Give difficult child grandpa's watch or not to? About trust and self-preservation

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SuZir, Nov 15, 2012.


Do I present difficult child with my grandpa's watch for graduation?

  1. Give him a watch

    1 vote(s)
  2. Keep it and give it later

    14 vote(s)
  3. Give it to easy child

    1 vote(s)
  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    My difficult child's graduation from high school will be soon. He did very well and this is a huge thing for me after all the school issues he has had. Graduations are big celebrations around here and kids are often given more valuable gifts than for any other occasion during their life. One of the stables for boys is their first dress watch and we are planning that for difficult child. We can either buy him a new watch or give him my grandpa's vintage watch from 30's. The monetary value would be about the same, but the sentimental value of my grandpa's watch is huge to me.

    When difficult child was gambling, before he started to steal, he did sell everything of value he had. Even his confirmation cross. (And a fool which he is, he sold it for around 50 dollars, the real value you would get by adding zero to the end. And yes, I was a sucker enough to buy it back, on it's full value. Haven't given it back to difficult child or even told him I bought it back, but plan to give it to him someday in future.) He has been doing well with his recovery, but you can never know. And that watch means world to me.

    My grandpa was always my biggest hero and there are no words for how much I adored the man. And the watch was very special for him. He got it for his graduation present from his, more or less, difficult child dad, who had forsaken his first family (my grandpa and his mother) divorced (huge thing at that time) and been total deadbeat dad. It was an only 'I love you, I'm proud of you'- that grandpa got from his dad after he was three. Grandpa wanted my difficult child to get a watch (and for graduation), of course difficult child was still young when grandpa passed away, but certainly a difficult child already. And a watch has an engraving about first born son and grandpa's name. difficult child is named after grandpa. That watch would have so much symbolic meaning given to my difficult child. He also does know that.

    husband thinks I'm setting myself up to heartbreak by giving that watch to difficult child. He would prefer me to give it easy child for his graduation. He is right about me being devastated if difficult child sells the watch. It would be very difficult for me to forgive him that. If he breaks it or looses it, that I can live with, but selling it, that would be very tough for me. My best friend asked me which one I love more; difficult child or the watch. While I would probably save difficult child first from the burning building it is a close call ;)

    husband also has a point in that difficult child is not a sentimentalist and it is totally possible that he would like more about a new watch from some now popular brand. Grandpa's watch is high quality watch in excellent condition and has been always kept well and maintained regularly like they should be. But for difficult child new, trendy Omega or Tag Heuer could be cooler. On the other hand he knows about grandpa's watch, he knows what it means to me and he knows grandpa wanted him to get it for graduation. Giving him a new watch would be vote of no confidence.

    The watch is mine to keep or give, so this is up to me to decide, but I could use some point of views.
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I was a bit torn between "Keep it, and give later" or "Give to easy child", but I picked "Keep it."

    You value the watch and appreciate the sentiment. difficult child may come to value it later, or he may never truly appreciate it. I'm not sure whether your easy child feels the same way about the watch as you do. It seems to me that the one who most treasures the sentiment and emotion attached to the watch should be the one to keep it, and at the moment, that person is you.
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    easy child does tend to care about his mementos more than difficult child, but he really doesn't have much of the connection to the watch. He was so young when grandpa passed away that he doesn't have any memories of him. difficult child's has some. easy child also comes more to his dad's side of the family and connects to that side. difficult child is more of the offspring of my difficult child-family line in every way. There are also some valuable family 'heirlooms' that are going to be easy child's anyway. I do find that this watch would be much more poignant to difficult child than to easy child. And of course that was also what my grandpa wanted.

    But yes, I'm sure easy child would keep good care of the watch just because it was important to me. difficult child would either really treasure it or not care much at all. I can't be sure which.
  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    For all the reasons you've stated, I guess I would suggest that you keep the watch for now, and get him a new, "cooler" brand that he might treasure on his own. Engrave it with a beautiful sentiment, and it will have its own significance.
    Down the road, when difficult child really develops into a trustworthy, responsible man, I'd consider giving Grandpa's watch to difficult child when/if he becomes a father himself, and if that doesn't happen, you can present the watch at an appropriate milestone in his life, or leave it for him in your will.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I would keep it until difficult child has matured enough to appreciate the history and sentiment behind it.
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Seems to me with two sons - and a vote from husband to pass the watch on to easy child - I would go with giving the watch to easy child.

    Buy difficult child a brand-new watch.

    Both are good gifts. Neither gift shows "favoritism". Nothing says Grandfather's watch needs to go to the eldest son...JMHO, of course.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Voted for option 2, because option 4 wasn't available...
    No matter what, I would not give it to difficult child at this point in time.
    But... I wouldn't commit to giving it to easy child at this point in time, either.

    Keep it. Make your decision later... much later, when both boys have become the men they are going to become.
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Keep it hon. There are many more Life Milestones in which this much treasured watch can be given when difficult child is stronger / more experience / confident in his recovery and mature enough to appreciate and handle the responsibility. Grandpa couldn't foresee the issues that difficult child has had, and your hesitation, given the confirmation cross, is perfectly reasonable.

    I have many family heirlooms still in my possession to be given at a later date for various reasons, not all difficult child related.
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I feel giving the watch to easy child and not difficult child is a BIG no-no... simply because he is the youngest, everyone knows the "specialness" of the watch and, like a royal throne, if it should be given, it should be given only to the eldest. :) From what you have described of your family dynamics, giving the watch to easy child will cause big problems all round.
    I am the only one who voted to give it to difficult child.... I feel you should trust him with it, as it was the grandfather's wish and because he may actually surprise you and treasure. I would make the leap of faith, anyway.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have not read responses, and I actually don't see the option I would choose on your poll.

    I would give him a watch if that is the traditional thing, or something of similar value that he would like and appreciate. I would NOT under ANY circumstances, give him your grandfather's watch.

    Why? That watch means a great deal to you but in all probability would mean a whole lot less to him. Then you would add on the constant worry over if he pawned it or sold it or lost it, and devastation when you are 'pretty sure' that he did and worse if you get confirmation that he no longer has the watch or has destroyed it. If he had a close bond with your grandfather, I would maybe have a different answer, but I don't get the impression that your difficult child knew your grandfather well. Many kids today do not have a clue what these heirlooms mean to us.

    Your family has more than enough going on and there is absolutely zero need to set yourself and the family, esp difficult child, up for the conflama to follow if he is given his grandfather's watch. he won't truly be able to appreciate it for quite a while to come. I do think at some time he will value it, but I would wait until he was in his late twenties or even early-mid thirties.

    I don't know if I would give it to easy child for his graduation. I am sure that difficult child knows it has traditionally gone to the first born, and it was his namesake's, and that name is engraved on it. Giving it to easy child might be setting the boys up for long term sibling rivalry issues. They don't need to add this to their relationship, and even if difficult child thinks and/or says that he doesn't care if easy child gets the watch, there is no guarantee that he might not resent it later. It could become part of a "mom loved you best" sort of conflama.

    Of course you cannot live according to what might happen, but there is no sense courting trouble. Given the engraving about being the first born son, I really think that it could be a slap in the face to difficult child if easy child gets the watch for graduation. difficult child could very likely see that as saying that he isn't good enough to be the first born son or other mistaken but painful things.

    Go with a nice watch or buy a savings bond or cd with the money so that in a few years he can choose what to do with that money.

    In the meantime, why don't YOU wear and enjoy the watch? Sure it is a man's watch, but it also could be a nice accessory. Maybe an awesome accessory because each time you see the watch you will smile and some part of your brain will think of your grandpa. Only the very best accessories put that loving smile on our faces and nothing is prettier than that smile.

    I hope this helps.
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Actually, I realised after I wrote my post what I would do in your shoes... I would talk to difficult child about it! Yes! I would explain to him all the watch means, all that it means to me, and ask him whether he would feel it an honour and something to treasure or whether he would prefer a brand new smart watch? I realise it would spoil the element of surprise but better that than a situation that ends up causing grief and regret.
  12. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Okay, this thread was right away helpful. One of the possibilities is already out. I will not give a watch to easy child. When Trinity mentioned she couldn't decide if she would vote keep it or give it to easy child, I wanted to write a novel why I shouldn't give it to easy child. So very clearly that is not something I want to do. It could be smart and safe thing to do, but it is not a thing I want to do. And after all, it is just a watch that is extremely important to me, not to anyone else, so what I want to do is a deciding factor in this. So now it is a choice between giving it to difficult child now or safe keeping it for him some more time.

    My grandpa died when my sons were six and three. My mother was his only child, I'm an only child of my mother so grandpa was very much a part of my sons early years. They were his only offspring. He and difficult child were close at the time, but of course difficult child was still young and he has only so many memories from that time. easy child really doesn't have much at all of his own memories of grandpa. Grandpa showed a watch often to difficult child and told about it, about his childhood and younger years and did promise that difficult child would get it for graduation. I of course don't know if difficult child remembers that promise. difficult child already had his first school/kindergarten struggles at the time and grandpa was consoling him by telling about his school years (it was not fun to be a child of divorced parents at the time.) I do know it was my grandpa's wish difficult child would get a watch in this point of his life. Probably even with all the gfgness. After all the symbolic value of the watch is in love and pride mixed with our dysfunctional difficult child family line. When young my grandpa was not free from gfgness of his own but soon after graduation Europe went to chaos and years of war and being a soldier and an officer made grandpa a very different man (but yes, he served in the duties very well fitting to certain type of difficult children.)

    I have some thinking to do on this still. But one option is out.
  13. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No, no, no!! I would not give something meaningful like that to your difficult child. It will break your heart if he loses it or sells it. I have given my difficult child special things (at least to me) over the years only to watch her carelessly lose them or sell them for drugs.

    In fact, I wouldn't even give it to my easy child even though she is totally responsible and trustworthy. At that age, I don't think things have great sentimental value to them. I would wait until they were older and then decide which one would treasure it more.

    Just my take.

  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Save it.
    difficult child isn't ready for it... he needs time to mature, to prove himself.

    Give it as a gift from Grandpa for his wedding?
    Find some other major milestone in his life...
    But... difficult child kids need TIME to mature, and the best of our difficult child kids would hardly be ready for such a gift.... even my almost-easy child wouldn't be.
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I agree that later is better. It's not just because of difficult child it's because difficult child has friends and does not have a secure home of his own yet. Alot of our difficult child's hang out with kids who have problems and stealing is not uncommon. Believe me I do understand. Hugs DDD
  16. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    When I was 13, my grandmother gave me a locket with "1913" engraved on the front. It was given to her on her 13th birthday. Inside, there is a picture of my mom as a little girl, and a note in the box saying that someday I should give it to my little girl, on her 13th birthday. When Oldest was 13, I "gave" it to her. But I told her I was going to keep it safe until she was older. I still have that locket in my dresser drawer (along with the note). Quite frankly, even at 28, Oldest's life still isn't settled enough for me to trust her with it; she moves so frequently and has had some iffy roommates, many of her possessions have disappeared over the years. She understands why I kept it, and a couple of years ago even suggested that I save the locket for my granddaughter (Youngest's daughter) on her 13th birthday.

    So, another option: you could "give" it to him, but tell him that you'll keep it safe until he's older and his life is more settled. It could be that like me, you'll still have it 15 years later ... but perhaps, in time, he'll be mature and stable enough to appreciate its true value and he can take possession of it himself.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have 3 boys and I would never give something that was absolutely meant for one of them to another of them...big NO.

    What I think you should do right now is to give your difficult child a new watch that you engrave but keep grandpa's watch for either his wedding or even better, the birth of his first child. That will be the day he is most vulnerable and most in awe of family values. At least if he is anything like my son's.

    I will give you an example. When Jamie was much younger and first moved out of the house when he went into the Marines, he got married almost right away. I gave him a set of my mom's china. Thankfully it wasnt one of her good sets but he knew it was his grandma's china and I also gave him a clock that was hers. He kept it safe and sound through his first marriage but his second wife got mad that he had this china from his first wife, I think she thought it was a wedding present, and she dropped a whole box of it and broke about half of the stuff. She also tossed out the clock. He didnt much complain. I complained! Will they get another darned thing from my house before I die? NO!

    Cory knows there are some pieces here that are his from my mom but they arent leaving my house until I am sure he is settled. Some is a worth a little bit, some is just family history.
  18. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Someone stealing watch from difficult child is not something I would be worried. He is not sharing his flat with anyone but his girlfriend, he doesn't have much friends and his girlfriend's friends tend to be PCs. If someone would want to be mean, they would say that only thief my difficult child is hanging out with is a one he sees in his bathroom mirror at mornings while brushing his teeth. And if anyone would steal something from him the new watch would be much more in danger. Even a dimwit teen can figure out that a watch at a brand you see on new Bond movie or advertised with coolest F1 drivers is worth something. With my grandpa's watch you have to know something about them to know, it has some monetary value. I'm not at all sure that even difficult child does know that. And of course old watch is more difficult to sell. Most tempting thing for stealing would in fact be sports watch/computer (heart rate, GPS etc. device, I'm not sure what they are called in English) that difficult child uses daily (if he uses watch at all.) They are easy to sell, difficult to track and so common no one thinks twice when buying used sports/running watch/computer. And everyone also do know the prices.

    It would probably make sense to give a watch to difficult child when he is more mature. But on the other hand, it wasn't a gift to mature man, but a boy taking his first wobbly steps to manhood at the first time it was given. Even if that boy had to grow up very quickly after that because of the world events. Still it is a traditional gift to a boy, not a man.
  19. buddy

    buddy New Member

    The symbolic gift from granddad seems too important not to honor but I vote either symbolically give it but also give the gift of a bank box where you have a key. Let him know youre keeping it.for.him.with other valuables and.he.can.wear it on special occasions. Or just wait. I wouldnt think it's the right thing to give it to easy child. though based on things you've said. He will love a special new watch for now. I love the idea of giving it when he has his first child. That would be a lovely scene ( of course I'm imagining a wonderful situation! )
  20. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    When I say Oldest's possessions have disappeared over the years, I don't necessarily mean stolen (although some probably were). Many times she's simply moved, left stuff behind, and never bothered going back to get it. It makes gift giving difficult, I avoid sentimental gifts now. Last year, Youngest left ALL her possessions behind when coming back from a disastrous move to Florida, other than some clothes and toys that would fit into the van. Many family keepsakes are gone forever, and I wish I'd waited to give her some things. I try not to think about it any more, it's too painful.

    So, I completely understand your sentiments here.