Monday, January 03, 2005

What is a gift?

What exactly is a gift?

I went and looked it up tonight. According to Webster's, a gift is defined as the following:

Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.
The act, right, or power of giving.
A talent, endowment, aptitude, or inclination.

Someone needs to explain that to my mother. This post will be classified as a vent, because I'm just so darn irritated and my feelings are hurt!

For Christmas, my mother told me not to get her anything. She even emailed me to be emphatic. Pursuant to her wishes, I didn't get her anything and sent her a card. I told her also not to get me anything, which of course she ignored. The day after Christmas, we received a card in the mail with a check for $100. In the memo line, she wrote, "E and P-Xmas".

Am I right to assume that this money is mine to do with it what I will?

Apparently I assumed WRONG. P and I took the money she gave us (sort of...we hadn't cashed the check yet), a check from my great-uncle, the rest of my bonus from my company for doing that on-call nonsense during the holiday week, and the giftcard to Best Buy from my father and stepmother, and bought a Sony surround sound system for our living room on sale this past weekend. P has been drooling over them for quite some time, so it's not like we made a rash decision. And the sound system that was there previously? It was an old stereo that I got in high joke! (It's now back in my bedroom and desperately needs a cleaning.) My point in going into details is just to illustrate that this was NOT a spur of the moment purchase. P and I never take trips or do anything's for occasions such as this. And we watch a lot of movies!

So tonight, I'm instant-messaging with Mom on AOL and I casually mention to her what her gift went toward. I instantly get a lecture that I should have used that check on bills or saving for future events. Over the computer. And then she proceeds to tell me that spending money on material items does not buy happiness.

Exsqueeze me? Baking powder? Since WHEN do gifts come with instruction manuals??????? Since WHEN do I have to justify anything to her? Granted, yes, I've been shopping a little bit more than usual lately, but so the f*&^ what?

Please keep in mind that this is NOT the first time that my mother has pulled a stunt like this and made an insensitive comment (I won't even touch the comments she made while I was pregnant and after my miscarriage), but it's the first time in a long time that she's made me feel like a fourteen-year-old asking for permission to buy a CD.

At first I was very incredulous and asked her if she was kidding...when she told me that she wasn't, I immediately ended the conversation and told her that I would send back the check tomorrow and not to send me ANY MORE money. And I meant it. The check is already sealed up in an envelope and I'm sending it back. She and her husband have like 350,000 Frequent Flyer miles and they were going to give me some to use on a flight to North Carolina to visit them and my oldest dearest friend, but now, forGET it. There is no way I would accept that now after what she said to me. I do not need to justify anything that I buy or do. It's no one's business but mine! I'm an adult, I work very hard, and if I want to buy a surround system (a reasonably priced one at that), I should be allowed to without being subjected to judgement!

At first, it really hurt my feelings and I cried...I couldn't believe that she had said something like that to me, just when I'm starting to kind of get it together emotionally...and then I just got plain mad. P, of course, had no reaction...he came to the conclusion long ago that my mother just has no social skills, plain and simple.

Wish it were that simple for me. I'm VERY angry, hurt and disappointed, and I'm SO SICK of my mother making comments to criticize what I do with my money. When I told her that P and I were starting a family, I got a thirty-minute lecture about how P and I really just can't afford to have children. Uh, who CAN afford to have children when the average cost of a college education is like $100K right now? That's SO not the point, and if P and I wait until we can afford to have children, it'll never happen!

Anyway. That's the current drama in my life at the moment. Grr. Am I just totally nutso here or am I justified in being upset? Please, share your opinions!

Otherwise, I'm fine. Dell will be out in the morning tomorrow to replace my motherboard. I was able to borrow a loaner laptop from the office and switch out the hard drives (mine is intact, thank GOD), and work is...well, it's going along. I broke a nail today, it rained cats and dogs, I actually got my fat butt on the treadmill for 20 minutes of steep incline walking, and stitching is going just swimmingly!

Off to bed...thanks for checking in with me. I'm horribly behind on my blog reading...must change that this week and see what's what with everyone!

