Dear Amy: Each year, my extended family takes a big trip with four generations – The Grandparents, The Parents, The Kids and The Grandkids.
There are 15 of us, including spouses, in The Kids group. The Parents and The Grandparents make all the arrangements. We’re simply told where and when.
The Parents find a large house to rent. The Grandparents, who are quite wealthy, generously pay for the rental. The Grandparents and The Parents’ generations each get their own room, and The Kids make due with whatever space is left over.
On the last trip, we arrived to find camping mats and sleeping bags on the floor for all of us. We’ve slept three to a bed, on couches, floors and hammocks. We always go home from these “vacations” tired and stressed.
The Kids are all between 28 and 37, and are almost all married.
My wife and I have suggested getting a second house, splitting the cost between The Kids, but The Parents insinuated we were ungrateful and don’t “prioritize family.”
The other Kids all agree with us, privately, but won’t bring it up.
Is there a better way to express our discomfort? We don’t want to seem ungrateful or disrespectful.
One of The Kids
Dear Kids: Next year, you should book (and pay for) a nearby rental for you and your wife. The Parents and The Grandparents are attaching way more value on the family all sleeping in one house than you do. But they wake up each morning having slept in a bed!
After you book your rental, notify The Parents and Grandparents: “We’re renting a place, only 10 minutes away. We’re really excited for our annual reunion, and can’t wait to see everybody!”
Assuming responsibility for where you’ll sleep is not being disrespectful or ungrateful. You’re behaving like an adult and showing up for your family. Convey this idea: “We love this tradition so much and look forward to it all year. We’re going to hang out at the big house with everyone, but we need some privacy at night.” Don’t involve the other Kids in this, and don’t gossip about it.
The Parents and Grandparents don’t have to like your choice. If you feel rested and more relaxed, you will be more available to give attention and affection to your elders, which you should do.