DD is turning 2 tomorrow and between x-mas and her birthday we've received some generous gifts from friends and family. We created a wishlist and most stuck to it. But the one who didn't we are somewhat confused about how to deal with.
The gift is from my father in law's girlfriend who is currently married to another man. Yes, I am fully aware that I am being judgmental. We spent a Thanksgiving at her house many years ago and I sat next to her husband who cried and drank heavily until he slumped over the table unnoticed by the rest of her family happily chatting away. It was an incredibly sad sight and while this man is clearly an alcoholic I resented her for being so dismissive of his need for respect in his own home. I decided after that I wouldn't participate in their "family" functions. I also don't care for my father in law for this but don't want to alienate him because my DH is still interested in maintaining a relationship. After DDs birth his girlfriend gave $500 as a gift that we accepted, reluctantly and out of respect for his father. I regretted it as it was happening but didn't put up much of a fight because DH was unemployed and it was money. Shortly thereafter my father in law insisted she participate in the baptism. I was uncomfortable but allowed it to keep the peace. I also felt that after accepting the $ that I couldn't very well exclude her. I wish we had never taken the money. I need to make it clear that I take no joy in making judgments about another person ... I respect open marriages so long as both partners are consenting and treated with respect. This is not one of those situations and it is not something I want my daughter to grow up thinking this very disrespectful situation is the norm. I could go on about the inappropriate comments and broken boundaries but I've got that stuff under control now with the exception of GIFTS.
In general I really am not a fan of getting gifts because I feel some obligation to the gift giver even though that isn't the intent ... most of the time. Over the summer my father and law sent us a bear and a mechanical dog from him cruise. Well, a few weeks ago my father in law told my husband that part of the gift sent 6 months ago was from his girlfriend and she never received a thank you card. So my husband told me that she needed one and I went off the deep end. We had NO idea part of it was from her. She knew we got it because my father in law told her but to hear from him the suggestion that we needed to send her a thank you card 6 MONTHS later was pretty strange in my opinion. It seemed to me that they were more interested in pointing out how we were near heathens for not sending a card. I could understand if it came up a month later but 6 months? We aren't puppets for my father in law to command thank you cards from. I told my husband to deal with it, that I was NOT getting involved. I'm guessing he let it go.
So today I get a package from father-in-law's married-to-someone-else girlfriend. Oh joy. She sent two princess/fairy outfits complete with wings and tiaras. If you knew my philosophy on the inappropriate sexualization and consumerism of young girls you'd know that I'm not cool with princess/fairy garb. I realize some are but that isn't the point of this post and don't want to isolate any pro-princess people here as it is a personal choice. My issue here is that she knows I feel this way and a gift like this is pretty passive aggressive and I don't see the situation improving. It is possible that she didn't remember but she could have sent a stuffed turkey and I'd probably still want out from under her gifts.
So I'd like to end the gift giving. I'm still ok with sending a Christmas card to her along with 100 other people but I'm done with receiving gifts from her. It should have never started. I don't want presents from her and I don't want her in my daughter's life. I am not a passive aggressive person and what I'd like to do is send her a genuine thank you card that says "Thank you for thinking of us. It isn't necessary to send gifts in the future as your kind thoughts are enough." But that feels a bit harsh. I really want her to get the message that we don't want any more presents from her. I don't want this kind of relationship with her and my daughter and I don't want indirect pressure on my husband and his father because the women can't get along.
Any suggestions on a win/win situation? I don't see this situation improving and it is going to get more complicated when DD gets older and starts asking more questions about who she is.
Your help is appreciated.