They're close friends so they feel free to ask: Are you still paying your daughter's airfare? Like me, one of their grown children was living on the other coast. Their son moved there for graduate school, married a fellow student. Money was tight; kids were being born. My friends could afford the air fare, and they wanted to see their son and his children. They picked up the tab for trips across the country--for holidays and for summer vacations at their home on Cape Cod. Now, ten years later, both son and daughter-in-law have good jobs, their kids are in school so day care costs are down. My friends figure grown children should be able to pay their own way.
They mentioned it to their son, and he said "No." Well, not in those words. He's a very nice and thoughtful young man. But he said that money was short--he and his wife are renovating their house and had some other big bills to pay. Trips across the country for two adults and two children were too much for his budget.
OK. But my friends are on the verge of retirement and not feeling quite as financially easy as they had been about forking over $1,200+ each time their son and his family comes home--which is two to three times a year.
It's a predicament. We all want our kids to come home for visits and to enjoy vacations with them, but when a long and expensive flight is involved, what's fair?