My Family Excluded Me from Vacation So I Could Babysit Their Children – I Taught Them a Good Lesson

2 | My Family Excluded Me from

blissfully unaware, mentioned to my sister about getting Aunt Carol a farewell gift. “Should I get her a gift?” “Yeah, grab her something. We’ll give it to her on the cruise,” she said, as casually as if commenting on the weather. “A cruise? I wasn’t invited!” My heart sank, the realization bitter. “We assumed you were staying to watch our babies for us…” I had been unknowingly assigned the role of babysitter to my cousin’s toddler, my sister’s two-year-old, and the twin infants that demanded more care than a small army. I protested , my voice laced with hurt and disbelief. I also wanted to celebrate Aunt Carol. I also deserved a place in this family portrait. But it was too late. The cousin in charge, Jessica, crushed any hope I still had of joining the rest: the cruise was booked and there was no more place for me. But hey, I could still fly out to Hawaii on my own dime. Anger boiled up within me, not just because of the exclusion, but also because they expected me to simply nod along to their tune. So, I plotted a different course. My boyfriend, adult son, and I planned our own vacation, leaving the tangled web of family and their presumptuous expectations behind. Finally, the day we were all meant to leave arrived. As my family made their way to my house in the hope of dumping their kids on me, my trio was miles away, ready for the vacation of a lifetime. Let me tell you, I felt more free then than I would have on any cruise. The realization of what I had planned must have hit them like a cold wave. Their frantic calls and messages went unanswered. They could wait until I was back to sort this out. After our lovely trip, the atmosphere back home was thick with accusations and disappointment. They painted me as the villain for daring to choose myself over an obligation I was never consulted on. Jessica, in her frustration, even said I could be lucky they didn’t call the police to accuse me of abandoning their kids. After confronting them about not inviting me on the trip, they said it was an accident, a mere oversight, but how could it be? We were supposed to be a family who looked out for each other. Yet, they never even asked me if I would be available to look after their kids while they were away. But, was I too harsh? This was a thought I mulled over as I listened to their grievances about their lost money and their disrupted plans. No, I concluded. This was not my fault. They chose not to communicate with me beforehand. They assumed my compliance. It all painted a clear picture. I was invisible to them until they needed something. But I was no longer the same person who could be overlooked. I had my own life and my own adventures. And perhaps, this incident was the jolt my family needed to realize, that in this vast web of relationships, every strand, every person, needs to be acknowledged, communicated with, and respected. But, I had one last ace up my sleeve. See, while on vacation with my husband and son, the fact that they just assumed I would be babysitting for them still bugged me. How could they be so uncaring? Well, I decided then and there to make a really good point. I bought every one of my family members a little gift — I wasn’t as thoughtless as they were. I researched a few numbers back home and wrote them all down on the backs of the colorful postcards addressed to each one of my family. Back home, I saw a few of them even stuck the cards on their fridges, the phone numbers on the backs of babysitters in the area easy to spot at a distance. I think I may have just saved myself some hassle for the next trip.

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