not tonight

Listening to my husband talk to his sister about visiting.   Who will or should visit whom and when.  Plans, or at least the starts of them.  My name is mentioned “Gotta get her out to X to visit”.  X is on the other side of the country.  More plans.  “Group vacation” comes up.  Will I be part of it?  Probably not.  I exclude myself, always.  I am not excluded, to the contrary, I am often faced with needing to explain (usually through my husband) why inclusion in these plans is not possible for me.

I used to like traveling.  I especially liked traveling by plane and doing so when I had a bit of money to spend on things like coffee when I wanted it, beer at the airport bar if I felt so inclined, etc.  Traveling with no money was a little less relaxing, money may not buy you happiness but it will buy you a cozy seat and a beverage out of the fray.  What I noticed the most about traveling without much money was just that you had to be ready to do things like run a little faster, wait a little longer, and make the package of graham crackers tucked in the purse last a little more time.

None of this is an option now.  I suspect if I had not just some money but a good deal of it, I could afford the sorts of luxuries that would make traveling more possible for me.  I’m not sure, but I suspect it.  E.g. a limo to and from the airport.  And we’re not talking some minivan service full of people and bags…I mean a luxury car where I can stretch out, apply cold compresses, and drink herbal tea if I’m so inclined.  Massages, good food, easy access to bathrooms, etc.  I bet having some extra cash to throw around would help make all of those things possible, which would in turn make travel more possible.  While I’m by no means as broke as I have been at other times in my life, I do not currently have limo with herbal tea level money.

And moreover, I have an old, infirm cat.  We have.  Well, my cat of 15 years, his of about 5.  And by infirm, I mean the cat gets a pill every day, sometimes needs cajoling to eat, and never makes it to the box for #2.  So even if I could get my reliably unreliable, high needs body squared away to travel, I’m not even remotely confident that I could find someone to watch the cat.

So what do I do when I hear my husband’s prolonged conversation with the sibling who is the least understanding about these practical limitations?  Do I take a tactful, respectful approach and not say anything?  Do I wait until later and express how upset this constant “why can’t she travel” wrangling makes me?  Or do I say something as nasty and mean as this sibling’s continuing disregard feels to me?

On good days, one or two.  Tonight, not so much.

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  1. R. G. Maines

     /  June 6, 2010

    Oh boy, again, in sync.

    My husband’s sister has NEVER been understanding when it came to my disability. She decided to stop visiting us at our home when she bought a new home, insisting we come there to visit her, even though there are stairs at the front and back doors and her bathroom is on the second floor, knowing I can’t ‘do’ stairs anymore.

    She has always been the source of problems within the family where I have been concerned, because she sees me as ‘making myself feel worse by not participating’. She plans amusement park trips and invites us, knowing I simply cannot do it. She plans picnics and barbecues in locations I can’t access and is currently planning a trip back to the Outer Banks in which she wanted all of us to attend, though she knows access is a problem for me.

    She always acts as if my refusal to participate is personal, as if I’m just trying to ruin her plans, rather than be realistic. My power chair can’t access sand dunes! I have no way of transporting it! If I could take Kodiak along as my service dog, we would have no one who could care for our two cats or watch the house while we’re gone. Of course, she’s right, she’s uncovered my devious plan to ruin her life… I’m disabled just to spite her.

    My husband is always talking about ‘vacations’, but I have to exclude myself and explain why I just couldn’t do it, how it would be painfully difficult for me and apologize for preventing him from doing what he wants to do.

    I’m just trying to be realistic, practical. I would just like them to be ‘reasonable’. They don’t have to empathize with me or my situation, but if they could accept that I know my limitations and am choosing not to put myself in situations that could be potentially dangerous for me, I’d greatly appreciate it. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, I don’t think you’re asking too much for a little understanding.


    • Um, she sounds like a bitch. See, I can just say that because there’s no baggage here between me and her. Ah, how liberating! 😉 But seriously, that’s some rotten stuff. No, I don’t think I’m asking for too much – not when I’m thinking rationally. When I’m not (which happens, oh yes it does), I feel all toxic and gross and horrible and like what I am asking is too much, too unreasonable, etc. And for that one, I firmly blame my parents.

      And this is why I’m in therapy.


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