How to handle this

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by GoingNorth, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Last October I had to replace my furnace. It was as old as my mobile home is and just went toes up. I would've cost nearly as much to repair it as it would to get a new, efficient furnace.

    It cost 4 grand to replace it. I had the $$$ in savings to do it. Next thing I know there is a check for 2000 dollars in the mail

    My mother decided to pay half the cost without letting me in on her secret.

    I called her to ask her WTH? She has less coming in than I do and now way does she have a spare 2K laying around.

    I figured it was a loan and called her to tell her I was sending her a cashier's check for the money.

    Well, she blew her stack! Basically told me to sit down, shut up, and say "thank you". It was a gift, not a loan.

    I always paid my own way if we went grocery shopping so I could get some treats at the wonderful grocery store she shops at.

    Last time I was down visiting, we went shopping and when I tried to pay for my stuff, she bit my head off.

    She CANNOT afford this! It's been a ritual for years that when I come down I take her out for dinner. Not anymore. It took a bit of arguing for her to split the tab.

    She's 79 years old but as sharp as a tack. Physically she's frail, but mentally she's got more on the ball than I do. She's otherwise extremely careful with money. She's not running up her credit cards or otherwise spending irresponsibly.

    Only thing I can figure is that her marriage to my dad was no cakewalk and perhaps she is trying to make up for me being exposed to that.

    Any other ideas? I hate to see her spending money on me like this and I don't know why she's started doing this in the past year.

    I'd love to see her enjoy the time she has left, and spending $$ on me all of a sudden isn't contributing to that. She needs to spend money on herself. If she has to give money let her give it to my sister who is struggling right now. I'm sure she's helping them out as well.

    This just really bugs me. I've always pulled my own freight and I don't know how get her to stop doing this.
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No disrespect intended, but there is little or no grace in "I've always pulled my own weight..." Your mom is not doing this because she feels you NEED it, or because she is making a judgement that you CAN'T do it on your own. Your mother is doing it because she loves you or for another reason that you are to privy to. If you feel your mother is in danger of putting herself in future financial distress, then take the funds she sends you (and the money you would have spent on dinner or grocery treats) into a special savings account to share with mom in the future if the need arises.

    I believe you hurt her more by your refusal to accept her gifts with graciousness than the potential of her being hurt by being generous.
  3. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I do "sit down. Shut up. and say "Thank-you.

    I know she loves me. She's an Aspie and it's hard for her to be touchy-feely. Which is fine, I'm not either. I suppose you're right. It is just a real change for her.

    With the furnace, I honestly thought it was a loan. We joke that the same thousand dollars has been circulating through the family for the past thirty years, and I figured this was the same deal.

    Now, I offered to help my sister out, who really needs the help and got told to stick it, which is fine. I just let her know that help was there anytime she wanted to reach out.
  4. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Like you, I've always been independent and "pulled my own weight" and often ended up helping others besides. but part of being human gracefully is realizing that, in this life, there are times we must help others and there are times we need to accept help from others. In this case, it sounds like this is something your mother wants to do. You say she should enjoy the time she has left and spend her money in a way to help her do that. Maybe that's what she's doing. No matter how strong we think we are, there comes a time that the best we can do is accept a gift that is lovingly given to us, say thank you, shut up, and if the opportunity presents itself - pay it forward.
  5. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    If you asked my children, they would say that I have no money and we live paycheck to paycheck. The reality is that I have more than enough put away in savings and retirements to put them all through private college and give them a down payment on a house. They have no clue because it's not their business. Maybe you don't know all you think you do about your mom's money. on the other hand, if you are correctly informed about her money situation and you think she's being too generous, watch for an opportunity to reciprocate. Pay for an oil delivery for her next winter, take her clothes shopping for her birthday or as someone else suggested, make sure you have money set aside to help her if needs be. Otherwise, enjoy your warm home and invite your mom for a visit to see how cozy and comfy you now are, with thanks to her!
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I will soon be 74 and I am familiar with AS. Your Mom is giving of "herself" not her bank account. She is saying "I love you!" Although I realize that it was a huge shock, you really need to say "Mom I've been thinking about your gift and I'm sorry I was not gracious. Thank you..AND..I love you, too." Period and end of the verbalizations. Meanwhile inside your head when your home is warm and cozy you will be reminded that you are loved. Hugs DDD
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  7. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I just got off the phone with mum, DDD, and I took your advice and apologized to her for not being a good giftee. We sort of laughed about it and it's settled.

    I think this is HOW she shows her love. Perhaps it is the easiest for her. We say the words to each other regularly and we mean them, but this is something more tangible.

