Gransnet forums


Unwanted Gift

(115 Posts)
Alexa Sun 30-Aug-20 08:29:30

My son brought me birthday presents. One of those is a large cushion from one of his ex-wives. He helped her to choose it for me in one of those quite expensive village gift shops.

When he presented it to me on my birthday I liked the cushion and expressed lots of appreciation for the kind and pretty gift. I almost never meet this ex daughter in law in person, although we like each other well enough.

Unfortunately, later on I could find no use for the cushion which is too large for my only chair . I don't have a sofa, as I live downstairs and inhabit a small area with no space for things I don't currently use. I wondered if I could return the cushion so she can get a refund but thought better not as ex daughter in law is very busy moving house and has a busy social life.
My son discovered the cushion in the cupboard and was insulted on his ex-wife's behalf and said I ought to have said immediately i did not like cushion, instead of "throwing it in a cupboard" and he told me the correct form of words for refusing a gift.
This conversation went on for about two hours during which he compared my behaviour unfavourably with two of his ex-wives. I felt sad he'd harangue me like this.. I asked him what he would like, and he said in future tell him immediately if I don't like a present, then he could change it or return it.. I was puzzled as I had last week said to him I did not have a use for a grass rake he bought for me, and he was offended by my not needing a grass rake and insisted I keep it.

And Xmas is coming on! I fear he'd be offended if I said in advance please to not buy me anything. I am difficult to buy anything for as I have enough clothing and household stuff, and my clothing size is a problem anyway.

What worries me and kept me awake last night is how I can be a good mother to my son when he takes offence like this.

Oopsadaisy4 Sun 30-Aug-20 08:43:33

Firstly, put the cushion on your bed, it’s out of the way and you can put it on the floor or in the cupboard at night.
Secondly, not liking a gift has absolutely nothing to do with being a good mother, you were brought up to be good mannered and to say ‘thank you’ for a gift you aren’t keen on.
Your son is the one with the problem not you.
Don’t worry about Christmas gifts yet, if he doesn’t ask you what you would like then he has the problem not you.
It’s a pity your son doesn’t have your good manners, just ignore it.

Oopsadaisy4 Sun 30-Aug-20 08:44:45

PS, don’t ever, ever let him harangue you for 2 hours, he is your son and should be put firmly into his place.

B9exchange Sun 30-Aug-20 08:46:07

Two hours going on and on about your not liking a present does seem excessive, does he do this about other things?

It does sound as though he is an 'I know best' type of lad. I have one of those! Treading on eggshells to keep the peace is my way to deal with it, but I know others wouldn't take that approach.

I suggest regarding presents that you do as we do, and issue a short list to be circulated of things that we would like for Christmas. You must be able to think of something, even if it is a subscription for a guide dog puppy or a goat for Africa! I would never dream of just handing back a present, I would be extremely hurt if someone did that, it would feel as though all the thought I had put into it meant nothing. If it was the wrong size or colour I would just change it without saying anything, most shops will do that around Christmas time. If you absolutely loathe something, then give it to a charity shop, but please don't return it.

NotSpaghetti Sun 30-Aug-20 08:47:03

I think this is a strange and somewhat fraught situation but if you are worried about the next gift I'd be sure to think of a few things you like so that you can start planting ideas.

It sounds to me that he's a bit controlling if he's making you keep a rake you don't want.. on the other hand, I'm not sure I'd be returning a gift if the relationship isn't so open and straightforward, either.

You say you were "told the correct form of words" for not accepting gifts. This is most unusual - is there a cultural difference here that is perhaps making things more complicated?

As I said, think of some small you would use that you will enjoy but which won't take up so much space. A perfume, nice soaps, a new nightdress or something for the garden maybe?

NotSpaghetti Sun 30-Aug-20 08:48:33

Sorry B9, crossed post.

Grandmabatty Sun 30-Aug-20 08:50:32

He doesn't live with you so should have absolutely no say in what you do with stuff in your own house. He sounds like a bit of a bully to me, going on at you for two hours! Adult children can forget that their parents can make their own decisions. I fail to see what you did was worthy of offence anyway. You were appreciative of the gift at the time. He needs to get over himself

Baggs Sun 30-Aug-20 08:53:05

Not really surprising he has more than one ex-wife if haranguing is what he does about such little things. Tell him to stop being so rude.

