DD's college graduation

finedreamsJuly 14, 2010

OK, DD graduated! Commencement is next week. I am flying on Saturday. Hooray!

here is my problem or question or whatever, maybe just venting, it is family related but not step.

Due to limited seats for guests at a commencement ceremony, (her University limits guest number: 2 per family, 3 with special request), price of airfare and hotels and long distance neither mine nor DD's dad's family members are attending.

But family members on both sides and people who are close to DD are sending either gifts or money or whatever people find appropriate, even just a card. Mind you DD is unassuming, and humble, and is not expecting anything, but clearly some attention is nice.

DD is very family oriented, always buys everyone small gifts (even being broke college student), she is a family historian, did a lot of research finding lost family members, visited all kind of archives creating genealogical tree etc My point is she is very into the family thing.

So anyways people want to send something, well people like my parents send cash, my aunt bought her a necklace, my 8-year-old niece made her a card, attention counts, not the price of course. last few days I've been driving to people getting stuff.

here is my problem. EVERYONE except my brother does something. I am his only sibling, DD is my only child so she is his only niece.

My brother does a lot for SIL's nephew, takes him on vacations, he lives with them over summer, he buys him stuff, pays for tutor for him etc YET HE DOESN"T EVEN BUY DD A CARD FOR DD's COLLEGE GRADUATION. I gave him hints by saying "i am driving to our aunt, she is sending something to DD. I have to see mom and dad they sending something to DD" NOTHING. No reaction.

I asked my mom if i should say something, she told me to let it go, he is just generally inattentive, but I am pretty upset. His only niece is graduating college with very good grades and he wouldn't even send a card???

now, what would you do? is it understandable for me to be upset or not? is it normal to not even send a card or a small gift? would you say anything? I have hard time dealing with it. I know DD wouldn't say anything, but I could just see how she'll be opening things and not even a card from her ONLY uncle. WTF? (and by the way nothing from my SIL-his wife either, but at least her excuse is she si crazy).

I appreciate whatever you guys are going to say, tell me if I am off base here.

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I donÂt think itÂs (probably) worth worrying about. I do think it would be appropriate for him to acknowledge in some way (do you know for a fact he hasnÂt sent/isnÂt sending a card or anything?)

But. When I graduated high school, I got gifts and cards from family. College? No. Now, I went a bit late (was 28 when I graduated), but I donÂt remember there being anything made of my brother (at a normal age) graduating, either. Admittedly, that is sort of family-specific, and to some extent person-specific (we didnÂt send out announcements or have parties or anything) so if in your family itÂs something to be recognized in a bigger way, my familyÂs experiences arenÂt really relevant.

What is more relevant? Not if your daughter will or wonÂt say anything out of politeness, but do you think (honestly) she will be hurt or will care? (does she know her uncle is "generally inattentive" and wonÂt take it personally, or will be hurt?). If not, definitely let it go. It shouldnÂt be about if *youÂre* hurt, but if she is. If yes, I donÂt see a harm in telling your brother something along those lines. "look, you donÂt have to send a gift or anything, but i think DDs feeling will be hurt if you donÂt send a card or some kind of acknowledgement."

btw, congrats for dd.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 11:32PM
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thanks quirk, I know for a fact he is sending nothing because I am taking things with me, it would be silly of him to mail it, I doubt he even knows her address.

We typically don't make a big deal of anything either, DD didn't have high school graduation party, and there is no party now either. DD hates ceremonies and didn't even want to participate in commencement, she just does it for me and her dad.

By the way my brother didn't give her anything for high school graduation either. I doubt DD cares, she usually does not care, it is more that i am upset that he makes no effort, I guess it is uncomfortable for me to watch how much he extends himself for his wife's nephew yet nothing here. I will certainly acknowledge his children's graduations. It does hurt.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 2:49AM
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Sounds like a him thing combined with a general disinterest in graduations.

When strong academic performance is an expected family norm, congratulations seem out of place. Congratulating someone for graduating from high school seems a bit odd in families where the alternative would have been considered a disgrace. In my family, only earning a PhD was considered congratulations-worthy. (None of us even attended our own graduation ceremonies unless we were giving speeches.)

So let it go. Or stop with the gentle hints and say flat out "You know, it would mean a lot to DD and to me if you sent her a graduation card. She always takes the time to remember everyone else's occasions, and acknowledging one of hers would be nice."

