Last year I decided I was no longer buying presents for my cousins’ children. I hardly ever see them (except for holidays or their birthdays), and their parents – my cousins – can’t be bothered to send me a card/email/FB wall post for my birthday. Now, I’m the oldest cousin, and all through college, I sent them birthday cards, Halloween cards, Christmas cards, Valentine’s Day cards, Easter cards, just-for-fun cards, and ten-page letters. I got letters back and Christmas cards. Eventually (ten years later, and after we all had email but still didn’t write) I stopped.
Then they had kids. At first I sent cards and gifts, but I never got a thank you note, or even an email letting me know the gift arrived. (I started using Delivery Confirmation.) Now that those girls are old enough to write, still they don’t send thank yous. (My mom still sends gifts; I don’t know why. Probably because she doesn’t have her own grandchildren, but that’s her own fault and another story for another day. You reap what you sow.) Two more cousins have had babies in the past two years, and at first I bought them presents, but combined with the other, last year I realized, “Why?”
So today I am not spending five hours in a car driving to and from BFE for a first birthday party. Am I being stingy, or am I justified?
They say “you get what you give” (you reap what you sow?), but what about when you give money and time for years and years and get nothing in return? That’s why I’m now giving what they gave me: Nothing.