When you are given a gift from a family member, there is no excuse ever to get rid of it. And there is less than no excuse to be a bow hunter.
DEAR ABBY: Several years ago, when my daughter and her hubby were a young family with two boys, they gave me a large wall clock with sound, lighting and a wooded background with deer. It was a well-thought-out gift, as I was a bow deer hunter. I loved it and I’m sure they didn’t need to be spending money for a Christmas present for me.
My problem is we have since retired and moved. I no longer have a place to hang the clock, and it no longer goes with my decor. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, and it hurts me to think about getting rid of it. Would it be tacky to ask her if she would like it back, explaining my reasoning? An alternative would be to offer it to her sister who also lives in Florida now. If I were to do this, should I tell my gift-giving daughter? — GRATEFUL MOM IN FLORIDA
Abby’s Incorrect Advice:
DEAR MOM: When your daughter comes to visit, she will notice the clock is missing. Talk to her. Explain that since you have relocated, you no longer have room for the beautiful clock she gave you, and ask what she would like you to do with it — including offering it to her sister who might enjoy it as you did. There will be less guilt for you and fewer hurt feelings for your daughter if you keep everything open and aboveboard.
An Analysis of the Letter:
DEAR UNGRATEFUL MOTHER IN, EWW, FLORIDA: What is wrong with you? Your daughter sells a kidney and sends her children to public school so she can buy you a Christmas present, and you’re thinking about returning it to her?
First of all, what are you doing bow hunting? You are a mother of daughters, and nothing is so “tacky,” as you would say, as teaching them it is socially acceptable to go into the woods and shoot at animals with arrows as if you were, how shall I put this gently, some person native to our continent.
Every red-blooded American knows that the only way to cull the herd is with disproportionately gauged weaponry protected by the Second Amendment to our great Constitution. So yes, if you want to talk about tacky, my dear, you would be it.
Go right now and get yourself to your local weapons dealer and ask for the piece of Americana that is the .577 Tyrannosaur cartridge. Then forget about this stupid clock for a moment and take your entire family out to the woods and blast that bullet right through the head of the animal of your choosing. Bear. Deer. Squirrel. This thing will more than handle them all and not leave you looking like a silly amateur with pointy sticks in front of nearby hunters.
Back to the clock. Yes, the gift sounds atrocious and unsophisticated — a hallmark of those with connections to Florida. Yet no matter where you are from, there is no excuse for even considering returning a gift lovingly given by a family member.
Family is a gift from God the Most Awesome on High. The Bible is full of examples of functional, two-parent, Adam-and-Eve-not-Adam-and-Steve families not rooted in forced sex, human trafficking, wicked adultery or augmented by a bevy of concubines — couples such as…
Abraham and Sa….
Isaac and Rebek….
Jacob and Rach…
Paul and …
Well that is of no importance right now.
What is important is that you honor your daughter’s generosity by prominently displaying not only the clock but each and every thing she has given you since she was a little girl in preparatory preschool. Art projects, clay sculptures, dioramas in shoeboxes… everything! These are the true treasures in life, not your brand-new 2021 Mercedes-Maybach S Class or your second maid.
Furthermore, you talk about giving her the gift back and explaining your reasoning?
Who is the parent and who is the child here? I do not care how old she is right now. She is your offspring. Parents should never explain anything to a child. It leads to an improper sense of purpose and autonomy that must never be nurtured or encouraged.
Finally, you say you have retired and moved and no longer have a place for your daughter’s gift and that it no longer fits your decor? What kind of squalor did you retire to? Everyone knows that when one retires, one retires up. I wouldn’t even dream of retiring with my husband, Chaim, to an estate with anything less than double our current 8,918 square feet (not counting the guest house or the pool house.)
Did you actually downsize?
(Or the riding stables)
Retirement is the just reward for living righteously, and the mere suggestion that you have less square footage (or the gym) than your previous estate makes me seriously question the faithfulness of your walk.
