Author Topic: At a Loss  (Read 19195 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Luci

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6224
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #45 on: November 14, 2012, 09:43:06 AM »
I would be livid, too, for all the reasons mentioned above and agree with your decisions.

Another thing that really bothers me is that not only is it used and battered, but she got it from a thrift shop, not from a music store where someone had used it as a trade in or left with them for resale and has been examined by someone who knows what he is looking for. I wouldn't be a bit surprised is the thing can't be fixed. It may really sour the boy's enthusiasm for playing in the long run, which is really, really sad. Does she know anything about instruments to begin with?

I know people who have wasted more cash on cheap or used stuff than they could possibly have saved. That makes me sad. It also hurt me when I received used stuff because it made me feel substandard, not worthy. I buy used for myself sometimes, but I like to think I know what I'm doing and why it will be a reasonable purchase.

Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1406
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #46 on: November 14, 2012, 09:45:33 AM »
I don't understand the posters who are saying "she didn't know you were going to buy him one."  She knew he'd asked them to buy him one.  So regardless of their decision she knew he'd put it to them to decide, not her, and at the end of the day that's all that matters - mom and dad have been presented with this desire for them to decide how to proceed. 

And to the poster who said its not big deal they have two guitars and they love both - um that's exactly the issue!  OP wanted the chance to give her son his first guitar love.  One always loves their first just a bit most, even if its beater.  And grandma came and stole the guitar love thunder!  And that's no doubt why she showed it to him already, before even Thanksgiving, so his heart would fall in love with the one she got (does he even know there was a plan for a nice one in the works?  Sounds like it was supposed to be a surprise - so no matter what that first love possibility is gone.  And that to me is definitely a direct cut worthy move.)

And I think the direct cut has to be a family cut... or otherwise it can't be a direct cut, because clearly she needs only supervised conversations with the kid(s) if she thinks she gets to just make holiday plans with the still-minor-in-their-parents-care-kids without even discussing let alone getting the ok from the parents!  I mean did she expect son to ditch his holiday plans with his parents for her, or did she think son got to decide for the whole family where they went, mom & dad not even getting in on the conversation let alone the decision?!?!?
We have already had some friction over the past week since MIL thought it was DS' decision to visit them during the Thanksgiving holiday instead of his parents' decision.

POD to all of this. I'm highly suspicious of the motivations behind MIL's gift of the guitar. The MIL usurped the parents' gift. She knew this was THE gift DS wanted, and she took the opportunity to give it. The parents wanted to present DS with a guitar because it is a special gift. MIL jumped ahead in line to be first. This action on her part was hurtful.

In my mind, the fact that it is a guitar is sort of a red herring, IMO. We could see the same happen any highly desired and anticipated gift, guitar or otherwise. Substitute guitar for drums, a first hunting rifle, or a puppy, and the MIL's behavior can be seen for what it is -- usurping the parents' authority in decision-making.

Back to the guitar: The instrument MIL bought is questionable. She bought it at a thrift store, and it does not have strings. At present, no one knows whether it is playable. It is possible that this guitar could be a find, but it would require strings and repair to know that. On the other hand, the guitar MIL bought could be unplayable period. The cost of repairs may not be justified by the guitar's value. As an aside, a friend of mine found a great 1920s Gibson parlor guitar in a thrift store for next to nothing -- but that was 20 years ago, and the thrift store didn't know what they had.

It sounds as if this is a pattern of behavior on MIL's part and not an isolated incident. The concern about Thanksgiving is just the icing on the cake. If the OP believes a cut direct is justified, then I'm not going to disagree. I hope that the OP and her DH will give their DS the instrument they chose for him regardless of the MIL's actions. If MIL's guitar is unplayable, then perhaps it could be used decoratively in DS's room as wall art or be broken down for parts.

artk2002

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13165
    • The Delian's Commonwealth
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #47 on: November 14, 2012, 10:03:05 AM »
I don't understand the posters who are saying "she didn't know you were going to buy him one."  She knew he'd asked them to buy him one.  So regardless of their decision she knew he'd put it to them to decide, not her, and at the end of the day that's all that matters - mom and dad have been presented with this desire for them to decide how to proceed. 

