“That’s My Blankie!”

by admin on June 4, 2012

My grandmother is 78, and has the early stages of dementia. She is still living independently though with some help from her daughters (my mother and aunt.) She can become very fixated on certain things and very remiss in other areas.

Tonight was my 30th birthday. My family and I went out for dinner, and my grandmother gave me a hand-knitted rug as a gift. It’s not the sort of thing I’m wild about, but I was touched that she gave me a gift at all, since I really hadn’t expected her to.

Halfway through the dinner I heard from my somewhat-amused mother that Nan had actually given me “[Aunt’s] blanket.”

As we prepared to leave the restaurant, my Aunt drew me aside and said, “I hope this doesn’t make you feel bad, but Nan actually gave you my blanket, so I’ll be taking it back.”

I smiled and said I’d sort it out with her when Nan wasn’t around.

On the way home with just my parents and myself, I heard the full story: Nan had suddenly panicked at not having anything to gift me for my birthday and wrapped a blanket that she had knitted years ago for Aunt’s children, and which she had borrowed back from Aunt about a year ago for the pattern. Clearly, Nan simply forgot that the blanket had already been given to Aunt and thought it was hers to give.

I really do appreciate the effort that Nan went to to give me something to unwrap, especially given her poor mental state right now, so the actual blanket is irrelevant. What I’m curious about is this: was Aunt rude to tell me that she’ll be “taking back” something that had been given to me an hour before as a gift?

Aunt was not in earshot when my mother initially commented on how I’d been given her blanket, so as far as I can tell, this was the first she thought I’d heard of the issue.

For the record, my grandmother is, and has been, an avid knitter and crocheter and has more blankets and other knitted things than would be needed for an entire orphanage, so her handiwork is not in short supply. I was just a bit taken aback that my aunt would approach the issue in that way, especially in public, at my birthday party.

I have left the blanket at my parent’s house, as my Aunt and I don’t see each other particularly often, and if Aunt would like her blanket back, she can have it. I just hope she hasn’t tried to explain things to my grandmother, as I know she wouldn’t understand and would be hurt- she would see this as me rejecting her gift.

What’s the correct etiquette in this situation? 0602-12

Look at this way, you were given something that your Nan did not own and had no right to give to another.  But in cases of mental impairment, we extend extraordinary grace to overlook the “oops” and make things right discreetly later.   Your aunt could have waited until later to mention it or spoken to your mother to please find a way to get her blanket back to her.   But the urgency in needing to tell you right away suggests to me that she had a strong attachment to the blanket and wanted to make sure it came to no harm, particularly if she sensed you were not “wild” about it when you opened it.

This is one of those situations where I’d appreciate Nan’s thoughts in wanting to gift you something but return the blanket to its original owner without further ado.  In the grand scheme of life, this is mere pebble in the road.  Move on.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Bint June 4, 2012 at 6:19 am

Your aunt drew you aside and dealt quietly with what could have been an awkward situation. She waited until the dinner was over, she didn’t embarrass anyone, and she acknowledged that you might be slightly hurt.

I honestly cannot see how on earth you thought she might have done anything wrong. Her property was given to you by her confused mother, she sorted it out after your birthday meal. You sound upset with her and I truly cannot understand why.

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AnyMouse June 4, 2012 at 6:23 am

Happy birthday, OP!

I sympathize. On my 30th birthday, I was stuck going to a wedding and on top of that was somehow put in charge of wheeling my dementia-laden grandmother around all night. She didn’t give me anything but grief for my birthday that night, but that’s another story!

I think Admin is right, when something like this happens, involved parties should discreetly take care of it later to save your grandmother any embarrassment or stress. Your Aunt probably should have waited until you were completely out of earshot of anyone but your mother, but you say she drew you aside, which makes me think she was trying to be discreet. It doesn’t matter that your grandmother has knitted a million things, that one in particular was the one given to your Aunt’s children, and that is the one she has sentimental attachment to.

Try to see it from your Aunt’s prospective. Think of something that means a lot to you, and imagine your mother wrapping it up and giving it away to someone who might say “it’s not the sort of thing I’m wild about.” Wouldn’t you want to stop the recipient before they tossed it in the donation bin at the charity store on the way home?

