Ten months ago, I invited my sister's DD, who is six months older than my DD, to come to stay with us for four days/nights this July. We agreed that my family would go and pick my niece up, staying for the weekend, and then bring her back home for four nights and my sister would come and pick her up. We settled on the dates and I bought quite complicated and expensive train tickets well in advance, as well as reserving a hotel for our weekend with my sister (DD was invited to stay with my sister's family).
We validated our plans many steps of the way with my sister and all seemed fine. Then, two days before we were due to travel to my sister, she called me and basically back tracked on the whole thing, saying that her DD was anxious/her family was busy/she would have to come to fetch her DD early.
I said that, if her DD was not feeling up to staying, no problem and we would come up for the weekend and return without her.
So we went. However, my sister's DD was dying to come to stay with us. The problem was not with her, but with my sister, who had decided that she couldn't bear to let her DD go away for a few nights (not even one).
I feel very hurt and angry with my sister for letting my DD down, us down (we went to a lot of expense and I spent a great deal of time organising this trip) and, rather than admit she had a problem, try to put a smokescreen and say her DD wasn't up to it?
What about the several hundred pounds the whole misadventure has cost us for nothing? They are down the drain and I have no alternative holiday plan for my DD this week. I certainly would have spend the money doing something else with her than being at home - we wouldn't have been hanging around doing nothing. I am very angry.
I'd be annoyed that your sister had neither the good sense nor the manners to speak to you about this before you'd shelled out a lot of money. Whilst it isn't worth a family rift, I'd be really angry too and I'd be making my feelings known. It's that "if you had just let me know" situation.
We had a horrible weekend walking on eggshells around my sister who was trying to put up a smokescreen for her unacceptable behaviour and was extremely stressed! And no, we cannot get a refund on anything - the whole thing was planned many months in advance to get best prices (my sister lives hundreds of miles from us).
Nothing had happened. My sister has a history of clinging to her children and not letting anyone else near them, except my mother. My mother is very worried about this (one of my sister's children has had a lot of problems due to this) and was also trying to encourage my sister to let her DD stay away for a few days.
Blimey! That really is worrying. I thought you were going to say 6 not 16! My kids were staying with my sister (200 miles away) when they were about 3 or 4! I see now why you're so annoyed. She's not doing her daughter any favours is she? At 16 she should be encouraging her independence not suffocating it. Not sure what you can do though other than write it off to experience. Does she let her daughter go on extended school trips?
I'm still very angry, and TBH I'm angrier about the casual way in which my sister treats my family and our money and time than about the fact that she clings to her princess DD. The way she brings her DD is her problem - she is not a bad mother in many ways - but she is a truly crap sister and daughter, thinking that her family is their to run around her like slaves, willing to be dismissed at the wave of a hand and to waste our time, energy and cash without a thought or an apology, let alone a reimbursement.
Instead of anger could you perhaps try a little compassion and understanding for your sister's difficulties? Her 'smoke screening' may have been the only way she could try to hide her embarrassment for doing something irrational by most peoples standards. She may have some kind of anxiety disorder or similar - please don't take the whole episode so personally.