Exactly. The point is that since she didn't know what the parents' plan was, it was her duty to find out before proceeding! This is a significant family decision and not one that can be made unilaterally by a grandparent. I would never buy a musical instrument more complicated than an ocarina for my granddaughters or niece and nephews without a conversation with the relevant parents first. (And I'd get the ocarina only if I were really annoyed with the parents!)
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

ladyknight1

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8357
  • Operating the logic hammer since 1987.
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #48 on: November 14, 2012, 10:15:36 AM »

Snip

She may be trying her best to make hers first but IMO, he should be thrilled to bits to have a really nice working guitar on Christmas morning, rather than the broken one Grandma gave him.

This is my hope, and I am continuing with my plans for the nice guitar.

Eden

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 627
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #49 on: November 14, 2012, 10:35:29 AM »
Were there no backstory, I too would think this incident simply ill-advised, not necessarily an egregious offense. Given the history, though, I totally understand the reaction.

Virg

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5886
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #50 on: November 14, 2012, 11:27:05 AM »
WillyNilly wrote:

"I don't understand the posters who are saying "she didn't know you were going to buy him one."  She knew he'd asked them to buy him one.  So regardless of their decision she knew he'd put it to them to decide, not her, and at the end of the day that's all that matters - mom and dad have been presented with this desire for them to decide how to proceed."

I tend to agree with this sentiment.  For something more than a simple gift, clearing with his parents is the most appropriate way to proceed.

"And to the poster who said its not big deal they have two guitars and they love both - um that's exactly the issue!  OP wanted the chance to give her son his first guitar love.  One always loves their first just a bit most, even if its beater.  And grandma came and stole the guitar love thunder!  And that's no doubt why she showed it to him already, before even Thanksgiving, so his heart would fall in love with the one she got (does he even know there was a plan for a nice one in the works?  Sounds like it was supposed to be a surprise - so no matter what that first love possibility is gone.  And that to me is definitely a direct cut worthy move.)"

This I can't really get behind.  I've been a musician for decades, and I have many many friends and relatives who are also musicians, and saying "one always..." about such a diverse group doesn't follow.  In fact, I find that it's extremely rare that someone loves their first instrument most, barring getting a top-notch instrument to start or perhaps an heirloom.  There's a lot of love for the first instrument someone got themselves or for the above-mentioned heirlooms, but I don't see any not-yet-proficient teenager getting a pair of guitars on Christmas and feeling more love for the used piece from Grandmom over the new high-end guitar from the 'rents just because he saw it first.  I imagine that this was grandmom's intent, but it's just not very likely to fit with reality unless Grandmom is willing to pour an absurd level of cash into refurbishing it.

Virg

whatsanenigma

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2052
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #51 on: November 14, 2012, 12:10:03 PM »
When DS went to the in-law's house, she showed him the guitar, told him it was for him, and explained her reasoning for buying a used guitar to him. Later, she told him she is taking it to a local repair shop, to see what can be done for it.

This part really sticks out to me.

If she has gone out of her way to explain to him why she bought a used guitar, this could be interpreted as an attempt by her to put down or dismiss your reasons for buying him a good quality, new one.  So, when he gets the good guitar for christmas, he will think less of it, because of the explanation from grandma as to why a used one was the "best" option.

Whether or not he will fall for this, I don't know, and I hope he doesn't.  And whether or not it was a deliberate move on her part, I don't know that either, but I am sure you can get a good idea for yourself.   And even if DS doesn't fall for this, the fact that she would make an attempt to undermine your gift (if, in fact, she has made the attempt and didn't give him the explanation for innocent reasons) would greatly influence how I would deal with her in the future.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2012, 12:11:46 PM by whatsanenigma »

Elenelle

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #52 on: November 14, 2012, 12:21:05 PM »
I can completely relate to this and how angry the OP feels, because I've been there... but with a full size piano instead of a guitar.

My DD decided that she wanted to learn how to play the piano when she was 14. Thanks to various video websites with tutorials, and her uncle's old keyboard, she started teaching herself how to play. She *seemed* serious about it, but... she was 14 and had exams coming up. We didn't want to drop too much money on what could well have turned out to be a passing phase, y'know?

My mother decided that the video websites tutorials and an old keyboard weren't good enough. No. She went out and found a 30 an hour tutor... who, admittedly, was wonderful, but he himself admitted that DD had taught herself enough that he wasn't actually needed - especially as she didn't want to do "grades". My mother heard "musical prodigy" somewhere in the "there's really nothing more that I can teach her!" and, well... she ran with it. She insisted on paying for the lessons (which I tried to dissuade her from, but at the end of the day I figured that my mother's a grown woman, it's her money, let her waste it how she likes!), being the only one to accompany DD to the lessons (which embarrassed my DD because my mother has no social boundaries when it comes to young men whatsoever!). And then?

