I didn't want to derail the other thread, but it made me think of the whole idea of the gift "exchange". My nephews are older than my kids, to the point that the youngest was 9 when my oldest was born. So I was pretty involved with them before we had kids of our own. Of course I got them gifts for special occasions, but I also did things like make their birthday cakes (those annoying Wilton ones with all of the frosting dots....Winnie the Pooh seriously took me 4 hours!) and take them places, sometimes overnight. Took them trick or treating when my sister didn't. So along the line of gifts, now that they're adults, I don't give them things like I used to when they were kids. The thing is that now my sister has also stopped gifting my kids.
I'm not one to 'solicit' gifts. My kids are taught to appreciate whatever they get and thank the giver. So please don't think that's the issue.
For example, my son had a religious ceremony this weekend. We didn't make a huge deal of it with a catered party with tons of friends or anything, but I made sure to invite sister a month ahead of time, since she's his godmother, and told her that we'd be going out to dinner afterwards. BIL didn't come, but that's no surprise. One nephew came (early 20s). My MIL was also there. Sister participated in the ceremony. We all had a good time catching up. DH and I took everyone out to dinner. They left from the restaurant. What surprised me was that my sister never even gave my son a card. I'm not even talking cash, but a card to commemorate the occasion, since she's his godmother.
I treated my nephews pretty well when they were little, and to a point, my sister expected it. For example, she didn't bake, so there were a few years that she assumed I would not only come for the birthdays, but make the birthday cakes. She bought the Winnie the pooh pan and handed it to me, with the assumption that I'd make the cake, for example. I was happy to do it at the time, and I know I didn't have a DH or my own kids to keep me busy. I'm not silly and I don't expect THAT level of involvement. But now that my kids are that age, and the trend is going toward her hardly even acknowledging my kids (late birthday congrats, etc.), I have to admit that I'm kind of hurt that the effort that she puts into my kids isn't anywhere near what I did for her kids. Some of it can be explained, I know, by the difference in our lives at the time. But still, to have a month's notice of a a kid's important event, and not even get him a card?
I want to reiterate that it's not about greed, but more about reciprocation and thought. I made her kids a priority, and it's hurtful that my kids don't warrant anywhere near the attention from her, even despite the differences in lifestyles.
I know there's probably nothing that can be said about this in good etiquette, but if there is, I'd like to hear suggestions. Or does anyone else have similar circumstances?