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Keepsakes/hand-me-downs to ex's new kids?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
How many of you save your kids' special keepsakes or hand-me-downs for their younger sibs, with your ex and his new wife?

I saved TONS of stuff from my oldest kids (twin boys, 15). I was so young when I had them that I felt sure I'd eventually get married and have another kid, so I gave myself license to save anything that was sentimental, or particularly cute. I was never into the matchy-matchy twin stuff, but they received a lot of gifts, which were nearly always identical (or the same item, in different colors). When my 2-year-old came along, I basically used one of the twins' items for him and saved the matching one for my ex and his wife.

I really treasured having special baby hand-me-downs from friends and relatives (and from the twins to the 2-year-old). I didn't know of anyone else to give family keepsakes to my ex and his wife, because his parents don't really hang onto things; he had his kids before his sister or any of his cousins; his wife has no siblings and her cousins are all younger. Plus, some of the things just should go to his new babies, like the special blankets his grandmother gave the twins when they came home from the hospital. By the time my ex married his wife, his grandmother had full-blown Alzheimer's and she died before their baby was born.

Anyway, my ex and his wife recently had their 1st baby (also a boy) and I enjoyed passing along all the things I'd saved for them. I tied ribbons around things, with a note that this had been a gift from (my ex)'s sister, or his Mom, or that this was the twins' favorite lullabye c.d., or their first hat... But I'm sure it would've been harder to share these things with her, if there were only one of them! Everything really special, that I used for my 2-year-old and want to hang onto for my little sister's babies, I had a duplicate!

So, how do the rest of you feel about passing along treasured keepsakes to a baby who IS your kids' sibling, but who's NOT your child... especially if that keepsake is the only one?
post #2 of 21
I'm so happy to read this! I'm on the receiving end of your story. Every now and then I say to DP how lucky we are that we've reached a place where everyone gets along. It seems like there are so so many stories about the exact opposite. When I got pregnant his ex gave us the glider she'd used with DSD and said if we have a girl she has things to pass down. I'm not sure how sentimental the things are, but the fact that we've reached a point that she shares like this makes me soooo happy.
post #3 of 21
I'm very happy for you to be in that place with your husband's ex, but it wouldn't work this way over here.

I would not want anything from her, yk? Although, we do make Easter baskets for dsd's siblings at her mom's, and make sure they have something for their birthdays, and never forget them at Christmas. We even watched them a few times. As silly as it sounds, I feel like I'm doing this for dsd's sake, and am not interested in any reciprocal actions. I would never want hand-me downs from her for a baby that we might have.
post #4 of 21
I would absolutely pass along special knit blankets, sweaters, etc. to my ex and his new (if it ever happens ) SO if they had a baby.

Lots of these things were made by HIS mother/grandmother/aunts - and I while it wouldn't be my child, these are special baby things that I would love to give to a new LO.

Hopefully I would have such a relationship with his SO that they would be accepted in the spirit they were given... (I realize not everyone can have this, through no fault of their own!)
post #5 of 21
I that that it is lovely that some people can do that, but it wouldn't work for me. DSD's mom tried to get me to take all manner of baby things, but I wanted nothing to do with it (none of it was sentimental, one-of-a-kind stuff - DH doesn't have relatives that knit or anything like that).

I really wanted our baby to just be our baby - not some addition to the family he had before.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinksprklybarefoot View Post
I that that it is lovely that some people can do that, but it wouldn't work for me. DSD's mom tried to get me to take all manner of baby things, but I wanted nothing to do with it (none of it was sentimental, one-of-a-kind stuff - DH doesn't have relatives that knit or anything like that).

I really wanted our baby to just be our baby - not some addition to the family he had before.
This exactly (except in our case she would never offer, which is fine by me). I don't even like the hand-me-downs from myself (that I bought DSD when she was little) -- I just want this baby to be our baby. What can I say?
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
This exactly (except in our case she would never offer, which is fine by me). I don't even like the hand-me-downs from myself (that I bought DSD when she was little) -- I just want this baby to be our baby. What can I say?
yes, this. I would not have been interested in sentimental hand me downs from dsd's mom, although dp did take all those "family knit things" with him when he moved out of their house, so we do have those. I doubt dsd's mom really wants our hand me downs, although I did let dsd take an old dress of dd's that she really liked for her sister at her mom's house. In any case, we will be saving dd and ds's things for my niece and future niece's and nephews on our side.

