Carolyn Hax: The bride accepts her family’s heirlooms, but not his

Adapted from online discussion.

Dear Carolyn, My son and his wife are expecting their first child next month. Earlier I offered them a lot of furniture and nursery items that I had saved since my son was a baby. My daughter-in-law replied that their space was so limited (a two bedroom apartment) that they were trying to keep nursery items to a minimum and unfortunately they would not be able to take those items. I accepted it.

Last week we visited them in person and the nursery has quite a few items from our bride’s mother. When I asked her about it, DIL said with a roll of her eyes that her mother had been given the same instructions not to send anything — but she was sending things anyway, and now DIL felt unable to throw away the family heirlooms. She thanked me for being “the parent who respected their wishes.”

But I’m disappointed! I followed the rules and now my family heirlooms will end up in a landfill, while my DIL’s family heirlooms will be in my granddaughter’s room, creating a sense of connection and family history.

I would like to speak to my DIL again about accepting some of my items. Am I out of line?

Disappointed: Yes. Way. Or, you’re tempted to be.

The only “sense of connection and family history” that matters is the one you create by rocking your beautiful grandchild. Experiences, not things. If you choose this struggle over the imposition of competitive things, then you risk that most important thing. And why; Seriously. The “parent who respected their wishes” is father-in-law Olympic gold. Or DIL is a smooth operator, but still.

If I could, I would go back to your son’s childhood and advise you not to save any babies, except for your own use as souvenirs — not if you plan to bubble wrap the items with your expectations. That just leaves too much of your happiness in other people’s hands, changing tastes, changing safety standards, square footage challenges, and countless other things you could never control.

But I can’t go back, so I will advise you to stop competing with DIL’s family now. Immediately and permanently. And if you can’t, then make an appointment with someone who can help you do it. The proposition you’re weighing is lose-lose-lose (DIL’s good graces-your son’s support-your grandbubble’s sweet presence). Leave. I am going.

If the material meets current safety standards, then specifically let it go to needy parents. Make your first call to a local emergency shelter. What a great gift your nursery supplies would make.

Tell The Post: Has your child ever said something scary?

Re: Heirlooms: Feel free to use all of these items in your home (as long as they are still safe). This way the grandchild will experience them and you don’t burden the parents with unwanted objects.

Anonymous: Oh, right — the idea of ​​kindergarten away from home. Just don’t set it up and pin all your hopes on them coming to use it. This is just Expectations 2.0. Better to wait and see if they visit enough to warrant it, then make a nursery.

Thoughts from other readers:

  • Why focus on the other mother going above and beyond when that’s literally the opposite of what DIL wanted – meaning these items might make DIL cringe with sadness instead of creating a positive connection? Get the brownie points instead.
  • Speaking as a seventh grandchild: You’ve kept them so long, so why not a little longer? There may be more grandchildren, they may have more space, they may throw away the things they have or lose them in a divorce or disaster or any of a million other things.

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