Carolyn Hax: Adult child refuses family vacation

The Washington PostJuly 26, 2013 

Dear Carolyn: In the mid-1990s, when I was 22 and my brother was 18, our family took a Caribbean cruise. It was fun, but not so much fun that I cared to go back again.

Now that my parents are in their late 60s and retired, my mom has gotten it in her mind that all four of us should take another cruise together as a family. They have even offered to pay.

Aside from not having an interest in the cruise, I am also not interested in taking a family vacation. I am single and in my late 30s, and a family vacation smacks of desperation, a way of saying, "Oh, how sad, he didn't want to go by himself, so he went with Mommy and Daddy." Also, traveling anywhere with my parents is never a simple process. In short, a cruise might be a vacation for my parents, but it would be anything but one for me.

I have repeatedly explained that neither a cruise nor a family vacation interests me. Nevertheless, the badgering continues.

BADGERED

That's your reason for refusing to go, fear of looking desperate? To whom?

And what's wrong with "It was important to my mother" should people you hope to impress sidle up to you on the Lido Deck?

It also takes a certain stubbornness to use a trip at 22 in the mid-'90s as the template for your visions of this proposed trip.

To be fair, that your parents are difficult is a fine reason not to want to travel with them - but I hope you'll put that reason into context and decide, knowing they won't be around forever, whether there's anything that would move you to say yes. Would a more interesting destination do it? A just-this-once stipulation? An understanding that "a vacation for my parents" is a gift, one you might want to give?

Also project to 10 years from now; will you look back on this "no" with regret? What if your mom or dad dies or gets sick?

People can be absolutely sure they don't want to do something, absolutely solid in their reasons, and absolutely entitled to those reasons, and still be wrong in a way they don't give enough credit: the big-picture, emotional, just-because way.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service