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josie June 4, 2012 at 6:28 am

Perhaps your aunt thought you’d swing by the Goodwill drop box on the way home.

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--Lia June 4, 2012 at 7:01 am

I can’t see that Aunt or anyone else did anything wrong. There are a great many things that would be etiquette mistakes depending on how close the relationship is between the main players. For example, a question might be nosy one when asked by a stranger while the same might be a caring one when asked by a best friend of 30 years. In this case, the situation might be rude or awkward if this was a wedding gift given by a casual acquaintance (with another casual acquaintance demanding ownership), but it’s not. This is your closest family. I’d be insulted if Aunt DIDN’T feel comfortable enough to correct Grandmother’s mistake. You smile the way you smile at parents gently and firmly correcting a child’s meltdown in a public place.

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ferretrick June 4, 2012 at 7:43 am

I think she could have phrased it more tactfully then “I’ll be taking it back.” Better to say something like “When Nan’s not around, please give it back to me” or “Would you please leave it with your mother and I’ll get it later?” But other than a SLIGHTLY rude turn of phrase, which really is not that big a deal, she was fine. It was her property and she wanted to make sure she got it back.

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Jay June 4, 2012 at 8:04 am

Well, except that Grandma had had the blanket for a year at the time, so Aunt couldn’t have been SO attached to it that she needed it back instantly.

I don’t see an etiquette violation, though. The Aunt wanted to make sure you knew what was going on. Only if Aunt had said something in front of the grandmother would there be an issue.

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Edhla June 4, 2012 at 8:06 am

Hi guys, I’m the OP. I dashed the story off in a hurry, so naturally, there’s stuff missing, which I shall now fill in :)

As aforementioned, the blanket itself is kind of irrelevant as this truly is a case of the thought counting- though I would never regift it on to anyone else or give it to Goodwill or something!

My Aunt can be painfully blunt and we haven’t always had a good relationship, which I’ll acknowledge wasn’t made clear in my original story. For example, she invited my entire immediate family (both parents and two sisters) to her son’s eleventh birthday party not four weeks ago. I was not invited, and I still have no idea why.

When *I* was eleven, she announced to my face that she “knew I didn’t like her” and that this was okay because “I don’t like you either!”

She’s that kind of person.

Both when I unwrapped the blanket (which was firmly on my lap all evening, so I didn’t throw it aside in disgust or anything!) and later when my mother brought the issue up, all I could really do is feel awful for my grandmother. When I heard from my mother that it belonged to Aunt, I never intended anything other than to return the blanket to Aunt at a discreet time soon. But, particularly because my Aunt and I are really NOT close, I was taken aback that she would bluntly announce this to me as I was standing up from the table and my grandmother was really only a few feet away.

Thinking on my feelings a bit more, I think part of it was the way it was said, which is hard to get across in print. I dislike it when people make others feel embarrassed by acting like they SHOULD be embarrassed… for example, if someone has ketchup on their face or something, simply telling them is fine, but I have never understood why there’s ever a need to convey “This is embarrassing and you should be embarrassed. Heck, I’m embarrassed just TELLING you!”

My mother’s way of telling me the blanket was Aunt’s was very different to Aunt’s way of doing the same thing. Aunt’s tone conveyed the idea that she suspected that what she was saying would offend me (if you need to say some disclaimer like “I hope this doesn’t offend you, but…” you should probably rephrase what you’re about to say until you don’t need the disclaimer) and that there was a reason for me to be offended or embarrassed. Of course, there wasn’t.

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Angel June 4, 2012 at 8:10 am

If your Aunt had freaked out and started yelling and screaming at the time you opened the gift, then I could see getting upset. But, she dealt with it in a diplomatic and mature manner. Be happy that your family got together to celebrate your birthday. Your grandmother was so sweet to want to give you something to open, she just didn’t happen to choose the right thing. It happens. Forget about it.

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Rachel June 4, 2012 at 8:29 am

It’s rude because the aunt didn’t ask, she stated that she WOULD be taking it back.