MerylStreep Sun 30-Aug-20 08:54:50

Sounds like he's the one with a problem. 2 ex wives mmm.

aggie Sun 30-Aug-20 09:00:02

Don’t even answer him ! Just give him a hard stare and turn the subject , the weather is a good distraction !

tickingbird Sun 30-Aug-20 09:35:30

Goodness me! All this over a cushion? Wanting to be a good mother and worried because your son harangues you for 2 hours over a cushion in a cupboard? I think your son sounds very overbearing and you mention two of his ex-wives. How many does he have?

Alexa Sun 30-Aug-20 10:08:45

My son is friendly and affectionate with all his ex wives, and treats them very well and they love him, and two of them know and like each other.
I do like the idea of thinking up small gifts I'd really like, especially a gift to an animal charity.

Thank you all very much for your moral support. I live alone and am really old and these things do prey on the mind, and I tend to blame myself.
He said during that horrid conversation that others have told him he is too sensitive. I think this is true, I do walk on eggshells sort of thing. I wish I could help him not to be over sensitive.
He places a lot of importance on gifts and other conventional things like that.
There is always some underlying cause. Maybe he thinks I don't love him.

eazybee Sun 30-Aug-20 10:09:04

Two ex-wives and he harangues you for two hours about a cushion?
Says a great deal about him, not your mothering skills.

That said, the gift seems kindly meant, so could you not put it on your bed and use it to prop you up when reading?

Alexa Sun 30-Aug-20 10:13:33

Oopsadaisy, this sounds ridiculous but I did actually put the cushion on my bed and it was nice there but the dog who sleeps on the bed during the day kept throwing it on to the floor.

Alexa Sun 30-Aug-20 10:16:31

And easybee too

henetha Sun 30-Aug-20 10:20:42

Isn't it strange how people take offence when none was intended. Your son was certainly a bit over the top, wasn't he.
We all receive gifts which we don't really want, occasionally in life.
I've got one of those huge cushions. It lives in the storage space under my bed.

DanniRae Sun 30-Aug-20 10:25:38

I really like the hard stare and change the subject suggestion. Well said aggie!

Alexa Sun 30-Aug-20 10:29:58

aggie, I am too given to explaining myself.

Callistemon Sun 30-Aug-20 10:30:39

Two hours going on and on about your not liking a present does seem excessive, does he do this about other things?

Sounds like he's the one with a problem. 2 ex wives mmm.

My immediate thought too!
No wonder he has two ex-wives.

Can you use the large cushion as a footstool, then pick it up and fling it on the sofa when you get up so you don't trip over it? It could be soft and cosy for your feet.

the dog who sleeps on the bed during the day kept throwing it on to the floor.
The dog doesn't find much use for it either then 😁

tickingbird Sun 30-Aug-20 10:37:55

Try not to let these things play on your mind. I’m sure your son does know you love him but, as you say you’re old, maybe HE is the one that needs to be more sensitive to your situation. You like the gift but it’s too large for your chair and if it’s on the floor there’s a danger you could trip over it.

EllanVannin Sun 30-Aug-20 10:39:17

I'd have thrown the damn cushion at him and told him to----go away grin

tickingbird Sun 30-Aug-20 10:40:47

Forgot to add you mention your son gets along with all of his ex-wives and two of them know and like each other. How many ex-wives does he actually have?

SilentGames Sun 30-Aug-20 10:43:49

I suppose one thing you could take from this is that whatever the gift is it shows you are thought of. We have three children and all married and as young families are, they choose to spend their money on themselves and children. They like designer clothes and all the things these families have and see as necessities like iPads and package tv services. We do not expect them to buy us expensive presents and a few years ago my husband said don’t worry about spending on us. Well they took it literally and we don’t receive birthday or Christmas gifts, fathers or Mother’s Day gifts and one of them does not even bother with cards. I’m not asking for much but to have something to open on Christmas or my birthday would be nice. My husband an I get one present at Christmas and that is from each other. The children and grandchildren get presents and quite expensive ones asked for and the eldest son also drop hints about us giving them money to do their big house up which they bought. So anyone who gets a gift at all is very lucky indeed.

Oopsadaisy4 Sun 30-Aug-20 10:46:50

Your sons ex wives all love him?? Really?

I think that you have put your son on a pedestal, time to firmly remove him and like someone else said throw the cushion at him.

Alternatively, if it was a nice cushion, give it back to him along with the measurements that would make it fit your small chair and get him to have it altered. Problem solved. I think this is about so much more than a cushion, more of him being a spoilt brat.

Chewbacca Sun 30-Aug-20 10:50:22

Put the cushion in the cupboard and pull it out to put on display when you know your son is due to visit. Sorted.
Son harangued you for 2 hours? Not sorted. You need to deal with that asap; not acceptable.