there, etc. He finally said, "Unless something else comes up, we should save for it."
I've heard this before. Something always comes up. Someone always needs therapy or new shoes or the house needs to be repaired. (Currently, it needs to be washed and painted.) He'll find an excuse to not take the kids out of school, even if they only miss a day or two, even if it will only get harder to take them out in the coming years.
I am actually refusing to discuss this with him. (To be fair, I also won't discuss our annual trip to visit his grandparents since he is not entertaining the idea of me going to a wedding.) Why? I know it won't happen. I'm toying with the idea of taking the kids to visit some friends. While I don't relish the idea of taking them alone and I really, really want a vacation with just the six of us, this is the hand I've have to deal with. I want to experience things with my kids and I'll have to do it on my own, while my husband stays behind.
And hey, if I have to stay in the midwest and be envious of other peoples vacation pictures, I might as well do it while I'm hanging out on a deck, working.