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Edhla June 4, 2012 at 8:45 am

Oh- incidentally, my remark about my grandmother having a gazillion other knitted items was meant to convey that if I wanted a blanket, there was no need for me to get possessive over my Aunt’s- not meant to convey that Aunt should just ask for a different blanket from her and let me keep hers.

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The Elf June 4, 2012 at 8:55 am

I’m not seeing any big rudeness here. Aunt maybe could have offered a “replacement” gift and been a little softer in her delivery (and waited until after the party), but really this is all about Nan’s dementia. She can’t help that, so straightening everything out quietly so that she doesn’t notice is the best for everyone. If her mental state was solid, I’d say the initial rudeness was hers for giving away something that wasn’t hers to give. But since she is ill, she can be forgiven that. I think it is kind of sweet that Nan was worried about not having a gift to give!

Happy Birthday Edhla!

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The Elf June 4, 2012 at 8:56 am

Forgot to add: I hope Aunt didn’t try to explain things to Nan. It’s better to just straighten it out so that she doesn’t know.

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Decimus June 4, 2012 at 9:27 am

While the aunt could have phrased it better, I don’t necessarily see the wording used as rude per se. Of course tone does convey a lot. But (as a comparison) — imagine the grandmother had wrapped and handed over aunt’s purse, instead. I think “She gave you my purse, so I’ll be taking it back” would be rather appropriate!

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Cammie June 4, 2012 at 10:07 am

I feel pretty sorry for your Grandmother. I can’t fathom putting my own Gram in that sort of humiliating situation. Could neither your Mother nor Aunt manage to pick something up “from” her for your birthday? They just showed up at her house and said, what, “Surprise! You forgot your Granddaughter’s birthday!”

I hope you save some of your indignation for your Mother.

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Katie June 4, 2012 at 10:10 am

Yes, I think it was rude of your aunt to approach it in that way. I agree that she had the right to ask for it back, but she could have been more tactful about it. Maybe she got all possessive about it because it belonged to her children?? Of course, she had the right to be possessive, because it was hers! But I agree that there was something not quite polite in the way she asked for it back.

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Stacey Frith-Smith June 4, 2012 at 10:10 am

Aunt was not in the wrong in this sole instance, and for OP to have fixated on her phrasing or other minutiae says more about the context of the relationship than it does anything Aunt might have done that evening. Even the phrasing “the blanket was firmly on my lap all evening….” and “gazillion examples of handiwork…” might incline the casual observer to the idea that OP would have at least preferred her birthday to supersede prior claims on that particular piece. In any case, the matter is easily resolved by returning the blanket to Aunt.

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Carol June 4, 2012 at 10:16 am

The impression I really get is that you can’t trust your aunt not to say something inappropriate to your grandmother. Also, because you and she don’t get along (and seriously? I don’t like you either? At a child? Sheesh) I can see how you would not be willing to give her the benefit of the doubt as far as her intentions anyway. It sounds to me like you handled it right – you told her you’d deal with it out of earshot of your Nan, and then you left the blanket with your mom so she could return it to your aunt.

It’s sad, because if you and your aunt had a better relationship, it sounds like something you could have found the humour in – it was so sweet of your Nan to want to give you something, and it is funny that it was something your Aunt already owned. As it is, it sounds like your aunt was also assuming the worst of you without giving you credit for a) appreciating the gift, even though it wasn’t really your thing, and b) returning it to her when she asked.

I also can’t help but wonder if your aunt totally forgot about the blanket until she saw it, since it’s been a year that your Nan had the thing.

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Cat June 4, 2012 at 10:25 am

Be glad Granny was not always in her right mind and did not do this deliberately. My grandmother did this repeatedly. She lived with us from the time I was 18 months old until I was 23 years old, and would not keep her hands off my things.

In childhood it was my toys that would “disappear” and “reappear” at her son’s house for his children to have. In college it was any new clothes I had bought for myself that would “disappear” only to reappear on another grand-daughter. Sometimes I didn’t even get a chance to wear them. Mother wouldn’t allow me to say anything or to put a lock on my door to keep her out.
When she finally moved in with her son when I was 23, Dad was shocked when his dining room set was loaded into a U-Haul and taken to her son’s house. Mother had never told him that Granny stole. I smiled and said, “Now you know how I have always felt about her.”
In short, you were given stolen property and the rightful owner reclaimed it. I was never allowed to do that.

