Gifts are not an entitlement
Dear Annie : After two months, I am still upset with my father-in-law. My two daughters recently married, and the weddings were six weeks apart. My in-laws gave us a nice sum of money to help us with the weddings. We were very grateful and told them so.
Right before the first wedding, my husband lost his job. In order to finish paying for the second wedding, we had to ask my father-in-law to lend us more money. He said, “Sure. I want to give the girls what they want.”
Here’s what happened: At Christmas, my father-in-law sent small amounts of money to me, my husband and our son with a note saying, “We thought it would be OK to pass on the girls this year.” The money is such a small amount that it didn’t matter, but I cannot get over the fact that he took out our financial difficulties on them.
I am so mad, I could scream. I have to see my father-in-law at a family event this weekend and don’t think I can be civil. This man showered his daughter’s children with cars for graduation that mine never got. I slept on this before writing and am angrier now than when I went to bed. At the moment, I don’t want to ever see him again.
Dear Washington: The fact that Dad is unfair in his gift giving is a legitimate issue, but that doesn’t mean your children are entitled to receive gifts from him. You refer to the wedding money as “loans,” but Dad apparently considered them his wedding gifts to his granddaughters. If so, he was generous, and the girls should know. If they were actual loans and you are repaying the money, we agree that Dad should have treated your family equally at Christmas.
Either way, it serves no purposes to stew in silence. Talk to your husband and then to Dad, together. Try to be nice. We doubt he intended to be unkind.
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