After returning from an Anniversary trip last week, my sister informed us of an upcoming birthday party being held for her daughter this coming weekend - the drive there is several hours away, so we would have most likely opted to take the train instead.
Since we have had to content with both paying for our trip and an unexpected car breakdown, we had originally declined the invitation due to tight finances, which my sister had accepted.
Then my mother called two days ago, and told me she would be driving down - offering to take the two of us as well.
And that's where my problems start.
If it were just me, I would go down to the city for the party. I wouldn't especially like it, since most of the people there I don't know and it's a muggy New York City day. But I would go out of obligation to my niece and sister.
My wife has also said that she will go if I ask her, but has also made it clear that she does not want to go - and there are several good reasons for her feeling this way.
- We just got back from a long and exhausting trip, and she's still feeling exhausted from it.
- She doesn't especially like my sister, and especially dislikes the city, so this would be even more of a loathsome trip for her than for me.
- She recently found out this week that her childhood home was shot at in a drive-by shooting, and is emotionally compromised and stressed out from this ordeal.
- She also had plans to host a DND game that night, and will have to cancel to attend this party.
This is also following a trend in my family that I've become aware of lately - where we give our refusal to attend an event, and are then guilted into attending anyway, generally being unhappy while there. Normally I do not fight such invitations, but my wife is from a very small family that she rarely gets to see, and is not so keen on having our own personal plans interrupted by various family events.
I'm not entirely sure what to do here - I could just go on my own, but I know that my sister and my parents would be offended at my wife not wanting to go for personal reasons (some of which I can't exactly explain - like her discomfort with my sister on personal and political things). I could ask her to go with me, but I know she will be miserable during the whole thing. We could refuse, but I feel this is a fairly important event, and I've already opted out of a more recent graduation party for a cousin on the other side of the family.
There's also the fact that my parents don't entirely understand the feelings of my wife - who dislikes these frequent family events with people she barely knows, and has had a bad reputation with my sister for years that we try not to bring up in situations like this. But I'm not sure how to breach that subject with them either, and I feel it will come up if I decline their offer, or suggest leaving my wife behind.
So, my current stance on this is that I want to attend this party with the ride my parents have offered, but not force my wife to attend - I've made this proposal to my wife and she accepts my decision, but now I need to call my mother. What should I tell her, and how do I avoid going into the personal details of why my wife does not want to attend?