Dear Carolyn: Seeking unbiased opinions on a few things.
(1) My husband has two adult sons from his first marriage. Their mom was an addict and “abandoned” the family when the boys were 5 and 18 months. So my husband was the primary parent.
Come my husband’s birthday, Father’s Day and Christmas, the older son does not give my husband anything, except a card, if I send him an e-mail reminder – otherwise he brings nothing. The younger son does give gifts to his dad. To me, it’s a slap in the face not to give your father a token gift. (2) My husband is addicted to motorcycles. He was when I met him (we’ve been together six years). If he were single, he’d use all of his five vacation weeks to travel the country on his motorcycle. He and I take about two weeks of “together” vacations. His other weeks, he rides while I stay home.
Every January we get into unpleasant discussions as he starts mapping out this year’s trips. When I protest, he gets angry that I’m trying to keep him “from enjoying his passion for riding.”
If I could, I’d sentence you to five minutes a day of writing down your blessings, until it kills your impulse to fuss over whatever isn’t going exactly as you’d like.
Your husband’s motorcycle passion? You are trying to keep him from enjoying it. Cut it out.
As for the “ungrateful” son? Prodding him hasn’t worked. Prodding your husband to get upset hasn’t worked. Your pride in his history is sweet, as is your desire to win him his due – but it stops being sweet when you stir up something that the principals themselves have decided to leave at rest.