We received the wedding invitation months ago and I RSVPed almost immediately. Of course, we would be there. We love this couple. Besides, once you are no longer a DINK (Doublel Income, No Kids), you begin to see weddings as dinner and dancing on someone else’s dime. Sure, you have to buy a gift and hire a sitter, but it’s still like having a date-night pre-arranged for you.
Then a few weeks before the wedding, I came to realize that we would have no granny-care for that afternoon and evening. I sent a message to the lovely couple telling them that we wouldn’t be there. It hurt. I was disappointed. Momentarily, I felt devastated. I whined, “But I never get to do anything fun!”
Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about all we are missing by taking on the role of MIL’s care-givers, and I’m okay with it—at least in this moment. I could easily get wrapped up in the self-pity of how we never get to go anywhere or do anything fun, but I won’t stay in that very juvenile mindset. I’m not thirteen. I’m just going to accept that we are very temporarily in a place in which we have to turn down invitations. It’s the sort of thing that happens periodically throughout one’s life and for different reasons.
Just this week, I spoke with my cousin. I asked if she had been able to travel home for her niece’s high school graduation. She said she couldn’t. She doesn’t have much vacation time saved and so she had to choose—graduation ceremony now or taking the graduate on a real vacation later this summer.
A friend who is the latter stage of a high risk pregnancy was disappointed that she couldn’t make it to her class reunion this summer. “I know the bed rest will be worth it once the baby is here, but until then, I’m bummed about missing out on everything.”
Another friend has his leg in a cast and so he has missed out on his beloved recreational softball season.
See? I’m not the only one.
Alas, not getting to do everything we want is just a part of life, and I’d have to be pretty immature not to see that. It’s good to just feel that calm and acceptance and to acknowledge that it’s a temporary state. At various points in life, you just have more freedom than you do in others.
Besides that, we do have fun. We do get out. Although it is a lot of extra work, we have been taking MIL with us on weekend outings. Since she has been staying with us, we’ve gone to numerous festivals and museums. Sometimes, she even seems to enjoy these family adventures.
And I do have fun. I do get out. Tonight, I am meeting friends for a Ladies’ Night at one of those pottery painting places. It’s BYOB, but they supply paint and things to paint. Intriguing, huh? If they provided the booze, I might paint more. I might paint better.
If anything is really missing, it is the fun my husband and I used to have together—first, just the two of us and then, just the four of us. Oh, I can’t dwell on that. If I do, I will really regret missing that wedding.