I do think it is really great that you guys are willing to share things like that and hope that your gifts were received in the spirit they were meant
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
I'm very happy for you to be in that place with your husband's ex...
Goodness, not with my husband's ex!! She hasn't had another baby, but we have. And she has demonstrated her warm fuzzies about it, by refusing to let my step-son take or return our calls the day the baby was born; and by arriving for a last-minute visit the morning of his 1st birthday, then getting furious when my husband insisted DSS should still spend a few hours with us, for the family party. She had expected DSS wouldn't observe his little brother's birthday at all, if she came to town!

No, I'm definitely talking about my ex and his wife!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
, but it wouldn't work this way over here.

...I would never want hand-me downs from her for a baby that we might have.
Clearly, with the polar-opposite dynamics my husband and I have with our exes, I can understand your point of view!

I do have a couple things of DSS's that his Mom bought and which he wants me to save for our baby. I focus on the fact he loved these things, not that his Mom bought them. But some things he'd like me to save...yikes! Privately, I'd let the baby go naked when he's older, before I'd ever let him put those things on! The main one: the blazer DSS's Mom dressed him up in, the day of the custody change. She tried to convince him his fun, sloppy, California skater life was over and that moving in with his Dad was a miserable, formal, uncomfortable thing he'd have to force himself to endure (unless he would complain enough to convince his guardian ad litem to recommend sending him back...)

Also, my ex lived with a GF for a few years, between me and his wife. She had an older son who lived with them and I felt very squeamish when she gave me hand-me-downs for the twins. And it wasn't that I hated her - she was perfectly nice. It was that I'd known my ex well, since we were kids, and I knew he was just using her to soothe his ego and would dump her when he felt better about himself. I was irritated that he set things up so our kids thought she was their step-mom and that her son was their new brother. I saw disappointment and confusion looming on the horizon, when the two of them suddenly disappeared from the twins' lives. And I was right.

Bottom line, I guess there's a lot of symbolism in how we feel about our kids walking around in someone else's duds - at least if it's someone we know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinksprklybarefoot View Post
I really wanted our baby to just be our baby - not some addition to the family he had before.
I can see that. But personally, I DO feel like our babies are connected to the families we had before. Traditionally, the center of the family - which ties everyone together - should be the parents. In blended families, it's the kids, who belong to two households.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenemami View Post
I...hope that your gifts were received in the spirit they were meant
Gosh, me too! If my ex's wife did feel offended, she sure did a nice job being gracious about receiving my things - and that's all I can ask. I guess there are two ways to look at it: A- I'm acknowledging and celebrating that her child will be important to my children, their sibling. B- I'm rubbing it in her face that I had kids with her husband before she did. Hopefully, she didn't look at it in the latter light. I meant it in the former, of course.
post #9 of 21
i let my dsd's decide for some items. it all depends on how sentimental it was to either us or the person who gave it to us, if it were a gift. mostly for clothes, everyday things that they didn't really get to wear a lot, so they were in pristine clean new condition... if the girls want to take them home to their new baby sister at their mom's house i always let them take them for her. i am not sure how their mom feels. she doesn't like meat all and they are not allowed to even speak my name at their mom's house, so i don't know if she just tosses them or what. but it makes my dsd's feel good about sharing their treasured things with their new baby sister. i really hope that their mom can get past her feelings about me in the whole big picture and see the things as belongings coming from them rather than our house, kwim
my fisr dd always shared her things with her younger sisters at home, my first dh was/is a wonderful father and always treated her sibs at my house totally as her brother and sisters. he even included them in special events, like concert tickets and circus tickets etc. i always respected that about him, because it really mattered to dd.

anyhow, again good luck, be gentle with yourself and others and remember to breathe,

vs
v
post #10 of 21
I wouldn't but not because of any blended family dynamics. Especially sentimental stuff like blankets made by Grandmothers, I am saving for my kids when they are older to use how they see fit. I wouldn't hand them down to any other kid, really.
post #11 of 21
I think it's a lovely gesture to share items provided from the other parent's side of the family with any new children that s/he may have. Especially if the family member has previously passed on.