    It just shocked me somewhat as she came out of her marriage in terrible financial shape. Dad left a lot of debts with mum's name on them.

    in my opinion! I hope mum lives long enough to spend her estate and die happy. If not, I hope she leaves the bulk of $$ and things to my younger sister. Her son, my nephew, is getting married in Taiwan. My sister doesn't know it, but if she can get over her flying phobia, her ticket to the wedding is paid. Mum has a credit on file with her travel agency and all sis will have to do is call to book her flight.

    I'm glad for that.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm glad to read the update. Way To Go! Hugs DDD
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Let her gift you. It means a lot to her to do so.

    This is a pattern of behavior I've seen with the elderly. I don't claim to understand it, but I've learned not to fight it regardless of reason because it just results in making the gifter either furious with you or their feelings hurt or both. There is NO winning. No it doesn't matter whether they can "afford" it or not.

    My mother, the cheapskate of all cheapskates, the woman who was one of my teachers in frugality, is now gifting like a mad woman. She has a current plan to hit the bank and gift me the moment her broken elbow heals and she can drive again. Why? I haven't a clue but she feels it necessary. I keep telling her we're doing just fine.....budget is tight but we're ok........doesn't matter. Then she swears I'm lying to her. lol

    mother in law did it and I've watched many others do the same thing. I know when to give up and just let them do it. I learned the hard way. lol
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I don't know about money..sad to say..but I am old enough to spend some time thinking about what I plan "to leave" to the various children and grandchildren. The "things" that mean most to me do not have monetary value but emotionally they have great meaning to me.

    Want to know the sad part of elderly "gifting"? Most of the meaningful things that a parent plans to pass on..well, they don't have much significance to the children or grandchildren.For example: I have perhaps twelve photo albums that include my parents, grandparents, siblings and friends. Most of them are pictures of the children and grandchildren I have raised. None of the kids have photos
    anymore..they have digital pictures. The albums are big and faded and include people they never knew but people who loved me and them. Interesting and kinda sad.

    I did give #1PC all the sterling silver dinnerware etc. a few years ago. She values the gift because she remembers all the formal entertaining that took place when she was a child. Most of the kids don't use or even have a place for the crystal and china...nor a place for the small antique pieces that were left to me by my Grandma.

    It's rather sad to realize that once you pass on the chances are that strangers will bargain for your treasures at a big garage sale or boxes will go to charity. Gifting is part of the transition that older people go thru in preparing for their next stage of existence. I would hope that children and grandchildren would "pretend" that it is significant and to be treasured. DDD
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think that it is her way of showing her love. I am glad you called her and cleared the air. Years ago, when Wiz was little, my mother could literally not go a day with-o buying him a shirt or other item of clothing and often a toy or book also. It got pretty ridiculous, as at one point she even got him a shirt from every gas station she went to, not to mention the grocery, the salon, walmart, and on and on and on. Then we moved away about a year after I got her a bit tamed on the toys/clothing thing. The boxes started rolling in.

    Finally she explained that she was afraid he wuold not remember her and she missed him terribly. We could afford clothing and food for him, and she knew it, so it was not meant as an insult to us. She wanted him to think of her often. The best illustration of what she meant was over a coat. She got him a super soft, super expensive coat one year. She discussed it with him, and later he told us that every time he had it on and was warm it was 'a hug from Grandma'. She couldn't hug him daily in person, so by sending him clothes he liked, each one was a hug from her and/or my dad.

    Seeing it that way made it a lot easier to handle the many boxes of clothing, books and toys that arrived at our door. I still had to constantly give away or sell items she sent because we literally were overtaken by them (an average of a box every week or so, and the boxes were the ones paper comes in!), but it didn't bug me as much.

    Think of the warmth from the new furnace as a hug from your mom. If she needs help at some point, she knows you will be there to help.
  12. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I think it is her way of showing love. She isn't physically demonstrative. My sister, who is BiPolar (BP) like am, but NT otherwise, finds me and mum "hugging" to be hilarious. She refers to it as "hugging without touching", LoL.

    We sort of put our hands on each other's shoulders and LEAN at each other. husband was the only person who could hug me and then only in private. I think it's called "tactile defensiveness" but am not sure.

    They didn't even know about High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and sensory processing disorder (SPD) when I was growing up so my family and I sort of flew by the seat of our pants with a lot of stuff. I was very lucky that the combination is so common in my family that there's a lot of anecdotal advise to be had. I was quickly identified a "Oh. We've got another one.", and things went from there.

    Central hypotonia was fixed by pinning a folded bed sheet or blanket firmly around the torso. Helps with sitting up and has a calming effect as well.