Also, a special shout-out to my dad is his birthday! Happy birthday, Dad...hope your day was special!


Blogger Kiwi Jo said...

Good grief!!! I would be upset too (((Hugs)))

5:37 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

Yeesh parents! I hope that I never treat my kids like that when thery're grown, and if I do please beat me! Gifts are for what the receiver chooses to use them for, and I don't blame you for sending the check back! Now if you'd specifically stated that in lieu of a traditional gift (i.e. dinner out for your birthday) that you would prefer the money to fill your freezer or pay bills during a tough time, then I could understand her reaction, but it doesn't sound like you'd said anything like that. {{Hugs}}

6:26 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I am so sorry for this drama in your life right now, when you don't really need any more. I know what you mean though it's not my mom, it's my MIL. I hope things will get better for you once she sees how much she's upset you.

6:32 AM  
Blogger Belinda said...

Oh good grief... I think you're quite justified in being upset! If it had strings attached, they should have been stated up front!


6:49 AM  
Blogger Mia said...

Gosh, Erica. You have every right to be upset. I would be too. For all you have been through, your mom could have had a little more compassion. A gift is a gift to do with as you wish. It is a shame that some don't see it or don't get it. (((((HUGS)))))

6:54 AM  
Blogger Terri said...

Let's hope your mom and my mom never meet! My husband has told me to NOT answer the phone when she calls, because she can get me so wound up! LOL Hugs.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Thermalgal said...


9:00 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Geez! Mothers! Sometimes they have no tact at all. Can't they understand we're adults now, and make our own decisions? I have mother - troubles too, but mostly it's DH's mom. Mine can raise hell sometimes too, though, so I feel your pain!

9:25 AM  
Blogger WhizGidget said...

Aw... Moms are just clueless sometimes - take it from a sometimes clueless mom.

Giving a monetary gift without strings and then criticizing you for how you spent that gift is completely out of line. If she wanted the money to go towards your bills then she should have found a way to pay them on your behalf, and make *that* the gift.


10:25 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

That's just wrong. You have every right to be angry. I don't know how you stand it. Hang in there, and enjoy your surround sound! I'm so jealous!!!! LOL

1:18 PM  
Blogger Suz said...

I'm sorry your mother had to be like that. My grandmother is like that, too. To show her what he thought about it, my father sent *me* her Christmas check to him one year. When she got it back, cashed with my signature she had a hissy fit and he gave her a good lecture. She hasn't sent him money since.

Amazing how people think that gifts should have strings attached, isn't it? Don't let your mother get you down.


8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

((((Erica)))) I'm sorry your mom made you feel that way. I can relate, to some of it anyway. I won't get into it here but over the years my mother had said some terrible things to me (esp. when I was pregnant with DS, so that comment in your blog hit a nerve I guess!). You and your husband have every right to spend your money how you see fit and as long as you aren't a financial burden on someone else, which you are NOT, then it is no one elses business. You've had a rough time over the last couple months, and no buying stuff doesn't make everything better, but sometimes indulging in something nice for yourself can help take your mind off of things a little bit.

Anyway, enjoy your new sound system and don't let her get to you. You will be an excellent mother when the time comes and don't let her ever make you feel otherwise!!

Jill (in CA)

9:51 AM  
Blogger kg said...

oh man! I'm sorry your mom is so rude, E. She's totally out of line, trying to tell you how to spend your money. It is *polite* of you to tell her what you spent it on, but she shouldn't criticize it at all - it just isn't her place.

((hugs)) and hope you feel better soon!


11:40 AM  
Blogger LittleRach said...

I think you've every right to be upset. Your money - you do with it as you like. If she didn't want you to spend it on what you want, she shouldn't have given it to you. {{{hugs}}}

4:13 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Oh hon, I'm sorry, You really didn't need taht sort of stress, now did you? As my father's daughter, I *so* get what you are going though. Unfortunately, as you darn well know, there's no changing some people. Send back the check and move on.

8:10 PM  

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