For all the love, caring, concern, laughter and so much more, you can never thank your mother enough for the things she gave you. As for those “cherished” mementos and heirlooms- e.g. your baby crib, the sofa that adorned her parlor all those years, etc.– that she insists on passing on to you, perhaps not so much. And that’s where adult children have to step up.
No matter what your age, it can very difficult to say no to our parents when it comes to items they want to pass on. In many and most cases it goes beyond the actual item itself and the very fact that Mom or Dad chose to give it to you. Yet the thought won’t be occupying space in your home and chances are there really isn’t a space for it either. If there is, it may or may not fit in with your current décor.
So what do you do?
Well, this may be difficult to do, but you be honest.
“Thank you, Mom, for wanting to give me your ___. I know how much it means to you and it means a lot to me. I just don’t have the room for it.”
Now, that may or may not be true (so much for being honest) but it’s something most people, even parents, can and will understand.
The most important thing to take from these types of discussions is remembering how it felt to be put in that position. For mothers, you can make sure you do not do the the same to your children. How? Whether that’s now or in the future, remember the following:
• Do not assume your children want any of your prized possessions – They might actually want some, but it can lead to hurt feelings on your part and guilt on theirs if that is not the case.
• Ask if they want something and leave them an out – Chances are if it’s special to you, it has some sentiment for your children. So you want to ask they want the item. Just leave them an out–e.g. you don’t have to take if you don’t want it or don’t have room.
• Take note of your children’s home before asking – Your adult child may have created a home of their own, filled with items that meet their own individual tastes. Take that into consideration before asking if they want something.
• Donate or sell – Do not take your child’s answer personally as if the item has no value. Donate the item or sell it in a consignment store so somebody else can use it.
• Don’t engage in a guilt trip – The “you will want something to remember me by” guilt trip should not be an option. If your child doesn’t want the item or can’t make it work, that should be a sufficient. Applying emotional guilt will only make them dislike having an item in their house that they feel obliged to showcase for your visits. Do you really want something special to you to represent that to your child?
Perhaps the best gift you can give your children and your parents is a legacy of holding memories in your head and your heart, not in items. For times with your mom that were dear, there’s far more room there than any room in your home.
Happy belated mother’s day!
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