Dear Carolyn: I have three children under 8. Last summer, my niece and nephew both participated in travel sports, which took up nearly every weekend.
I know each family should do what is best for them, but this affects our entire family. Our parents are getting older and really cherish seeing all of us together. I tried to put together a Mother’s Day brunch, but it was the first tournament of the year for both kids. For our parents’ 55th anniversary, my sister said the best they could do is a family dinner on a Tuesday.
I wish I could explain to her that fitness and sports are important, but she is encouraging her kids to sacrifice family time. My own kids are in sports, too, but they are not nearly to this level of crazed involvement.
Should I discuss this issue with her, or try to let it go? How much should I visit my parents to make up for her absence?
Please stop making this about your sister’s priorities. Judging her will only escalate this into a much deeper, more hurtful feud. Not to mention guarantee that one of your children will blossom into a surprising talent at some Time Consuming Pursuit, and you will be snacking on your current outrage till your own 55th.
Instead, ask your sister to join you, calendars in hand, in finding dates the whole family can get together.
Even without travel athletes, it’s typical for three separate families to have a hard time lining up their free time, and that gives you two choices. You can insist on special dates and open yourself to all kinds of frustration, or you can embrace the idea that sometimes Christmas will be in January and your parents’ anniversary will come a month late.