Sparring Partner and I are what some would refer to Latecomers as it applies to starting a family. He was over 35 when our oldest was born. I was over 40 with the youngest.

The situation is not all that unfamiliar to either of us since my mom was in her late 30s when she had me and Sparring Partner’s mother was 40. And while not unfamiliar, it has created a bit of fission within my husband’s family. My in-laws have great-grandchildren OLDER than Aitch, who is their youngest grandchild. Their second-to-youngest grandchild? That honor is bestowed yet again on our family as that would be Doodicus.

To put it another way, out of the 11 grandchildren, only two are under the voting age. Obviously they are our two.

Sparring Partner has a couple of siblings who seem to think that since he lives the closest to his parents that he should be at their side at a moment’s notice. They don’t understand when they come in from out of town, why we don’t want to go out to dinner every night they are here, which means getting home from work in time to put everyone back into one vehicle and getting home later that night just in time to put everyone to bed. Forget about baths or homework or laundry or cleaning up.

Just this past week Thursday we went out; Friday they all came to our house for supper; Saturday night we went out. Last night? They were going to do supper at the SIL’s home. We told them thanks, but no thanks. I’m sure that by declining the invitation, we were criticized our seeming ungratefulness.

I have to give props to Sparring Partner, who when on the receiving end of an eye-roll from one of his siblings after a similar incident, responded, “You had your turn to raise your children. It’s my turn now.” I think they forget that while he’s the youngest in the family, he most certainly isn’t their boot-scraper and going to take their shit anymore.

We both love our families, extended and otherwise, but right now our priorities lie with who we tuck into OUR beds under OUR roof. And if we feel we are being spread a bit thin in trying to make EVERY one happy, we know that while there’s other family around to take care of our parents, no one else is there except Sparring Partner and me to PARENT our children.

6 thoughts on “Latecomers”

  1. This is the same in our family. All of our boys cousins are much older than they are and we used to get the same eye roll. We missed holidays because one or more of the boys were sick, and once we were supposed to HOST a Christmas dinner. Nobody understood that I couldn’t cook dinner and hold my childs head while he vomited at the same time. Their kids were all grown and gone and they had forgotten the joys of parenting small ones.

  2. sometimes being part of a family no matter how small or how extended sucks. but hey half my family is only one suburb away and I never. N.E.V.E.R see them hard to have expectations there.

    more than props to SP he gets a standing ovation I tilt my glass to him. well done!

  3. I am the one who creates expectations for myself regarding family visits. My husband is antisocial, even with his own family (although we see them frequently), and I cause all kinds of tension with my expectations. I’m finally getting over myself, and didn’t even worry about it when we had a loud argument in my mom’s hearing during her last visit. I want everyone to be happy, but I hope that I’m getting past that, because no one ever worries if I’m happy!

  4. We have similar issues. My husband’s parents have never put their foot down when it came to catering to the whims of their parents and other extended family members. As such, they are sixty years old and still at the beck and call of their own parents, especially as it relates to family gatherings and holidays.

    Two years ago we said we are done being told where to go and what to do for Christmas and our created family is our priority now. If we can figure out a way to be together that works for us, then we will. If we can’t, then we’ll sure be thinking about you.

    Now this year we have some definite obstacles with regard to holidays but we’ll see how it goes, and if his parents can remember that they don’t rank #1 on our list of people to consider anymore.

  5. This is a great post, and one that I identify with in terms of in-laws. My in-laws live in the same town as we do, and therefore see them on a weekly (sometimes more often) basis. We turn down countless offers to get together with my husband’s family, and often they don’t seem to realize that we have our own lives and obligations beyond “the Family”.

You can say it here.

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