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After the worst weekend with my parents, my mom intentionally canceled our flights without warning. We were stranded at the airport.

My parents live quite far away, making visits a bit challenging. We usually split the costs, with me covering the rental car, hotel, and expenses, while my mom takes care of the airline tickets. It has worked out fine before, but this time things took a turn.

When we arrived at my mom’s house, we discovered that my daughter would be sleeping on a yoga mat, and my son and I would be sharing a foam roller. I jokingly suggested buying blow-up mattresses, but my mom got upset, so I dropped the idea. We thought we could tough it out for five days on the floor.

On the third day, my mom had my son mow her horse paddocks and do other chores, and then she insisted we go to the community pool. We had already been swimming multiple times, and we weren’t in the mood, especially since it was a crowded holiday weekend. My son and I clearly expressed that we didn’t want to swim, but my daughter said she would put her feet in the water since I had done her hair that morning.

Once we arrived at the pool, my mom and stepdad started pressuring my daughter to swim, even though she had insisted on just sitting by the edge. They made her go into the pool to dunk her head underwater, and made her feel scared and uncomfortable. She couldn’t find me or her brother in the crowded pool, so she endured about 10 minutes of pretending to have fun. When she finally told me what happened, I was furious.

I confronted my parents about their actions, but their response was far from satisfactory. They dismissed my daughter’s feelings, brushed off the harm caused by making her go into the pool, and insisted that she was fine and enjoying herself. I knew I had to stand up against this, even if it came from family, so I packed up my kids and left. My parents forced my kids to hug them goodbye and criticized me for teaching them to “run away.”

We rushed to the airport, only to discover that our flights had been cancelled. It was a devastating moment, but the customer service team was kind enough to help me secure new tickets. Unfortunately, one ticket had already been resold. The situation left me in tears, as I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving one of my kids behind. Thankfully, the agent provided a solution by offering one business class ticket at no additional charge. We weren’t stranded, but my husband, who didn’t come on this trip, was furious at my mom for putting our children in such a situation. He has decided to cut off her access to them, and I can’t help but agree, considering the emotional manipulation and control she has displayed over the years.

Now my kids have blocked her on all platforms, and I’m contemplating whether to send her a message detailing the consequences of her actions and then blocking her completely. I’m still unsure about the best course of action. The amount of money I had to spend just to ensure our safe return was exorbitant, but the most important thing was getting home to the unconditional love of my husband’s parents.

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