Inner me is a people-pleaser; I want all the of the people to be happy. More so, I don’t want to hear anyone’s shit for the decisions I make. Because people give me shit.

I am currently listening to SORRY I’M LATE, I DIDN’T WANT TO COME by Jessica Pan and I am at a point in her story where she talks about this need to respond to every social event invitation. And how the worst invention ever was the MAYBE button on Facebook. The point is that our social obligations should be YES OR A NO. Saying maybe is saying I’ll come, only if nothing else better comes along.

No, I was not invited anywhere I did not want to go. It was more like I was doing something I really did not want to do. I said YES when I really should have stuck to my guns and said NO. My heart was saying NO but my head was saying YES to avoid any drama.

Our son and our niece on my husband’s side are the same age. They are even in the same grade. The two go to different schools but their major events are usually at the same time. This year is the year they both move up from the Middle School to the High School. In addition to that, our daughter moves up from the Elementary School. When my son (and our niece) moved up from the Elementary School we did something at our house for them both.

Three years ago, much like this year, I wanted to have a little something for our son and invite all of the family including said niece. I did not want to exclude her in the festivities so I told her mother we would celebrate them both. At the time she expressed some event that they had going on – I said it was fine, not to worry about it. I meant it, don’t worry about it; they had a prior commitment. But she insisted and said she’d bring some of the food items. The start time and went for the celebration. Her family was here, but none of the food items she said she was going to bring was here. At that point I called her very annoyed wondering where she was and her response was that she had this event that she told me about. I told her I understood that but I was counting on her to bring certain things and people were here and I did not have those thing. I went on tell her if she was not able to be here on time that she should not have agreed to do something I did not really ask her to do.

I completely understood, she had prior commitments but what I was having a hard time wrapping my head around was why someone would agree to do something that they could not follow through on. If she knew she was going to be late don’t agree to bring the snack food and the utensils. Say you’re going to bring the dessert plates or something that necessary from the beginning. I’m sure I ruffled her feathers a bit but it was not okay and she needed to know that.

Fast forward three years, we are now watching our Middle Schoolers move up to the High School. And I had no intention on doing a joint thing after the fiasco that happened three years ago. All I did was mention that I wanted to have a little something at the house for my kids on a particular date. A few days later I get a message, her asking when I was having the thing for the kids. Somehow our conversation snowballed into a joint thing at her house this year because her daughter wanted to invite a few friends. I was not thrilled at all with the suggestion but the way I saw it, it would be easier for my husband’s family to attend one “party” for the three kids then to try and work our parties around one another. On top of that, they live a few towns over so my kid’s friends would not be able to go unless at the very least we drove them ourselves. But here is people pleasing Jenna; it would be easier for the majority. My family was not thrilled when I told them either but they understood my reasoning. For the next month after, that was the plan.

A week before said event I finally got around with touching base with my sister-in-law. Telling her my daughter was unable to have any friends there but we had x-amount of people. She responded saying she had me beat; her other daughter wanted to have friends over because she never got a party. With the two sets of friends there were more friends than I was having total. This gathering has spiraled out of control. I pulled the plug. It was not fair to my daughter who would not have any friends there and honestly, I did not want to deal with all those people. These are three kids going off to the High School and Middle School; not Harvard.

Turns out, my sister-in-law was not thrilled about the idea of a joint party either. She made a comment saying it would be easier, but she liked that the parties were separate. No one said it would be easier, it would be more convenient but definitely not any easier. A comment was made that she knows no one favors one grandchild over another but I “know how it goes for someone else”. I’m not entirely sure what that even means, but I was trying to avoid someone anyone having to choose which one to go to because I know some people take that shit to heart. The way I see it, it’s not my relationship with my kids.

After everything was said and done I was left a little annoyed but wondered why the hell either of us were doing something we really did not want to do. We were afraid to say NO. I knew I should have said no. I am sure she felt the same way. But neither of us said no. We should have said just no.


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