I know, I know, I said I would talk about this topic a while ago. But, you have to agree, the stories about the bad days were pretty funny! Such good material should never be put on hold for lesser items that are promised, so dear reader, you were forced to wait.
On the topic of gifts. I think the final straw for me was when I got yelled at for not acknowledging a gift I had gotten about 7 years ago. My Dad had died, I had started a new full time job, I had company for 6 weeks, my child had surgery, and well, I was a little overwhelmed by everything. I didn't immediately send off a thank you note and about 3 weeks later heard about it. I still planned a surprise party, that wasn't a surprise for my SIL, and did a few other nice things. But, for me, it was over.
My husband's family is different than mine. I am older now and I appreciate them for what they are and try really hard to ignore the things that they aren't. I do not know what grace it takes for them to deal with me.
Anyway, my brother in law's wife does not send out any of the gifts to his family. I always assumed that after they got married she would participate in that activity. She did only to the extent that she tempered his generosity, but otherwise, nothing. Don't get me wrong I am not complaining, just stating the fact. BIL sends out all the cards and gifts for the birthdays, etc.
After about a year of this, I stopped doing it too. There seemed to be a lot of wisdom in this philosophy! I had a lot of hurt feelings about the whole gift giving topic, so it really made sense that Bob should remember his family. The problem is that Bob sucks at doing this. The man owns a card company and he still doesn't sent out stuff to his own family. I remind, I nag, but I refuse to do it. As a result, they now don't send me anything. They punish me for my husband's failure. I point that out to him, when I nag, remind and generally harp on him like a shrew to remember. He doesn't. Short of doing it myself, which opens up an whole other bag of worms, it won't happen.
So, here we are... I do the cousins, under 18, because if I didn't he would either completely forget them or send Ivanhoe to a 3 year old. So, I suck it up and do it, because it would hurt my kids if their aunts, uncles and cousins forgot them.
This year it is going to be super hard, because my kids really aren't getting anything from us, because we can't afford it. It is not likely that I can send super nice gifts to all the cousins. I really don't know what to do. I don't want folks to take it out on my kids because we are poor, and handmade gifts have generally not met with approval. So, we will try and scrape something together. I have saved some of my birthday money to buy gifts for the cousins and my kids. Frankly, I needed underwear, so there really isn't enough of that left at this point. Maybe Bob will have a job by then, even so, it won't mean that their will be any money. We will have past debts to pay and other commitments to meet. Baby needs orthodontia!
Gifts are my love language. They mean that I am loved and appreciated by the people around me, so giving them and getting them is really important to me. The easiest way to hurt me is to forget my birthday. This is why I struggle with this so much. Granted I love my kids best, that is the way of nature, but I want to remember their cousins, because we love them too.
So, I try and stretch the meager amount that the state expects a family of 5 to live on, and hope that some where out of the sky, I find some gifts for the cousins and hopefully my kids. God has been good to us so far, perhaps this will continue.