That Christmas she bought my DD a piano.

The first of which *I* knew about was when I came home one afternoon to discover that she'd let herself into my house, having arranged delivery some weeks prior, to discover it had replaced my desk.

Which my father had broken into pieces and was carting to the local refuse tip.

The piano's still in my house, because it was my DD's gift - and because she loved it. Briefly. For maybe a month. Because she discovered boys as teenage girls are prone to do, had exams, went to college... It hasn't been played since, undoubtedly never will be, and it is a constant sore point. My parents had their key to my house taken away that day, and they will *not* be getting it back. They have no idea what they did wrong and no matter how many times we explain it to them? They simply cannot understand.

So my mother wasted hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on a passing fad simply to be "the better person" in her grandchild's life, I'm without a desk which I loved, my DD feels guilty every time she looks at the piano, and the trust between myself and my parents? Irrevocably destroyed forever.

My advice? Nip this undermining in the bud, OP. Before it's too late.

StuffedGrapeLeaves

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 872
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #53 on: November 14, 2012, 12:38:11 PM »
Ellenelle, your parents bought your DD a full-size piano without your knowledge, brought it into the house, destroyed your desk to make it fit, and they don't understand why this was wrong??  Do they have a history of doing this?  That is so egregious, and so is ladyknight's MIL. 

Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5791
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #54 on: November 14, 2012, 01:22:24 PM »
Um the piano one is out and out hostile.

ladyknight1

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8357
  • Operating the logic hammer since 1987.
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #55 on: November 14, 2012, 02:06:43 PM »
Elenelle, I am completely speechless in response to your story.

My primary concern is that for now, it is a guitar. What happens in just over a year and a half when he is sixteen and can legally drive? Do they just buy him a car?

MIL has broken every personal relationship but a few over this kind of behavior and competition. She thinks that her "generosity" earns her immediate forgiveness for any and all offenses.

Mikayla

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4086
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #56 on: November 14, 2012, 02:13:39 PM »

Giving your son a damaged instrument apparently expecting he will give up playing the guitar seems more likely to put him off than encourage a love of playing.

I've read to the end and agree with the majority, but this really stuck with me.  There's a fine line between a beach guitar and a subtle attempt at sabotage.  OP, something you said in here implied she may think this is a passing phase.  If true, this is her "I told you so" insurance policy.

Honestly, I would ask DH to thank her for the "thought", but that if she chooses to give DS this guitar, it will be donated or thrown away. 

In a weird way, this reminds me of Grandma rushing out to buy baby's first Christmas outfit.  In some cases, this is a lovely gesture.  In others (with a backstory), it's sending a message.  And when a message comes with a gift, and the message is rejected, I see no problem in rejecting the gift.  This guitar has so many messages attached you need a flow chart to keep track of them!
« Last Edit: November 14, 2012, 02:17:53 PM by Mikayla »

blue2000

  • It is never too late to be what you might have been
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6884
  • Two kitties - No waiting. And no sleeping either.
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #57 on: November 14, 2012, 02:15:40 PM »
I don't understand the posters who are saying "she didn't know you were going to buy him one."  She knew he'd asked them to buy him one.  So regardless of their decision she knew he'd put it to them to decide, not her, and at the end of the day that's all that matters - mom and dad have been presented with this desire for them to decide how to proceed. 

And to the poster who said its not big deal they have two guitars and they love both - um that's exactly the issue!  OP wanted the chance to give her son his first guitar love.  One always loves their first just a bit most, even if its beater.  And grandma came and stole the guitar love thunder!  And that's no doubt why she showed it to him already, before even Thanksgiving, so his heart would fall in love with the one she got (does he even know there was a plan for a nice one in the works?  Sounds like it was supposed to be a surprise - so no matter what that first love possibility is gone.  And that to me is definitely a direct cut worthy move.)

