Sunday, December 19, 2010

What to Give the Person You Love But Don't Like

Suppose there is someone--a family member, or, maybe, a longtime friend--with whom you've had a strong and loving relationship and to whom you have to give Christmas gifts.

Then suppose that for some valid reason--addiction, mental illness, criminal behavior--it's become impossible to like this person even though you still love them.

What IS the perfect gift for the person you care about, but no longer care for?

Sadly, some of us get to contemplate that question this year.

My second daughter, whom I adopted when she was 11, has had a chaotic life. Too many truly evil things happened to her in her first 10 years to make the next 25 years easy. In addition to a high level of continued emotional disturbance, 2010 was the year she turned to methamphetamines. That led to the state removing her children and placing them with their fathers.

She has yet to address her addictions.

Right now, she is angry at the judicial system, angry at the world in general, and, in particular, angry at me.

Needless to say, I'm not very happy with her, either.

But she IS my daughter. And I've never NOT given my children Christmas presents.

So--what to give her?

She could use a good pair of shoes, but the last time I bought her a pair of Nikes, she turned around and sold them. Ditto for any electronics.

I could save my money and skip the gifts for her.

Or I could be snarky and donate money in her name to some treatment program.

In the end, I got her socks, underwear, pajamas and a robe. My thought was that these were quintessential 'mother' gifts, having the requisite intimacy that befits a loved family member without spending a fortune or making it easy for her to come up with money for drugs.

Next year I hope to do better for her. But first, she has to do better herself.


Anonymous said...

*hug* I'm so sorry. I hope she is willing to get the help she needs soon.

Sharon said...

You are an angel, for sure. And I believe you chose the perfect gift for your daughter. Here's hoping 2011 will bring her back to you without the drugs. Blessings and hugs to you this Christmas season!!

LC said...

Insightful and loving gifts. Prayers for you, daughter, her children and their fathers.

Anonymous said...

We've had that same issue with one of our kids in the past and came up with grocery store gift cards.

I think you came up with a great solution and hope the situation gets better as ours did.

Merry Christmas!

Grace. said...

I thought giftcards to specific stores were a perfect idea, but it turns out most places will let you get cash for the card--my daughter figured that out very quickly.

The Saved Quarter said...

What a tough situation. Socks and underwear are a good option - necessary and can't be resold so easily. I hope she gets the help she needs.