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Sarah Jane June 4, 2012 at 10:35 am

I understand the aunt’s claim to the blanket and definitely believe she is entitled to it, but I’d like to point out that her phrasing was rude (“I’ll be taking it back.”) She could have simply explained the situation with the assumption that, of course, the OP would want her to have it back. Then, if it turned out that the OP hadn’t understood, or wasn’t forthcoming with the offer to return it, Aunt could have been more assertive. It’s all about tact. If she had been more sensitive in her approach, OP might not feel so jerked around.

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Gracie C. June 4, 2012 at 11:03 am

I think tone of voice makes all the difference, but would also cut the Aunt some slack (even with the new information), that she could be more stressed out about her mother’s health situation and not be thinking clearly. Yes, I agree her phrasing could have been different, and tone, but I’m sure it’s trying for her (and all) to see her mother slipping.

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--Lia June 4, 2012 at 2:41 pm

I hope the admin doesn’t think this is too off topic for this site, but those blankets and other knitted things that could outfit an orphanage could, when the time comes, go to Project Linus for distribution:

http://www.projectlinus.org/about.html

The idea is to give something soft, warm, and made with love to children who are in a difficult spot. Sometimes it’s a child who lands in a hospital emergency room. Sometimes it’s children who need temporary foster care because their parents or regular care takers have been involved in violence.

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Lucy June 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Get over it. Your aunt was pretty discreet; I would guess, as many others have, that she was anxious to get the blanket back for sentimental reasons and didn’t want to risk it getting given away again to somebody from whom it couldn’t be retrieved, such as the Salvation Army.

My paternal grandmother had Alzheimer’s and we went through years of inter-family stress among my father, my mother, and my father’s three siblings. My younger aunt couldn’t accept that her mother was losing it, no matter how dysfunctional Mee-Maw became, and was actively obstructive in family efforts to get her help, get her into assisted living, etc. Mee-Maw lived with us for awhile and it was the easily weirdest six months of my life: She antagonized my mother, who was chronically ill; accused my brother of sneaking girls into his room at night; thought that there were border disputes among the states in which her children lived that would prevent mail from being delivered; and thought that she was my dad’s wife and that our house was the one in which she’d grown up, that the family sold in 1938.

My uncle and I went to visit her on Thanksgiving and she thought I was his new wife (though she was beyond thinking to ask what had happened to his actual wife). She said something to me as we were leaving that my uncle didn’t hear and apparently I looked a bit surprised. A week later, he called my parents to ask if I’d mentioned anything particularly awkward about the visit, but he wouldn’t ask anything specific. Mom finally coaxed it out of him that he had seen my expression and was afraid Mee-Maw had given us “wedding night” advice, but he couldn’t bring himself to ask me directly! (She didn’t, thankfully. I don’t remember what she said or why I looked surprised.)

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nk June 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I don’t think it’s rude that the aunt stated that she’d be taking the blanket back instead of asking for it, like some have said. Why should she need anyone’s permission to keep what is rightfully hers? She was merely informing the OP of the situation; no question was necessary.

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Cat Whisperer June 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Oh, my. Such a sad situation. My grandmother had Alzheimer’s, and my mom always said she felt like grandma, who was her mother, had died twice: first when she no longer recognized my mother was her daughter, and then when she actually passed away. And my mom said that grandma’s actual death was easier to bear than when she no longer recognized her children.

Admin is right about this one: the important thing is the thought. I hope OP also understands what stress her mother and aunt are under, as caregivers for an elderly parent. Until I ended up as my father’s primary caregiver, I had no idea how stressful it could be. It’s a real burden with no “upside” to it, because you know that the person you’re caring for is never going to get better; and almost inevitably, people who comment on your role as caregiver are going to criticize you for something you’re doing or not doing.

