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AIBU? Christmas travel

(142 Posts)
katzensocken Fri 08-Dec-17 21:05:14

Hi there, long time lurker but I finally made an account since I have a situation to post about. Genuinely looking for opinions on who is BU.

DSiL had a baby (DN) last year. DH and I love him to bits even though we haven't seen him a lot. I've seen him three times since he was born and DH has seen him a couple times more. DSiL and her DP have previously asked us to be legal guardians of DN. This meant a lot to us as I have fertility problems myself and may not be able to conceive a child of my own. DN is now just over one year old.

Travel situation, before I get into the rest of it: I suffer from chronic illness and mobility issues. We don't have a car yet, my DH is learning to drive early next year (previously we didn't need one, as I was physically well and we used public transport quite easily). Train and bus journeys are very difficult for me, and anxiety about my physical symptoms makes it worse. Car journeys are a little better, just because I can sit and not worry about my legs giving way when I have to walk from point A to B.

Last year we spent Xmas at DSiL's large house, just us and them, it was very pleasant. DSiL's DP picked us up in the car and dropped us back. We live 40 mins car journey away, further on the train.

For the past year DSiL has been reluctant to visit us or let us visit them unless we can make our own way. They know my mobility and health issues, but we also understand they are busy and tired with baby so we have never demanded they visit. A couple of months ago, around DN's 1st birthday, they were planning to visit us for the day but DSiL later said our apartment was now too small (DN getting bigger and bored easily) and not child safe. We have some clutter but are not untidy, especially when people visit. Our flat is always clean and we are more than aware of how to make things child safe. Nothing dangerous or delicate would be in reach. Fair enough though, we let her have that opinion even while reassuring her it was fine.

For this Xmas, they are spending actual Xmas with other family, which is cool and we don't mind. But they wanted us to visit next weekend for gift exchange and things. We did consider the train but my health has been atrocious recently and when we looked at tickets, it's over 60 pounds, not an amount we can spare with Xmas looming. So we told them this, but they still want us to visit, asking us to reconsider. We said it would be much easier for us if DSiL's DP could drive the 40 mins in the car to collect us, and 40 mins back on the Sunday. We would be glad to pay for fuel costs, as this would be much cheaper than train tickets. We just really want to see DN if possible. They refused and insisted we find another way, saying the drive is too long. For reference, they are happy to travel to other relatives 1+ hours, or down south for 4 hours each way. Before they have told us they don't want the baby to stress out in the car which we understand, but this journey would not include DSiL or baby.

Because of this we've had to ask around if any friends could give us a ride, one friend from the Midlands even offered to drive up and collect us from DSiL's house on the Sunday, which is a silly offer imo; he shouldn't have to do that.
I don't think we're CF when it comes to favours from drivers. Barely any of our local friends drive, we walk where possible or catch taxis for further afield. DSiL and DP have helped us out before when moving house but otherwise we don't ask. When my DH told DSiL he was planning to get driving lessons in the new year, she responded 'Do you know how much a car costs to run, though? You can't afford a car.' Which is odd to me as she seems frustrated that we can't easily visit but begrudges us trying to make it easier? Also, we can afford a car if we're sensible about it, which we plan to be.

So, sorry for the long winded post. But AIBU to think DSiL's DP could pick us up/drop us home next weekend?

LoopyLou1981 Fri 08-Dec-17 21:31:35

Sorry that you’re having health problems. It must be horrible.
I think you are being unreasonable to expect you BIL to come and pick you up and take you back to theirs. It would be nearly 1.5 hours driving for him two days on the bounce.
However, I do think they’re being unreasonable not to come to you instead. A one year old is easily entertained if they bring a couple of his favourite toys with them and it sounds as though you’d happily put anything potentially dangerous out of his reach.
I hope you get to see them over Xmas at some point xx

Nannyplumbrocks Fri 08-Dec-17 21:35:55

Sorry but yabu to expect them to drive you. Sounds like they are fed up of doing so.

loveka Fri 08-Dec-17 21:37:04

Christ! 1 hour 20 minutes really is not a long journey. I do that there and back for work!

zeebeee Fri 08-Dec-17 21:38:31

YABU to expect them to drive you, but they are being U to not come to you instead.

kitkatsky Fri 08-Dec-17 21:39:38

I can sort of understand them encouraging some independence re travel if thejwant you as legal guardians. Please understand that I don’t drive and rely on public transport, but would want my own child not to have to do this if poss.

ichbineinstasumer Fri 08-Dec-17 21:41:22

it's not a situation in which either one of you is being obviously unreasonable. I can see your point of view but the DSil's doesn't seem unreasonable either. Suggest you go ahead with driving plan for the New Year and this will give you some more independence. Then you will see better whether there is an issue with the relationship more generally.

Eltonjohnssyrup Fri 08-Dec-17 21:41:39

YABU to expect him to drive. If you can't fork out a lot on train tickets you need to plan in advance to get cheaper tickets.

Also, clutter is not child friendly, anything breakable may be out of reach, but small children in cluttered houses is a nightmare.

OhNoOhNo Fri 08-Dec-17 21:42:29

Sorry to hear about your ill health.

When was the last they visited you or you visited them? Has it been since last Christmas?

