February 5, 2013 in Features

Were FIL’s loans meant as gifts?

Kathy Mitchell
 

Dear Annie: After two months, I am still upset with my father-in-law. My two daughters recently married, and the weddings were six weeks apart. My in-laws gave us a nice sum of money to help us with the weddings. We were very grateful and told them so.

Right before the first wedding, my husband lost his job. In order to finish paying for the second wedding, we had to ask my father-in-law to lend us more money. He said, “Sure. I want to give the girls what they want.” We didn’t tell our kids about my husband’s job situation because we wanted them to soak in all the glory of being brides without any stress.

Here’s what happened: At Christmas, my father-in-law sent small amounts of money to me, my husband and our son with a note saying, “We thought it would be OK to pass on the girls this year.” The money is such a small amount that it didn’t matter, but I cannot get over the fact that he took out our financial difficulties on them. The girls have no idea why their grandfather didn’t give them holiday gifts, and so far, I haven’t told them.

I am so mad, I could scream. I have to see my father-in-law at a family event this weekend and don’t think I can be civil. Please advise. – Washington

Dear Washington: The fact that Dad is unfair in his gift giving is a legitimate issue, but that doesn’t mean your children are entitled to receive gifts from him. You refer to the wedding money as “loans,” but Dad apparently considered them his wedding gifts to his granddaughters. If so, he was generous, and the girls should know. If they were actual loans and you are repaying the money, we agree that Dad should have treated your family equally at Christmas.

Either way, it serves no purposes to stew in silence. Talk to your husband and then to Dad, together. Try to be nice. We doubt he intended to be unkind, and he probably doesn’t realize that his behavior disturbed you.


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