As far as your decor, everyone knows that one wing of any home should be devoted to the things of the family — a wing that includes such rooms as the billiard room, the board-game room, the squash court, the sauna. Surely there is a piece of wall in one of these rooms for this hideous homage to your uncouth hobby.
An Analysis of Abby’s Flawed Advice:
Oh dear, Abby, how wrong you are. This ignoramus of an “advice-giver” bolsters your ignorant confidence by suggesting you “talk to” your daughter. That is a job for the nannies. Parents should not engage in unnecessary conversations with their children.
“Ask what she would like you do with it?”
I’ll tell you what you can do with that advice, Abby. You can shine it up and put it on the mantle over the conservatory fireplace under a sign that says “Dumbest Advice Ever Given.” Since when should a child ever determine the destiny of anything? To empower a daughter in a matter as important as this is to invite tyranny into the family, and we all know the only one authorized to do that is Chaim… I mean, the husband.
“Offer it to her sister,” you say?
To do so would be to sew discord among the children and invite what is all too prevalent today: Noise. No one wants to hear people fighting. It is messy, undignified and unnecessarily loud.
If you are wise, you will not do a thing that woman suggests!
The Correct Advice:
DEAR UNGRATEFUL MOTHER IN, EWW, FLORIDA: The advice Abby should have given you and that I will give you today is as simple as it is effective: Read.
Grab a good book and spend the time you would otherwise use thinking about disrespecting the family by figuring out a better hobby than bow hunting.
When I am tempted to think that perhaps being married to a man who is on the road 351 days a year and the mother a daughter who may or may not have poisoned the family cockapooitzu is a lifetime prison sentence and that I should take all of their photos down so they aren’t watching me… always… watching…
… I like to take a walk outside through the gardens and over the bridge to the other side of the lake to the gazebo by the wave pool and lay back with a good tome on sock knitting.
Nothing will re-center you and cure you of insane thoughts of freedom like reading about a hobby you have never participated in.
But beware! The world of sock-knitting books is filled with substandard work by hucksters and charlatans looking to make a buck off your ignorance of quality instruction. Here are three fine works I have vetted personally:
- The Sock Knitter’s Handbook, by Beth Parrott and Charlene Schurch
This book has it all for someone who thinks she might one day knit a sock! I don’t need to tell you that Parrott and Schurch are the recognized experts in the industry, so you can be assured you are getting advice straight from the greatest minds in sock-knitting. Whether its casting on and binding off, working on heels and toes or making size adjustments, you’ll spend hours enthralled by the detailed tips and tricks to help you become a more useful woman to your family. In the process, you will be rid of any desires you are harboring to disrespect those without whom you would be a wretched spinster.
2. Teach yourself VISUALLY Knitting, by Sharon Turner
This book has been one of the top knitting primers on the market since its debut five years ago. And now it has been updated in a new edition, complete with brand-new patterns, even more helpful photos and expanded coverage of knitting techniques! While this book receives demerits from me for not being strictly about sock-knitting, it remains the go-to knitting book for those who learn faster by seeing, and seeing is what you should be doing of that clock from your daughter every single time you glance at the wall.
3. More Super Socks, by Christine Perry
The award-winning author of Super Socks is back with a magical new, inventive and totally different offering, More Super Socks! If you’re like me, after you’ve read Super Socks for the fifth or sixth time, you feel as if you’ve pretty much mastered the basics of thinking about socks you might one day knit. More Super Socks ups the ante and elevates your theoretically basic sock-knitting skills by incorporating cable, lace, intarsia and colorwork patterns. And reading about upping the ante is exactly what you need, because your parenting skills are, at best, basic.
And that, you ungrateful mother, is the right advice.
Lucy Robertson-Rosenblatt is an advice columnist from who seeks to set the record straight on all matters of great importance. Her column is popular in Southeast Asia and is run weekly on Tuesdays in “The Government’s Pelita Brunei,”
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