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In buying my MIL a flight for xmas?

(29 Posts)
Chickenshavenolips Mon 12-Oct-09 12:57:58

My MIL is in Dublin, and was widowed 8 years ago. Since her husband's death, she has effectively stopped living. She is very low, no longer works and spends a lot of her time at the doctors with various complaints. It is obvious to everyone that she is a very unhappy, lonely lady. If my DH or his brother try to talk to her about maybe going back to work, or seeking some help for her sadness, she becomes very defensive. Over the years, we have had a rocky relationship, so I couldn't really bring this up myself without there being fireworks.

Every year since my FIL passed, we have invited her for christmas. She always declines, and for the first few years we travelled back. For the last few years, however, we have stayed at home over christmas and asked both families to us (we have travelled a lot over the years, and now that the children are a bit older would rather Santa visited at our home, IYSWIM. Logistics can be a pig wink) My BIL always spends christmas day with MIL, and she generally spends the day in tears. They don't have a christmas dinner or tree or anything, and she refuses to visit anyone. As a result, BIL's fiance spends christmas with her own family, and everyone is miserable.

Now, if this was my mother, I would by now have had a serious chat with her, and used a few tough love tactics. I am very tempted this year to buy MIL a flight over to us on Boxing Day as her Christams present (I would love for her to come for Christmas day, but was trying to reach a compromise IYSWIM?) That way, she might be more inclined to visit, see the children, and take part in making some new, happy memories. I know that DH would love for her to come over and enjoy the kids and get caught up in the excitement. So, AIBU to do this? (With DH and BIL on side, naturally)

VineGruesomeTits Mon 12-Oct-09 13:01:52

Of course YANBU o do this, it sounds like she needs some tough love, why not write a letter to go with the ticket, expalining how much she would be welcomed, and things you plan to do with her while she is there etc etc

starwhoreswonaprize Mon 12-Oct-09 13:02:32

I think it's a lovely idea, do you think she'll come?

slushy06 Mon 12-Oct-09 13:03:17

Def not you must be a lovely DIL and she is v lucky to have you so yanbu.

BettySwollux Mon 12-Oct-09 13:03:35

I think it's a lovely idea, and how nice to hear from someone who actually likes their MIL.
Yes, do it, I bet she'll be thrilled.

ilovemydogandmrobama Mon 12-Oct-09 13:04:43

YANBU -- at first thought you were buying her a ticket to go away for Xmas grin

invlanderen Mon 12-Oct-09 13:04:55

Oh my, this is a toughie.. but I´m inclined to think YABU. This sort of thing has to clearly come from your DH, not just have his agreement. Another course of action might be to force her hand re visiting a doctor with a member of her immediate family who could explain how bad her (depression?) situation has got.

wukter Mon 12-Oct-09 13:07:11

That's very thoughtful. Say it was one of the kids' idea, that will please her. What age is she?

Chickenshavenolips Mon 12-Oct-09 13:07:16

Oh, thankyou! I was quite scared posting here grin It is so, so difficult, because our relationship can be tricky. If it was my mum, I could tell her straight what I thought, and she might get upset or angry, but I know that eventually she'd forgive me. I wouldn't risk my relationship with MIL by doing that, so wondered if this might be a gentle push. I thought that if I arranged lifts to and from the airport etc, she would find it hard to make an excuse. I do understand that it's a truly tough time of year for MIL (christmas day was also FIL's birthday), but I really feel like she's missing out. The children are growing so quickly, and I think she'll regret not taking these opportunities in the future.

wukter Mon 12-Oct-09 13:09:39

Though, like Betty, I thought you wanted to buy her a one way ticket away for Xmas. grin

Chickenshavenolips Mon 12-Oct-09 13:09:53

MIL is 60 at the end of this month.

invlanderen - that is my concern I think DH finds the situation so sad, and so difficult, that I suppose I'm trying to help him out. I am very keen not to come across as interferring, or making a judgement on her life though IYSWIM. She would not take that well.

overmydeadbody Mon 12-Oct-09 13:11:27


It's a lovely idea.

Pumpkinbummum Mon 12-Oct-09 13:17:06

I would try and get her over for Christmas Day, and that could be your present to BIL that he could spen xmas with his fiancee,

It will have to come to ahead one year, prob when BIL gets married, you are right she is missing out on so much,
does she come visit you at any other times of the year?

invlanderen Mon 12-Oct-09 13:18:10

Chicken, along with the lifts to/from airport etc. maybe you could appeal to her as a grandmother and say how much the visit would mean to your DC?

Might it be an idea to go through with your idea at another time, maybe BEFORE Christmas? It might be more achievable to change her behavious at a less emotive time..

Chickenshavenolips Mon 12-Oct-09 13:20:32

Yes, she does visit, but always finds it hard. She has told us that going home to the empty house is very difficult for her, which I understand. She has been signed off work for various problems for the last two years, and before that was only at work part time for about a year after being signed off for stress. I am concerned, because 60 isn't that old, and she spends most of her time in her house alone.

Pumpkinbummum Mon 12-Oct-09 13:24:20

But maybe if she came to you for christmas BIL (does he live in Dublin) could arrange to be there when she gets home,
if not go home with her since he would be flying over anyway

Think invlanderen is right broach the subject sooner,
tell dh to ring her and say the dcs would love her to be there

mummyloveslucy Mon 12-Oct-09 13:38:32

It think it's a lovely ides. I'm sure she'll be chuffed. smile

doubleexpresso Mon 12-Oct-09 13:50:14

You have given me an idea. I will book my MIL a flight, in opposite direction to our house wink
Seriously it sounds as if you are a very kind and thoughtful DIL, unlike me.

2rebecca Mon 12-Oct-09 20:18:27

When I am older I would hate it if my DIL did this. She's an intelligent adult. If you must buy her a flight buy her one with some date flexibility. She maybe doesn't want to visit you. Why should you force her to visit you just because it's what you want?
I sometimes enjoy Christmas on my own and don't want to feel the moment my kids marry I am forced to travel and treated as a non person.

KimiTheThreadSlayingAxeKiller Mon 12-Oct-09 20:22:37

I think it would be the best Christmas your BIK and his Dp could get grin

CheeryCherry Mon 12-Oct-09 20:29:08

doubleexpresso you took the words out of my mouth...that really would be a dream Christmas wink grin
OP could you pass the idea by her, maybe via one of the kids, before you book?

pointyhat Mon 12-Oct-09 20:34:24

I'm not sure why people assume she'd be chuffed. She could absolutely hate it.

I wouldn't risk it myself. What does your dh think? He knows her best

Doodleydoo Mon 12-Oct-09 20:39:43

Open ticket with an option for xmas might be good. I applaude you for being so nice - mines on the same plane as doubleexpresso's and cheery's!

Sometimes we need a hard jolt out of our depression and ticket over is a nice way of doing it especially for your children. You could have been mean and said 6 months worht of a counsellor.grin

Chickenshavenolips Mon 12-Oct-09 20:45:49

Well, DH spoke to her tonight and the ticket is booked! grin She said that she'd been thinking about it anyway, and to book it before she could change her mind. DH and the DC's are delighted

Hassled Mon 12-Oct-09 20:45:50

I could have written the OP about my stepmother, although she's in Wicklow and was widowed 6 years ago. We should put them in touch - they could say Bah Humbug together. I'm having the same thoughts re just buying her a flight.

So YANBU - just go for it. I hope it works out.

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