Gifts for grandkids are left behind at grandma’s house

Published 2:56 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2020

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DEAR ABBY: I raised my kids right as a single mom. I took pride in supporting them and giving them what they needed and wanted.
I have a daughter who lives out of town with her husband and children. I don’t get to see them often, so I love buying them gifts that are waiting for them when they get here. For the kids’ birthdays and holidays, I always have nice gifts for them, too.
For the past few years, my daughter has refused to take any of the gifts home with her, so the toys sit in my spare rooms. She smirks and laughs when someone says something about leaving behind the gifts I buy. She and her husband stay at my house when they visit, so the kids play with their toys then.
I’m hurt by her lack of appreciation and have decided to stop buying anything for the kids on holidays or birthdays. I don’t enjoy giving monetary gifts. I want to see the kids’ faces when they open a present and play with it. Would it be wrong for me to just stop buying gifts? — GENEROUS GRANNY IN OHIO
DEAR GENEROUS GRANNY: This is something you should discuss with your daughter. Could it be that your grandchildren have so many toys at home that there isn’t room for more?
I’m not sure why your daughter would “smirk and laugh” when “someone” mentions the gifts left behind when your family leaves. That kind of behavior is rude. But I don’t think children should be punished for something their parent does. To deny them gifts on birthdays and Christmas because of it would be petulant and a mistake.
DEAR ABBY: My mother is close to death. I haven’t had contact with her in 30 years. While we were growing up and even into adulthood, she was incredibly abusive, neglectful and manipulative. She didn’t provide the basic needs of food and clothing for us. She prioritized her boyfriend over us kids and engaged in crazy behavior. She would chase us with knives, walk around naked and expect us to accompany her to throw garbage on her boyfriend’s car.
I’m not a bad person. I don’t wish any harm on her, but she’s not part of my life for a reason. As she approaches death, how do I deal with this? No one should die alone. None of my siblings want anything to do with her, either. What do I even say? — POST-TRAUMATIC IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR POST-TRAUMATIC: What do you even say … to WHOM? To the person who informed you that your mother has little time left? To your mother if you choose to be with her? Are you sure your mother wants you there?
Because you asked for my advice, I am suggesting that you may have fewer regrets — and less anger, righteous as it may be — if you are with her at the end. You don’t have to say anything more than, “Mom, I’m here for you,” if you don’t wish to. From your description of her, your mother may have had serious emotional problems for much of her life. Please allow me to offer my sympathy.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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