All I can say to OP: be thankful for the care your mother and aunt extend to your grandmother, and for gosh’s sakes don’t nit-pick the way they deal with issues relating to her dementia. They’ve got a terrible burden to carry and it’s only going to get harder as time goes by. Just love them and if you can, try to help them.

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Angel June 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm

After reading your update, I can see where the way she said it might have offended you, however, you know what kind of person she is. Even if it offended you at the time, just let it go. Life is too short to waste on people like that. Even if they are family.

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Edhla June 4, 2012 at 8:23 pm

I now realise that really I’ve been trying to explain a situation that is horrendously complex, which is really my fault, frankly.

I will however point out that Aunt isn’t a particularly good caregiver for my grandmother, though my mother is- she’s constantly belittling Nan for doing things like fixating (asking the same question four times, etc.)

I stand by the idea that prefacing something with “I hope you don’t feel bad about this” is signalling “because I assume you do feel bad because you SHOULD” when there was no reason that I should. I didn’t do anything wrong; Nan didn’t do anything wrong.

I will also say that I’m offended by the amount of people assuming that because of my age and because I really have no dire need for a knitted blanket, I would toss it away or give it to charity. If the blanket were actually mine and not my Aunt’s, it would go on my bed, regardless of what it looked like or what it was, because my grandmother MADE it. Part of my grandmother’s dementia is that she gets certain ideas in her head, and unfortunately one of the things we’re now dealing with is that she habitually takes things I say or do out of context to be offended by them. (Long story short- once my younger sister said something rude about a photograph of her father, and I admonished my sister. Days later it came to light that Nan was telling people *I* was the one who made the rude remark! She also turned a comment I made about my sister’s boyfriend into “You didn’t love your late grandfather.” I KNOW this is the dementia and not her, but it still hurts, so the fact that she made a kind gesture was important to me.) Stacey- it was important to me to show my grandmother that I was appreciative of her gift, hence why it was on my lap all evening, and as I’d already commented, my remark about the amount of items my grandmother has made was NOT meant to imply that my Aunt could simply pick another one, it was meant to imply that if I was desperate for a blanket *I* could simply pick another one.

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Edhla June 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Added: Nan didn’t do anything wrong because she really, honestly did not know that the blanket wasn’t hers to give. Her intentions were good.

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Cat Whisperer June 4, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Just read OP’s comment about her relationship with her aunt. I think “you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family” applies to this kind of situation. Aunt is due the respect that any person her age and position is due, but you don’t have to be friends with her or even like her.

FWIW, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more and more convinced that the important thing in life is to “tend to your own karma” no matter what other people do. If someone treats me badly or isn’t nice to me, that’s their own karma they’re pooping on; as long as I make sure that I take the high road and do whatever is the right thing to do, in the long run I’ll come out ahead.

That doesn’t mean that it’s always easy or it never hurts. I have a couple of relatives who have always treated me as the family bad guy, and I’ve never felt that I deserved this treatment. And there were times when it definitely hurt like hell, and the urge to be nasty in retaliation was definitely very hard to resist.

But ultimately, if you allow someone who treats you badly to goad you into behaving badly in return, you’ve given them control over you. You’ve let them win. You aren’t any better than they are; perhaps you’re worse, because you know what you’re doing is wrong and you do it anyway because of the short-term gratification it gives you.

OP, if your aunt really has treated you unfairly, then in the end it’s her karma that’s going bite her in the butt. You are only responsible for your own behavior. Please try to trust that when your aunt does something that you feel puts you in a bad light, the reasonable people in the family who know you will understand that it’s your aunt who is in the wrong. The people who don’t understand don’t matter, you have to let it go.

I know that if you have a strong sense of justice and fairness, and pride yourself on doing right, it stings even more to be cast as the bad guy and treated unfairly. And that’s galling, especially when you’d like to believe that if there really is justice, someone will ride to your defence or your aunt will get her karmic payback in a way that publicly vindicates you. Wouldn’t it be nice if life really worked like that?

All you can do is try to remember that you’re the bigger person, and in the long run that’s what’s important. “Illegitimi non carborundum.” (“Don’t let the b@st@rds get you down.”)

