So this morning, I'm sipping my coffee and indulging in my guilty pleasure - advice columns. I come across Ask Amy, a syndicated advice giver, I think out of Chicago, who answered a letter from a quilter. I'll let you read it here , but I'll post it below as well.
"DEAR AMY: My 27-year-old son and his wife are expecting our first
grandchild this summer. I am over the moon. As a gift for the baby, I
made a beautiful, meaningful patchwork quilt.
Not only did I not
receive a “thanks” or “I like it,” but I was told that I would need to
run any further gifts past them to make sure they would need it. My son
went on to say that they do not have a lot of extra space to store
"This quilt was made with only one thing in mind —
showing my grandchild how much I care. How should I handle my feelings
of rejection and disappointment? Do I continue to send gifts with the
hope that they meet parental approval?
"Or should I send gifts of cash, which I am loath to do? -- Quilter in a Quagmire
QUILTER: I can understand how disappointed you must feel, but you have
spun this disappointment into a massive dilemma about gift-giving. You
might be someone who wraps your considerable positive and powerful
feelings into quilts, gifts and other material things. This abundance of
kindness can create unintended pressure for a couple who haven’t even
become parents yet.
"You should determine to give this new baby the
most important thing of all — an easy and loving relationship with you.
Nothing further is required."
Wow. Just wow. I mean, when does abundance of kindness expressed through a quilt equal pressure? In short, Amy's suggestion in handling feelings of rejection and disappointment was to blame the quilter for wanting to show kindness in a way that makes sense to her. I'm trying to think as I type here, but here's the thing. This guy is her son, who is my own son's age. If his mom is like any of us, then he has to know his mom is an enthusiastic quilter. He should be anticipating that she is going to want to make a quilt for any baby he brings into this world. But to order his mother to run gift ideas past them first?
Help me, dear readers, She sent a quilt, probably a 36" x 54" baby quilt. She didn't send a treadmill, or a Magic Bullet drink mixer that takes up an entire kitchen cabinet with all of its connectable parts. While I sympathize with the space dilemma a young couple starting a family might face as this is a common scenario that so many of us go through, his answer made no logical sense. He and his wife will find out soon enough that babies will take up more space than they will ever have, even if they live in a mansion. I think his answer reflects a painful underlying dynamic here, and that is why this good quilter feels so rejected.
So I ask you - have you ever given a gift where you spent considerable amount of time and maybe money only to have it so summarily rejected the way this son rejected his mother's gift? If you were to give this good woman advice, what would you suggest she do to overcome her feelings of rejection? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.