To refuse to do so, or to refuse to accept such generosity, would seem petty to me.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by montlake View Post
I wouldn't but not because of any blended family dynamics. Especially sentimental stuff like blankets made by Grandmothers, I am saving for my kids when they are older to use how they see fit. I wouldn't hand them down to any other kid, really.
This ^^.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
I think it's a lovely gesture to share items provided from the other parent's side of the family with any new children that s/he may have. Especially if the family member has previously passed on.
yes. glad you are all getting along!
post #14 of 21
There's no way in heck I would give an item made/given by my ex-husband's then-deceased mother to a woman she had never met and/or a grandchild that I'm not even sure she would have acknowledged. The woman does. not. believe. in second families. She'd want her special gifts to be saved for children of her, um, "legitimate" grandchildren. My daughters' babies. Ditto with her jewelry, tchotckes, etc. She wouldn't want a scrap of that stuff in the hands of a second wife - most particularly the very personal stuff like her silver baby spoon, dh's baby toys, old family pictures, etc. She's nowhere near close to death yet, and she's already parceling it out to her sons' wives, to be handed down to their children. I'm not sure she sees men, including her own husband and sons, as part of the tchotchke continuum. I really, really hope she's alive to personally enforce (or better yet, revise) her position is we should ever divorce.

If we were talking about a special item from, say, my husband's aunt, and it was something that I didn't think my own kids would want for their babies, I would absolutely give it. I might give it even if my kids DID want it, because after all, my kids will have all the stuff from dh's mom. And if ex-dh asked for a specific item that had been in his mother's house, I might give it to him even though it would anger her from beyond the grave. After all, she'd be gone and he'd have to deal with that fact plus the fact that he had massively failed to live up to her idea of what a good husband and father is/does. So if a vase or something helped with that, I can't see keeping it.

One large exception: I am not Catholic. My kids are not Catholic. If my ex-dh married a Catholic woman who was raising Catholic children, she can have all the rosaries and the Sister Mary I-Forget-Her-Name relics. They are just sitting in a box here. I'm not giving her the Orthodox icons, though - they belonged to dh's grandmother and she thought they had a magical protective power if you hung them over the doorway. Those and her wedding rings are all we inherited from that grandma, and they belong to my children.

Great. Now I'm going to spend the rest of the day trying to remember the name of the famous Sister who ran an orphanage in NYC in the early 20th century.
post #15 of 21
Mother Cabrini! That's it! I have several medals containing pieces of Mother Cabrini's habit. The next wife, if Catholic, is welcome to them.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
I'm not giving her the Orthodox icons, though - they belonged to dh's grandmother and she thought they had a magical protective power if you hung them over the doorway.
Oy.
post #17 of 21
I'm not sentimental and don't get attached to items -- in fact, just threw out the last few baby clothes (about as many as would fit in a shoe box) because I simply don't have room for extraneous stuff, my youngest baby is 10, and I don't think I'll have more.

My ex doesn't have a partner or other children, but I suspect that if they had needed baby clothes at about the time I was on that purging binge, I would have offered them.
post #18 of 21
I'm not giving her the Orthodox icons, though - they belonged to dh's grandmother and she thought they had a magical protective power if you hung them over the doorway.

"Oy."


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Well, they're prettier than an evil eye plaque.... These would be Russian Orthodox icons, not Jewish Orthodox icons. But still, you know, good vibes from the great-grandma. If there's an afterlife, she's looking out for us - peering out from the icon, for all I know. Maybe that's how the afterlife works if you're Russian Orthodox.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
I'm not giving her the Orthodox icons, though - they belonged to dh's grandmother and she thought they had a magical protective power if you hung them over the doorway.

"Oy."


-------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, they're prettier than an evil eye plaque.... These would be Russian Orthodox icons, not Jewish Orthodox icons. But still, you know, good vibes from the great-grandma. If there's an afterlife, she's looking out for us - peering out from the icon, for all I know. Maybe that's how the afterlife works if you're Russian Orthodox.
Honestly? That's all rather offensive to someone who is Russian Orthodox. They are not some "magical portal" with "protective powers". Nor is great grandma "peering out: through it. They hold serious religious significance to some. Not something to poke fun at. IMO.

ETA... I AM Russian Orthodox. And yes, I found your characterization offensive.
post #20 of 21
I am sorry. I did not mean to offend you. I was not attempting to characterize Russian Orthodox theology generally, but rather to explain the meaning of the icons to the person we inherited them from.

I never met her, so I've only heard it secondhand, but I'm pretty sure my description of how she viewed the icons she gave her descendants (as a medium of her continued presence in a house, and as a magical talisman to ward off evil) is accurate. But just because one Russian Orthodox woman looked at them that way, doesn't mean you do. I'm sorry I wasn't clear that I was relating specific family lore about grandma and her icons. I take no position on the uses and powers of icons as perceived by the larger Russian Orthodox community. But honestly, I sort of like the idea that her spirit could see through it, if she wanted to.

The Mother Cabrini relics? I can't help it, I just don't like them. I don't think they're evil or anything, but they make me uncomfortable.
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