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Mabel June 4, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Aww, poor Nan. :( Aunt might have waited until later, but at least she didn’t bellow it out in front of everyone. Although if the blankey meant that much to her, why didn’t she get it back before then?

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Marna June 4, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Ain’t dementia fun? (NOT) Neither one of my grandmothers lost a step mentally as they aged (and they lived good long lives–91 and 93, respectively). One aunt, however, was not so fortunate. I think the oddest gift-giving situation I can recall was on my 17th birthday when Aunt Leitha gave me a plain brown paper grocery bag containing–a box of Kotex that she got free with a coupon, God knows HOW long ago. Only thing to be done is smile sweetly and say thank you and continue to march. In this case, though, no one was trying to lay claim to the Kotex. :)

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ellsie June 5, 2012 at 12:19 am

I agree with admin. No bad etiquette on the aunt’s part.
After reading the comments and OP’s updates…..all I have to say is get over it. Yes, there is tension between you and your aunt as you explained, but she handled it in a discreet and civil way that did not embarrassed grams or anybody. Did you expect her to be super sweet?? It is her property–if she wants it back right away, then that is her right (and she did it in a good manners IMO). I guess her phrasing could be better, but some people are blunt like that, and if you know her to be that way, then accept it and let it go. Just be happy that grams still remembers you. It sounds like you are being nitpicky with your aunt and possibly there is more to this story if you keep adding comments to vilify your aunt beyond this story.

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Rob June 5, 2012 at 4:04 am

Considering that both people are under considerable stress at this time, it’s a shame that what should have been a simple case of correcting an honest mistake by the Edhla’s grandmother has turned into a bit of drama.

Perhaps the Aunt could have been more discreet – and considering the history of their relationship with Edlha, they certainly could have broached the subject better. But perhaps Edlha ought to consider that their aunt may be feeling stressed over dealing with their mother’s illness (I know from experience how stressful this can be) and on top of that anxious about what is, to them, an important heirloom.

I wouldn’t see this as anyone being “rude” or “at fault” – just one of those things that gets fixed and then people get on with life.

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Katie June 5, 2012 at 6:23 am

I also feel that the OP is being criticised a little harshly. Whatever the circumstances, it can be hard to shake off that annoyed feeling if someone either misjudges you or speaks to you a way you don’t think is warranted. I stand by my original comment that your aunt could have asked for the blanket back in a more pleasant way- particularly as this was your birthday celebration! Everyone is supposed to be extra nice to you then!

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lkb June 5, 2012 at 8:11 am

@Edhla and Cast Whisperer: I lost my mom in September and she had had dementia for a long time. I just wanted to say, I know a bit of what you were going through with your grandma. We all know that those with dementia can’t really help what they say or do but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when you have to bear the brunt of it. (The same is true for family members, Cat. I’ve been in your situation too and I know how much it hurts.)
I’m praying for you and for all who find themselves in similar situations.

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Edhla June 5, 2012 at 9:04 am

Thank you, Katie.

I’m both going to stop commenting and stop reading this thread after this, but I’ll once again reiterate:

1) I had no intentions of keeping the blanket after I was told by my mother that it was my aunt’s, and I did not object to my aunt asking for the blanket back. I objected to her phrasing, tone, timing, and the location she chose to do so. By ‘drawing me aside’, I was literally standing up in my place mid-table, other members of the family had started to walk toward the door, and my aunt took a step toward me.

2) I have never and would never regift or discard a hand-made personal gift from anyone. There’s nothing to suggest that my Aunt feared this as I have never done so in the past and did not show any signs of wanting to do so on the night.

3) I am not trying to “villify” my aunt. She said something in a way that had me taken aback and embarrassed, she didn’t murder my puppy.

4) Absolutely nothing happened as a result of this. As aforementioned, I smiled, told her I would sort it out, and left the blanket with my parents. I did not chide her or start drama or show any signs of holding onto the blanket or talk about her with other family members behind her back or anything else of that nature. I don’t know where in the original post you are all getting the idea that I started World War Three over this. I simply wanted to ask if it is polite etiquette to tell someone they’ve received something of yours as a gift by accident- by announcing at a restaurant on their birthday that you’ll be “taking it back.” I wasn’t questioning whether she had every right to ask for it back or to expect it to be given back. I didn’t expect her to beg or plead or bargain for her own property and nowhere did I suggest that I would have preferred her to do this.