    I laugh as shortly after my nephew Matt was born my sister commented on how he could spend hours just watching the ceiling fans and was in heaven at the home stores in the fan department where there were oodles of fans to watch at the same time.

    I used to zone out watching the sun through the leaves on trees or the reflections of trees on water.

    Matt lined up toys. I used to love stuffing things in glass soda bottles and trying to get them back out. Mum has a photo of me at about 2 with my blanket wrap on happily stuffing onion skins into a row of pepsi bottles.

    Mum is a neat freak aspie. All must be lined up and orderly or it makes her nuts. I'm a slob Aspie. Mum and I can only stay together for shorter periods of time as our different flavors of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) start to clash. There's no open conflict,we just make each other nervous after a while.

    This stuff is hereditary folks, I can go back through what we know of our family background and odd ducks abound. To add to that, I have the exact same foot stimulant that my mum and her mother and brother had.

    Oh well. IT all works out. I'm weird about money, too. So long as my minimal needs are met, I don't need anymore and can be generous to a fault. I've got it under control now, but between me and husband who was Aspie lite and ADD and would give someone the coat off his back (literally) if they were cold.

    I can't count the number of times he came home shivering and soaked after having given his coat to a homeless person.

    We finally solved this by buying a bunch of second hand coats and blankets that he could hand out to those in need. And awful lot of homeless people got Army surplus field jackets/liners and blankets.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This stuff sure is hereditary. I can see it going back generations in my family also. Esp on my dad's side. He was lucky that growing up most of his classmates were cousins or other relatives in some way. In the block that my gma lived on, there were seven houses filled with relatives. Catholic relatives, which means they each had more than 2 kids in them, lol. We had to either split the family up into factions or rent a hall to have a family reunion by the time I was eight.
    Boy could you see the aspie traits in those gatherings, lol. And mom's side is smaller, but has more severe cases of autism sprinkled through the generations.

    Took having grandkids to get my dad to enjoy the hugging thing with anyone but me. seems his little girl was his first exception, lol. Or he couldn't avoid it when I was little so he got used to it. whatever. But he still does the side arm hug thing mostly, IF we can get him to make an appearance when the family is around. And my mom wonders why I don't like the family get-togethers more. Again, lol.
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    GN....Im late to this, sorry. I agree its your mom showing love.

    My entire life my dad showed he loved me by being the best provider he could possibly be. In his mind, money meant he loved me. He was raised by a father who barely supported his family and only dropped by to make another sibling for him. He was determined that he would not be that man. And he wasnt. There were many times during my life that I would have gladly traded all my perks for time with him. I did finally figure all this out when I was an As a kid I didnt realize why he did what he did.

    In the end we did get much closer. We always said I love you but that was hard for him because he wasnt raised that way.

    Im sorta sad about what DDD says about our "things" but I know its true. Even though I had a very difficult life with my mother, I treasure everything I have that was hers. I dont think my kids will feel that way but Im trying to raise Monkey to want my things.
  15. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Janet. I get what you say about your dad being the provider. It broke my late husband's heart in many respects when he couldn't work to help support me. Early on, he felt bad because I made more $$ than he did. I was a computer operator on base at his first duty station. Of course, I earned more than a Pfc, LoL!

    Oh yeah, he got SSDI once he could no longer work, and had a VA pension that I now collect half of, but it wasn't the same as actually WORKING. I understand that now that I can no longer work and live off the government. I paid into that system for many years, but it still doesn't feel right to me.

    It is hard for me to demonstrate physical affection and crowds, even of people that I know, freak me out.
  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    GoingNorth, I totally agree, that this is showing her love.
    Next time she does this, thank her graciously and lovingly, and then open a savings account and deposit the money. No one has to know. Just keep adding to it. When the time comes for your mom to need extra nursing care, medications, or anything else, just provide it for her with a smile. She never has to know that you didn't have to go broke to make things happen.
    Just a thought.
  17. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Terry, I find your suggestion to be amusing as it would be perfect payback for what my parents did when I was in my teens. Different culture and all of that, but when I started working, I was expected to contribute to the household even though I was only 15.

    It was just the way things were done in my family. Imagine my surprise when I moved out at 18 and had my deposits, first and last, kitchen stuff, window stuff, bedding, and all of that supplied by my parents who had socked away every dime I'd ever given to the household!

    Not only was it a wonderful gesture, but it was a loving lesson in how a little bit per week adds up to more than you think it would.

    I'm 53 and mum is 79, so medications and potential need for nursing care are an issue already. She has all that planned for as well as final expenses. Luckily, she was smart and chose my younger sister the stock broker's assistant as her executrix. I can barely balance a checkbook.