And I think the direct cut has to be a family cut... or otherwise it can't be a direct cut, because clearly she needs only supervised conversations with the kid(s) if she thinks she gets to just make holiday plans with the still-minor-in-their-parents-care-kids without even discussing let alone getting the ok from the parents!  I mean did she expect son to ditch his holiday plans with his parents for her, or did she think son got to decide for the whole family where they went, mom & dad not even getting in on the conversation let alone the decision?!?!?


I don't think this is a 'first love'. First serious disappointment maybe, since the guitar is broken and can't be played. Most kids would be crushed if they asked for a big fancy present and got an old junker they can't even use.

She may be trying her best to make hers first but IMO, he should be thrilled to bits to have a really nice working guitar on Christmas morning, rather than the broken one Grandma gave him.

But with gifts isn't the cardinal truth "its the thought that counts"?  Grandma's thought was somewhere along the lines of "so... he asked his parents for one for Christmas... I know I'll get him one before that!"  Whether he loves the junker or even likes the junker is not really the big picture, the big picture is she tried to take that first guitar experience as her own.  Her thoughts weren't "oh wow my son & DIL work so hard and guitars are expensive, let me work with them to get grandson something wonderful" her thoughts were "ha!  Let me get him one first!"

It doesn't matter if her plan didn't/doesn't work.  It doesn't matter so much if the son doesn't actually fall in love with her junker.  The issue, what matters is that that's what she was trying to do.

I agree that it is the thought that counts. And you know her best - you know what thoughts she is likely to have over this. Just pointing out that her plans aren't guaranteed to work if she can't cough up a decent instrument.
You are only young once. After that you have to think up some other excuse.

Elenelle

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #58 on: November 14, 2012, 03:09:32 PM »
My primary concern is that for now, it is a guitar. What happens in just over a year and a half when he is sixteen and can legally drive? Do they just buy him a car?

MIL has broken every personal relationship but a few over this kind of behavior and competition. She thinks that her "generosity" earns her immediate forgiveness for any and all offenses.

Exactly. Obviously, you know the situation with your MIL better than anyone here does... but this *really* struck a chord with me.

Essentially, you described my own mother.

You don't say, but is your DS the only grandchild, or perhaps the oldest? If he's not, does she "treat" the others like this? Because, in my own experience, it might be that she's viewing your DS as her "however many times it is, chance to make everything perfect". My DD is my mother's only granddaughter. Her two grandsons she treats as an inconvenience at the best of times (my nephew rarely, if ever, has anything to do with her as he's now working in Australia, my 8 year old DS also rarely has anything to do with her, because I strive to limit contact, but knows that he's "second best" to his sister). As far as my mother's concerned, my DD is her chance to "be a better mum" than she ever was to my brother and myself.

Also... does your MIL have any close friends? Maybe, if she does (mine doesn't; no one will talk to her, actually, which is pretty sad...), your DH could ask *them* to intervene, if that's not overstepping any etiquette guidelines? Sometimes we listen more to people our own age/from our own generation, than we do to those younger than we are, such as children and children-in-law...

I'm more than sure your DS will love the guitar that you and your DH have (?are) buying for him. Especially if he's old enough to work out what his grandmother's like and your past history of competitiveness with her. My DD worked it out almost a year ago, when she was 15. My DS worked it out when he was 3 years old. It's a hard lesson to learn, but sometimes...

They need to learn it.

I really hope this all works out for you.

(Incidentally, my DD becomes old enough to learn how to drive next year... and I'm terrified my parents are going to undermine me again and buy her a car, even though I've told her point blank that her wages from her part time job have to put to one side to pay for it... I pay her college fees and will pay her university tuition if she decides to go, but a car? Nope. Knowing what my parents are like, though, and knowing how many road accidents involve teenagers? It scares the *life* out of me!)

turnip

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 607
Re: At a Loss
« Reply #59 on: November 14, 2012, 03:21:57 PM »
OK - I'm going to back up because this is an etiquette board, and there is an etiquette question here.

Your MIL bought her grandson a gift.   He should thank her graciously, use the gift as it suits him, and that should be enough.   

I know there's a lot of back story that I'm ignoring - but a lot of this seems to me like you descending to her level.   Is this her trying to steal your thunder?  Buy her grandson's affections?   Prove she is a better, more generous person?   Perhaps - but why get into it with her?   She bought your son a present and you are ready to declare WW3 over it.  What would be the harm in letting it go?

Your MIL bought her grandson a gift.   He should thank her graciously, use the gift as it suits him, and that should be enough.