For those who are saying that she could have phrased it better- that is ALL I was asking. Because I think she could and should have phrased it better. That was my enquiry- whether it was good etiquette to approach the issue the way she did. It’s fine that people genuinely disagree on this, but I certainly see a huge amount of assumptions in the comments, including assumptions that I would throw out or Goodwill a gift from my grandmother, that my Aunt is a saint who looks after her mother day and night selflessly, and right down to the admin condescendingly using the childish word “blankie”, which is one that I have never used in my life.

Carol- yes. My aunt can’t be trusted to not tell my grandmother of her mistake. I won’t go into details lest I be accused again of “villifying” her, but she calls a spade a spade and has always done so. And yes- in different circumstances it would just be a funny misunderstanding among several members of the family. That’s how it was presented to me by my mother when she first told me.

Sarah Jane- yes. Pretty much this, entirely this.

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kudeebee June 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I don’t think your aunt was rude. Since you don’t see each other much, she wanted to talk with you before you left and not have to sort things out long distance. She didn’t know what you would do with the blanket and since it was hers, not an extra your Nan had, I can see why she wanted to say something. She didn’t tell you in public, she pulled you aside to talk with you. I think you both handled it well.

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Amp2140 June 6, 2012 at 11:22 am

Hoorah! For one of the very few times someone is told TO GET OVER IT!!!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I really hate it when people look for a way to be offended.

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Enna June 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Your aunty was a tad rude in saying “I’ll be taking it back” as it wasn’t the OP’s fault! Just a mix up by someone who has a memory condition.

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Caitlin June 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm

It seems to me that the problem here was the aunt assuming that she needed to specify that she would be taking the blanket back. Having explained the situation, it should have gone without saying that the OP would return the blanket as soon as possible. If the aunt was then given a genuine reason to think that wouldn’t happen, that’s the time to specify that she wanted the blanket back. To do it at this point implies that she assumed the OP wouldn’t have the good grace to return the blanket on her own steam, and I think I’d have been pretty upset by that assumption.

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twik June 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I get the sense that there’s not a lot of ways Aunt could have come out looking well in your eyes here.

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Lesa June 10, 2012 at 4:33 am

“I’m sorry, but Nan gave me that blanket X years ago,” would have been much nicer. Aunt sounds pretty rude in general, though, and I would have probably asked her years ago why she would assume OP hated her as a child, or why she would tell a child she hated her. If there’s anything to salvage, that can start a dialog. If it doesn’t, I wouldn’t be around her any more than necessary.

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gramma dishes June 10, 2012 at 11:20 am

Cat ~~ I found your story to be so incredibly sad.

I don’t understand why your Mother never clued your Dad in on your Grandmother’s stealing habits. Toys are special to children and the idea that she would take them and give them away to other grandchildren is appalling to me. Same with the clothing in your closet that you had bought with your own money (or even if you hadn’t). At the very least, you should have been allowed to put a lock on your door to protect your stuff.

It seems to me that your Mom kind of let you down there by not addressing the issue way back when it first began. I can’t imagine why she did not.

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Margo June 11, 2012 at 5:50 am

I think aunt was rude to make her comment in the way and at the time she did. Of course it was reasonable for her to ask for her property back, and OP has made it clear she had no issue with that at all, but Aunt was tactless, and handled it badly.
I suspect that tone of voice may have played a big part, too. there are wayus and ways of saying something, which can’t be cpnveyed in text..

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erica September 9, 2012 at 11:30 pm

I think their are many family dynamics at play here but I can honestly tell you if my mil wrapped up the blankie that my children have slept with, loved on and been their security blankie since they were little…I too would have made it clear…it was mine and I would be taking it back.
I can honestly say everytime I look at my son’s blankie that my MIL handmade I think of my babies when they were small and I don’t care if it offends anyone. It is by far “my” (even though one of my son’s still sleeps with it currently)…most cherished possessions. I would be devastated if it were ‘given away’.

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