"A little over two years ago, I won a raffle at my job for an all-expense-paid family vacation. It wasn't some super fancy prize to Disneyland or anything crazy like that. It was just a nice three-day stay at this little beach house inn. Of course, I asked my boyfriend at the time to go, but he couldn't take off time from school. I had wanted to take my single friends and make it a 'girl's trip' type deal, but they either couldn't because of work or other responsibilities at the time, which I was sad about but understood. Since that plan was a bust, I had decided to see if my sister and her two little kids wanted to come. I didn't want to waste the tickets. Well, I went down to visit my family that weekend, intent on asking my sister if they would want to come. But the longer I was there, the more I hated the idea. By the time I was packing up to go home, I knew I wasn't inviting them. I love my niece and nephew, but they were super bratty back then because my sister never disciplines them. She lets them get into everything and never watches them unless someone (either me or our mom) yells at her to get off her butt and watch them. So I didn't mention the trip and just said goodbye before leaving.
The next day, I called my good friend Megan because she has two well-behaved kids, and she's a single working mom who I figured could use a vacation. I asked if she would be free for several days and she was, so I offered to invite her along with me on this vacation if she would pay for the gas to get us all to/from there. I would pay for the food for us to/from there, and she happily agreed. We went and had a blast. I got a pretty good tan, we ate lots of buffet food, swam at the beach, and did fun family-friendly activities all weekend before coming back. Her kids are super sweet, and it didn't feel like I was babysitting at all, even when I was helping Megan with them. After I got home, I posted some pictures I took, and before lunch even rolled around on my first day back at work, my sister was blowing up my phone. I knew ignoring her calls would just prolong the inevitable, so I answered.
I barely got past my 'hey' before she was asking me how the heck I could afford a vacation. I told her it was a raffle prize, she asked who won, me or my friend, and I said I did. She proceeded to flip out, demanding to know why I hadn't invited her. I was honest and said because I didn't want to end up babysitting her kids for my entire vacation. She got mad and called me some very rude names, then said I knew she 'needed a vacation,' and then hung up on me before I could reply. I just sighed and continued working. Later, while I was leaving work, our Mom called me, asking why I had promised my niece and nephew I would take them on vacation. I said I never told them I would. I hadn't even spoken to them since the last time I visited. Turns out my sister told them we were all supposed to go on a beach vacation together, but I ruined it and now they didn't get to go. So my niece and nephew sobbed all day, and it took our mom ages to get them to stop crying long enough to explain what was wrong. I told my mom my side of the story, and she said I was mean to not invite my family. But she dropped it after I said I told her I didn't invite them because I didn't feel like babysitting my whole vacation. Mom also tore into my sister for lying to her and also hurting her kids' feelings like that. I wasn't there, but my mom said my sister threw a huge fit and basically trash-talked me all afternoon.
The only thing I really felt bad about was my sister getting my niece and nephew's hopes up like that. But to cheer them up, I took them the next weekend to a kid's play place. They're always on their best behavior with me, because they know I don't play like their mom, and I turn my car around and take them home if they're bratty. They got to eat pizza, play games, climb this huge indoor jungle gym thing, and even ride a couple of kiddie rides. I also sat down with them while they ate and explained the trip I went on was for me and my friend, and they wouldn't have liked it because it got so hot and sweaty. They handled it very well, no tears or anything!"