Question: Dear Luise: My grown daughter and her family have lived within driving distance since she married, so we have always had a comfortable back and forth arrangement we just fell into, that worked for both of us. Now, they have moved to Hawaii and beyond all of my friend’s lovely predictions about how great my visits are going to be and how lucky I am, I feel very uncomfortable. I have never stayed in her home, nor have they stayed in mine and it all feels very strange and unnatural. Do you have any suggestions about this developing situation? Thank so much, Brenda
Answer: Dear Brenda: Well, for one thing, I think it’s very wise that you are letting your misgivings bubble up to the surface to be wrestled with. It would be easy to buy the “pie-in-the-sky” concept when they have moved to such a dramatic destination and not face the shifting dynamics. Better to get on with it, is my position.
We all seem to need varying degrees of privacy and space. I have always admired the “y’all come” types that love to have people around and “the more the merrier”. However, that’s not the way I was put together. I need a lot of quiet time and private space to feel comfortable. Look closely at the times you have stayed with others and others have stayed with you and see if you can get a fix on what works for you. Start out arranging it that way, and stick to your guns.
When I “visit” friends and family…I don’t. I go to a motel or a B & B and socialize with them on and off, at everyone’s convenience. I learned long ago not to give in to what others expected of me and to not expect them to know what I need. Yes, my trips cost more and I don’t go as often, but when I do venture in the direction of far away places, I have a really marvelous time. Those I travel to see get seen and we have a lot of fun together. We just aren’t lining up at the bathroom door and falling all over each other, 24/7. That’s not for me. I get edgy, tired, cranky and am anything but the “guest of the year”. The same goes for having guests…I find a place for them to do it my way. And once we get through the first time around, I’ve been told that it often becomes a preference.
This didn’t come easily or quickly but it is foolproof. Everyone is used to it and we all have a great time. Floral deliveries are made after I head for home and if I’m seen as a bit eccentric…oh, well.
So, why not look on your first Hawaii adventure as a groundbreaker? Figure out what would make your heart sing and then make it clear that you are going to do it your way and see that they all have as much fun as you do. If you miscalculate, revamp your next trip. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Blessings, Luise