S. is quietly playing with the many toys she got for Christmas. Fortunately our luggage space is limited, because with the cost of toys being about 25% less here than in Australia, I was tempted to buy a whole lot more. I think I did go a little overboard, but at least the grandmas respected our wish to keep things small, flat, light and easily packable.
Our trip to my HP’s house was brief. D. was carsick and spent a good portion of the time overcoming nausea. There was a brief debate whether he should rest in my step-mother’s bed or in my step-brother’s room. This surprised me. My dad said, “but there’s too much stuff on your bed,” to which my step-mom replied she would just move it to the floor. I asked my dad why he was calling it her bed and he said that he now only sleeps in his chair. Equally surprising, my step-brother’s room was not overcrowded with things and completely usable. So why were we not allowed to stay?
D. was able to peek in at my former bedroom and declared it was full. I was only allowed to look at the newly renovated master bathroom (only the shower was redone and expanded), and to admire the new (badly needed) carpeting and linoleum in the house. Both parents admitted the renovations had been exhausting and they had only just got the furniture back into place for our visit. Moving a hoard to re-carpet is a lot of work.
More disturbing than the house, however, was their blatant disregard for our boundaries. They had offered to take our daughter over night while sending us to the hotel. (Wait, there’s room for her but not for us?) I told them she would likely be scared as she does not know them well and that, while I appreciated the offer, she would be staying with us. While she was busy playing with toys they had out, they started in on her, “S. wouldn’t you like to spend the night with grandma and grampa so you can keep playing with the toys?” “Yes,” she said. I looked at her and said, “but Mommy can’t stay here with you and you will be alone with grandma and grampa all night.” That was enough for her to almost cry. She was not staying there without us.
We went to dinner, spent the night in a comfortable hotel, and went back to see them for two hours in the morning. It was S’s fourth birthday and they were kind to ask me ahead of time if the chosen gifts were appropriate. I totally appreciate their thoughtful gifts since she was destined to spend the entire day in the car. It was also nice to see them. But they were clear: they don’t have time to see us. My father said in almost the same breath, “I just don’t like to travel any more,” and “We’re going to Arizona to visit your brother in March.” It would be nice to know my father if he could be honest with himself and say, “I don’t feel like visiting you” instead of whatever nonsense he comes up with.
And the most disturbing news… The reason my HP is too busy to see us? He’s become Santa Claus. Anyone need a hoarding Santa for your holiday event next year?