We've got three bdays this month. difficult child 1's last weekend, husband's this coming weekend, and his mom's the week after that. His mom and dad are in town right now. His mom apparently wants everyone to get together to celebrate the three bdays. Problem is, she doesn't talk to the right people and it makes things very messy. So husband's middle sister calls last weekend and left messages suggesting next Sunday for the gathering and she offered either my house or hers since she has a pool and the kids could all swim. I talked to her Sunday night to confirm and she was waffling on having it at her house, so I told her if they all wanted to they could come to our house (but that there wasn't much for the kids to do since w don't have a pool). She said they'd all come over some time after 2pm since husband's oldest sister works in the mornings. And she'd call and let me know what they were bringing (apparently this is also a potluck). Fine. Yesterday, husband says there is some confusion now because his youngest sister can't make it for the Sunday gathering and would rather do Saturday. But that doesn't work for us at all, or his oldest sister. Meanwhile the middle sister is getting pi$$ed because she feels like the mom is expecting her to coordinate all this and now it's getting complicated. And mother in law keeps calling my cell and not leaving a message (I don't call people back unless they leave a message or unless I have something to say to them). So mother in law just called here and says, "Oh, you ARE home. What's going on, what are we doing? Are we getting together this weekend?" So I simply reiterated my understanding based on my last conversation with the middle sis -- that everyone's coming here Sunday. Then she starts asking if she should come by to see us, confusing me even more. I ask "When?" She says well you tell me because husband said this or that day wasn't good... blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile, I'm trying to get the kids out the door to school, so I said I'd have to talk to her later. I put a note on husband's briefcase to please call his mom and figure this out. I am NOT getting involved in this circus. I just realized what the problem here really is. husband's mom has made all those kids a bunch of co-dependent freaks. She makes a wish and they all run around jumping through hoops to make it happen for her! And instead of her taking control or being direct about what she wants, she forces these people to try to figure it out themselves and take control of things when it really isn't for them to do, and they end up looking like asses because they're trying to manipulate a situation instead of just being straightforward about what they want and asking people for help. No wonder the middle sis is frustrated. She's trying to control and organize something that's not even at her house! If mother in law had simply called husband and said, "I'd like to get together with everyone for our bdays, can we do it at your house?" then we could have taken a lead role in this. But now it's a circus with three sisters trying to coordinate this for their mom at our house without even talking to us. It's just plain crazy. So if you've read this far, I owe you a cup of coffee so you can stay awake!