This weekend, between a bout of the nasty stomach flu that hit the boys, I wrapped, assembled and packaged gifts.
I have always sent gifts back to Missouri to our sons' first family, in particular L and their siblings. Not every single birthday has been remembered, but every Christmas certainly. Gifts signed from the boys, chosen carefully and sent so in some small way we let them know we were thinking of them.
Not once has a gift or a card or an acknowledgement been sent or spoken in return. It doesn't matter to me, but now it does matter to the boys. The boys are loudly resistant to send anything at all and Greg in particular has been vocal about it since our visit this summer.
I can imagine all sorts of reasons why gifts or a card has never been sent. Maybe the financial pressure is too much? Maybe they don't even think of it? Maybe they don't know what to send or how to send it? Are our seasonal expectations so vastly different? All possibilities I suppose, although I would love to hear your opinions.
If only they knew how little is expected. A Christmas Card would suffice. A note. A letter. An unsolicited phone call. Anything to agknowledge the value of the boys to them during the season.
I do know that the culture of our relationship is now establised. Clearly the expectation when we visited was that Greg would give and they would receive. Yet they bought a gift for me, the purse. Still nothing given was to Greg, and nothing sent home for Eric.
So this year, for the first time, I signed the gifts with love from ME. Gifts for the girls, gifts for big brother, gifts for cousin, gifts for L and her husband all from me. Eric chose to sign a card for his brother, but all other cards and gifts were ignored by the boys. They saw me buy them, wrap them and know I intend to send them, they just don't want anything to do with it.
I don't know if its the right decision to take this on, but it is also our truth. The gifts are from me to them with love and concern because I care about them. Right now, they are not from the boys. So do I think that the family will even notice the difference? No, not for a second but it still feels to me like the right thing to do.
I want and need to empower the boys to take ownership of their relationship and give them back a voice. At almost 13 and 14 I suppose it is time. I hope so anyways.
What do you think?