When our oldest son was a freshman in high school, we decided as a family that instead of having a high school graduation party, we would spend the money sending him on a mission trip overseas for a month. When we told my in-laws, my mother-in-law got upset and insisted that we had to have a party for him. Several times we brought it up, making our decision clear to them and each time my in-laws objected angrily. We sent out Graduation announcements stating we were not having a party or reception. My mother-in-law invited 25 people to our house to have cake after the Graduation and without our permission. She mentioned it to our 17 year old son, who was put in an awkward situation and wasn't comfortable with telling her no (he knew she would get upset). When we found out about it, we told her that we already had other plans for after the Graduation. She said, "Well it won't be an all afternoon thing - we'll just be there for an hour or two." We are not happy because we had plans to go to an upscale restaurant to celebrate our other child's 16th birthday and then take him shopping to choose his birthday gift, and now we have had to cancel our plans. The Graduation begins at 1:00 p.m. and will likely end around 3:00 p.m. Then photos will take about an hour. Then we would drive home to change get on the road around 4:30 p.m. and drive to the city arriving around 6:00 pm. That would have given us an hour for our son to shop around for a birthday gift. Our reservation was for 7:30 p.m. There isn't time for a 1- 2 hour party. The restaurant did not have a later reservation time available. My in-laws NEVER just stay an hour or two, plus they never help do the prep work or clean up, and they always make a mess whenever they come to our home. They are arguing that they have a right to celebrate the Graduation (we agree), but they aren't respecting that it is our decision not to have a party or reception at our home after the Graduation. I already tried to suggest they have one (Memorial Day is the day after Graduation) on Monday at their home, but they won't listen. Our home is being remodeled (the entire house!) plus we don't have extra money to pay for beverages or ice-cream or any other items that will be needed to host a party of 25 people. What's even worse is that they made their own guest list and invited everyone already! I have learned it is better to keep quiet when my in-laws are in their overbearing "control-freak" mode because ever since we got married and began to try to live our own lives, they have turned against me and made me out to be the bad guy whenever my husband and I don't do something exactly how they tell us. My husband doesn't like it either, but he is at a loss for how to let them know that they are overstepping the boundaries and disrespecting us. Any suggestions?
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