Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gift Giving

Do you purchase gifts for your ex? No? You should rethink that idea. If you have children, especially smaller ones, it is imperative that you purchase gifts for the children to give to their other parent. The gift does not have to come from you and it certainly doesn't need to be expensive but it should be done. This is important for children, they learn that A. you are getting along or at least trying to get along. B. the children learn that holidays and birthdays are about other people not just themselves and the importance of giving. As the children get older they can be reminded that the gift event is coming up and should plan accordingly. They can save their allowance or do some chores to earn money. They could even make a gift themselves.

When I was first divorced my son was not even a year old. We divorced before christmas. It was my son's first christmas. I went all out and bought everything for him I could find that was appropriate for his age. I couldn't afford it but didn't care. He actually fell asleep opening presents and I ended up saving the unopened ones for his birthday. As you can imagine there was nothing for me under the tree. Frankly, at that point I didn't think much of it. It wasn't until he was a little older when he noticed that there was never anything under the tree for mom that it started to bother me. He would ask my why Santa didn't bring anything for me. I didn't have much of an answer as I recall.

I didn't buy gifts for my ex. I should have. I don't think it was on my radar but if it was I probably reasoned that he was already remarried and was having a jolly christmas without my gift. Of course the gift wouldn't have been from me or even about me. It would have been a nice gesture on my part. The same goes for his father, my ex. He should have taken our son shopping for a present for mom. If the ex doesn't someone else in the family should.

I don't know if my parents or brother ever thought about this. It would have meant so much if one of them had taken my son out to buy a gift. Being a single mother is hard. It is a lonely job with little appreciation. I already felt pretty shitty about myself having been divorced so young but to repeatedly feel shunned at christmas or my birthday was horrible. For years I dreaded the holiday season. I never knew if I should ask my father to take this on for my son. I never did, I thought it was like begging. I had too much pride. Looking back I never expected my ex to take care of this, hell he couldn't get me a gift when we were married why expect one now that we were divorced? I did expect it of my family. They were supposed to love me. I felt as if they were punishing me for getting a divorce. I know that wasn't the case, I know now that they simply didn't think about it, but that is almost just as bad.

If you are divorced or seperated take your kid out to buy your ex spouse a gift. If you have a family member who is divorced or a single parent take the child out to shop for a gift. It will mean the world to the parent but it will make the child feel wonderful knowing he remembered his parent and learned about giving.

I still don't get gifts for christmas or my birthday. Now I buy myself something I want and take the kids out to a nice restaurant for my birthday. I get what I want and I don't have to clean it up, and I get to have a nice meal with my children. What could possibly be better? I have tried to push them in the direction of gift giving. I gave my 14 year old son money to buy presents this year for christmas. He bought his little sister a gift which I was grateful for and then he bought gifts for his friends and enjoyed the process. He still forgot mom. Maybe next year?

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