A lift to and fro once a year seems quite reasonable considering your ill health, but we don't know why that they don't want to make the journey, so it's difficult to comment on that.

It's a shame they don't want to make that effort, or visit you instead.

I think you're right not to make the train journey. However, as they don't want to make the journey to collect you, I would just accept that.

cheminotte Fri 08-Dec-17 21:43:07

Yanbu. Even without your health issues it's unfair that you are having to make the effort each time. Babies are generally happy to have a snooze in the car.

katzensocken Fri 08-Dec-17 21:43:25

@Nanny, we never ask them to drive us otherwise. They have done it once before, last Xmas.

@Loopy, I forgot to mention it would by Friday and Sunday travel, not consecutive says. I still understand your point though, thank you. As a non-driver I'm not sure how taxing it can be (and I know it is for some people).

katzensocken Fri 08-Dec-17 21:44:38

@Elton, we would have planned in advance but they only gave us their available dates last week. By which time the price was already 50.

katzensocken Fri 08-Dec-17 21:48:07

@OhNo, the last time we saw them was at the time of DH and DSiL's mother's funeral this past April. Before then the last time we saw them was last Xmas, no visits otherwise.

If SiL doesn't change her mind I'll probably leave it at that, I don't mean to insist on anything. If they want to come and visit though I would be glad.

LoopyLou1981 Fri 08-Dec-17 21:49:12

@katsensocken if you’re me, 1.5 hours driving would require me having to lie down in a darkened room afterwards (I’m a horribly nervous driver)! My husband, on the other hand, would see that as a treat and would jump at the chance! 😂
I really hope you work it out. You sound like a lovely auntie xx

MyDcAreMarvel Fri 08-Dec-17 21:50:18

It's an hour and 20 mins, like app says that a work commute. They sound really selfish, are you sure they don't just want a gift.

Maelstrop Fri 08-Dec-17 21:53:25

There's no way I'd want to travel 40 minutes twice to pick up/drop someone, so I think yabu. I get that you're not well and I sympathise aside have mobility issues too, but yabu.

katzensocken Fri 08-Dec-17 22:02:23

Thanks for the responses so far guys. Seems a bit 50/50 as I expected! It is a tricky one because I realize driving can be a nightmare depending on the driver. Right now we are waiting on an email response about plans from DSiL, so something may yet be compromised on. If they are willing to pick us up and our friend can bring us back, that might be the best way currently.

@Loopy thanks! I hope I get to see the DN somehow, he's a cute little monster.

VelvetSpoon Fri 08-Dec-17 22:03:42

How much do you think the petrol costs are? I wonder if you're one of those people who think a journey like this only costs £5...if that's the sort of money you've offered in the past that may well be why they're unwilling.

Do you have a railcard? If not you should get one, twotogether would save you 1/3 on train fares.

katzensocken Fri 08-Dec-17 22:08:09

@Velvet, last year we reimbursed them 20 pounds based on the cost they told us.

Neither of us qualify for a railcard! Even with the recent changes. We're over 30.

slimyslitheryslug Fri 08-Dec-17 22:08:10

Could you get a taxi one way and ask for a lift the other way?

Thetreesareallgone Fri 08-Dec-17 22:11:10

I think the point your SIL is making is how would you afford a car if you can't afford £60 for travel now. Cars are hugely expensive, the insurance alone per month will probably be more than that with you being a new driver, plus the cost of the car (£1000+ even for an old banger) and car tax and so on. Lessons are hugely expensive too.

If £60 is utterly beyond you, then it's utterly beyond you, but then you really can't afford a car.

If the reason is your mobility is too poor, and you can't walk, then you can't go on public transport, whatever the price. I wouldn't mix up the two arguments as they are not the same thing.

I would go if you can, as you will really miss the whole family and your niece- if you go together then the stress of being less mobile might be lessened. It sounds like I'm being critical, but my MIL can only walk about 200 yards, but she manages to travel long distances by doing taxi/bus/coach and walking with a stick very slowly. My aunt flew to the other side of the world with her walking stick by her side and in a wheelchair when her legs gave out. There are two of you and your husband/partner can assist you or ask for assistance from the transport helpers. If you get a disability pass then this will make local bus travel free and you get a good discount on train travel- you don't even need PIP or anything, just a letter from a relevant health person.

I think just sitting in your home and hoping people with a small baby will come and pick you up and drop you off is probably too much, it would be kind if they did, but perhaps they are just very tired and don't want to do it (sleepless nights?)

LeonoraFlorence Fri 08-Dec-17 22:11:31

I would definitely pick family up in your situation, as would DH. Seems like there must be more to this? You sound like a lovely auntie.

katzensocken Fri 08-Dec-17 22:11:35

@slimy, taxi estimate is 100 quid!

Kentnurse2015 Fri 08-Dec-17 22:13:30

I'm a horribly nervous driver so a request like that would literally ruin my Christmas

katzensocken Fri 08-Dec-17 22:14:13

@Thetrees, I understand your point, but a car will be cheaper for us in the long run to visit family. My DM has just sold her house and will be giving us some money towards a used car. Train tickets on a regular basis are too much money and just become a sunk cost. We just can't afford 60 this month as we are spending it on Xmas presents.

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