Last weekend, my husband's mother called our house and mentioned to him that I was going to accompany her, her husband and my mother to a cemetery in the suburbs of Chicago on December 1 to help her and her husband purchase plots. There are two problems with this scenario: First, nobody ever asked me if I even wanted to accompany anybody to a cemetery to select plots. Second, I'm not even going to be in Chicago on December 1, so that would be more than a little difficult for me to pull off.
One of my pet peeves is when people make commitments for me without my consent. I am not attached to anyone except for my husband, and even he knows to check with me before he commits me to anything. We haven't run across this problem for almost 5 years with our parents and I thought that the lesson that we taught them then would stick for longer. Perhaps the lesson wasn't severe enough.
Six weeks before Easter Sunday five years ago, I found myself on the telephone with my favorite aunt in Chicago. She was really happy and excited on the phone and told me that she was SO happy that my husband and I were going to fly to Chicago and be at her house for Easter brunch. HUH?!
Turns out, my aunt had called my husband's parents to invite them to Easter at her house. (Our families spend most big holidays together these days.) His parents had recently moved to Massachusetts from Illinois to be closer to us (my husband's an only child - that's a blog post for another day). His parents responded that the FOUR of us would be there for Easter. Needless to say, I was very angry and explained to my aunt that my husband and I did not know if we could make it to Easter in Chicago yet and that we had made no plans with his parents. My aunt was seriously crushed.
I was angrier than a charging bull. My husband and I were actually 95% sure we could go to Chicago for Easter that year, but because of his mother, I really didn't want to go at all. So my husband and I discussed what had happened and agreed that even if we could go to Chicago, we wouldn't and we'd make his parents, who committed to going there, go on their own. That would teach them to ever make plans for us again, right?
A week before Easter, my husband finally told his parents that we weren't going to Chicago for the holiday. He nicely mentioned that they shouldn't ever commit us to anything. (I would have been a lot more stern about the whole thing, but as they're not my parents, I made him handle it.) We figured we'd wait as long as possible to tell them that so they couldn't get out of their obligation. Well - one would think that at least. His mother called my aunt and gave her some B.S. story about the landscapers having to be at their new house early on Monday so they would have to stay in Massachusetts for Easter.
Well, if I was angry before, I was doubly angry after I found out they backed out of Easter after we told them we weren't going. Luckily, my husband is totally amazing and agreed with me that we would not reward their bad behavior by spending Easter with them. They fed him the same B.S. story they fed my aunt and my husband told them that we were busy in town and couldn't spend time with them for Easter. (If plane tickets to Chicago were even reasonably priced at that point, we would have gone, but alas, they were not.)
So they made plans for us without consulting us and ended up spending Easter all alone. That was five years ago. You think they could remember that lesson, eh?