DEAR CAROLYN: My mother-in-law has spent much of her life accumulating collectibles, heirlooms and furniture with the rationale that she will give them to her children and grandchildren someday.
Her four grandchildren are still in high school. She’s decided that “someday” is now and is getting upset that her family isn’t jumping at the chance to own figurines or her great-aunt’s china set, much less my husband’s bedroom set from the 1970s.
The thought that none of us will take all her things even when she’s gone is causing her genuine angst. Unfortunately, donating doesn’t bring her joy and she’s gotten very upset with me when I donate outgrown or unused items she’s given us. I know this is an increasing problem for many of us, the “sandwich generation.” Is there any hope for middle ground? Our house has small closets and no storage and my husband has a tenuous relationship with his parents.
A Loving Daughter-in-Law Who Will Never, Ever Use Christmas China
Carolyn Hax: He doesn’t want a baby unless it’s an accident
Carolyn Hax: I’ve even begged, but he won’t stop touching me
Carolyn Hax: My parents died, and I feel nothing
Carolyn Hax: I’m bitter that these other parents won’t help with the party
Carolyn Hax: They refuse to call this child by her proper name, and it makes me furious
DEAR DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: You’re in a no-win position, I’m sorry.
Which you can use the figurines to depict in a room-sized battle diorama!
Here is an assurance that is probably not very reassuring:
Your dilemma is underway across three entire generations right now, give or take a few outliers: an older generation of avid collectors, a younger generation of avid stuff-renouncers, and a middle generation wondering when it volunteered to play messenger between the two.
This massive demographic remodel is documented here (http://bit.ly/StuffIt1) and here (http://bit.ly/StuffIt2) and here (http://bit.ly/StuffIt3) and elsewhere.
If there’s any chance that information will help your mother-in-law take things less personally, then do share it with her.
But also don’t lose sight of what this is about. …
Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle