Although I live in close proximity to my son and his family, I rarely get invited to events. That is partly because I am a regular part of their daily life, so when it comes to holidays and weekends, they need to spend time with the rest of the family. Thus, it was extra special to be invited on a mini vacation for Spring Break to accompany the family on a road trip to San Antonio. But the destination made it problematic: they were going to Sea World.
Fortunately, my son was sensitive enough to suggest I may want to hang out at the hotel while they went to the Aqua Prison. I knew there were family members who had been wanting to go to Sea World for the past year or two. If I went, it would also mean having to figure out where to leave my feline roommate, since my son is the one who normally cares for her when I need to go out of town. It is priceless to be a part of a family, but hanging out solo in a hotel somehow misses the point of it all. These are the times that try the vegan soul.
Refusing to Participate
I know that for people who are not part of the vegan community, my choices may seem odd; I am sure it would be easier for my son if I were just a Mainstream Mom who didn’t have to make these kinds of decisions. But to leave the animal that most depends upon me to attend an event where animals are suffering seemed to be a poor trade-off. It is always good to get away, but this particular event seemed like it would only emphasize the barriers between my family and my own beliefs.
I decided to decline the invitation, let my son know how much it meant to be asked, and will hope that in the future they can decide to do something celebratory that does not require the suffering, death or imprisonment of animals. Progress sometimes feels agonizingly slow – last year I was asked to stay home from my grandson’s birthday because they were fishing; this year I was not only included, but taken along with the family. But whatever the personal price I might pay, it is important for my children and grandchildren to know I am a person of principle, even if it makes me odd, different, or excluded at times. They already know, it is not about me not loving them, but rather is not about them at all. It is about what is fair and what is just. Sometimes, all one can do is refuse to participate — even if what you are avoiding is a family vacation.