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 9:11AM
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Congrats to the daughter and congrats to you, Finedreams. You've worked very hard at momhood to get to this day. Good job, both of you.

I get why the brother and no acknowledgement annoys and hurts you. I would be hurt too. I might 'forgive' him if he had at least made over it to me. You know "Sis, Little Finedreams as done so well, when you get there give her a big hug and give her my congrats, we're all every proud of her".

I could live with that. I could strike it up to 'he's just not the gift giving/card sending type of guy'. I could even strike up all the nice things he does for or gets for his wife's nephew as likely a direct result of SIL actually doing it and him getting some credit in the event but probably not his doings or idea.

It'd be if no sign of acknowledgement at all, that would stab at me.

Guess I have no advice on how you should handle it, but wanted to toss in that I think it's perfectly normal for you to be feeling a bit hurt and slighted by your brother and his inaction. It might be best to just let it go, but that does not mean you still can't feel a few boo-boos over it. Nothing wrong in thinking/feeling families show their love and support for each other by acknowledging each other's achievments and important events in each other's life.

Again, best of wishes to your daughter and congrats to you both.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 9:38AM
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"Sounds like a him thing combined with a general disinterest in graduations.""When strong academic performance is an expected family norm, congratulations seem out of place."

My DD did more than expected and more than many other teenagers accomplish. DD graduated high school with IB diploma and very high score, she is National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist with near perfect SAT score (few points off) in 2007 and got Bachelor degree with high honors from prestigious University in 2010. And all of this with working several jobs nonstop the whole time supporting herself in a very expensive city. I understand it is not PhD but frankly for me she accomplished more than expected. Certainly deserves congratulations in my books.

It is not disinterest in graduations that bothers me but his disinterest in DD. Just because not graduating from college is a disgrace in my family, DD's college graduation does not mean less for me. Not like I have 10 children or my brother has 10 sisters and 10 nieces. We are a very small family.

I was not going to say anything to my brother, at 43 he is not going to change. DD doesn't care either way. I am upset over my brother's lack of interest along with his crazy wife, nothing to do with graduation per se. I guess his involvement with SIL's nephew and constant lack of involvement with DD is hurtful. That's what i am upset about not graduation. Thanks

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 9:51AM
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Justmetoo, thank you so much for words of congratulation and understanding.

I am certainly not going to hold grudges, I can't change him or SIL, that's how they are. Could be worse! Strange he is this way because my parents are very attentive.

But DD knows how he is so she won't even say anything.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 10:00AM
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Congratulations! You must be so proud.

I can understand why you're so upset by the lack of even a card. I was furious when one of our very close family members completely ignored when my brother recently got his doctorate. But, while my brother noticed the slight, of course, he was more excited and relieved to be done, and said family member, like your brother, is notorious for their lack of even basic civilities.

I'd let it go; if you do say something and he still ignores it, you're going to be even more upset. This doesn't mean that you can't be upset with him, of course. But it's honestly probably upsetting you more than your daughter right now - and certainly more than your brother. It's his loss; most people would be thrilled to have a niece like that.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 11:19AM
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Congradulations. To me, this is actually related to step issues, becasue many men depend on the women in their lives to do these little things for them. Then SM may get annoyed and say why should I do anything for step kids who dont get along, and to me the answer is, you are doing for DH. In any event, I digress. Now, my mom is still alive and would hound bro. If she were not around, I probably buy a card from him, sign it, and send it to her. But thats me, I know bro loves her.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 1:27PM
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Sorry FD -- I didn't mean to diminish your daughter's accomplishments, which are impressive! Congratulations to her and to you, for clearly having done a fine job raising her.

My point was only that some families 'set the bar' extraordinarily high, and meeting those expectations, no matter how high they are, is not celebrated the way it is in other families.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 1:49PM
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"now, what would you do? is it understandable for me to be upset or not? is it normal to not even send a card or a small gift? would you say anything?"

1. What I would do is exactly what you are doing. Venting :)
2. Yes, it's understandable, I'd be upset too.
3. "Normal". Hm. Well, from what you've described it is normal for him and his relationship with your DD. It appears it's not normal for how he treats others. Unfortunate. But probably normal.
4. I'd say something if I thought it would do any good. And I'd say something like what was suggested above: DD worked hard, I know you're probably busy and it's easy to forget, but would you give her a call or send a card letting her know how proud you are? It would mean a lot to me.

I received no gifts/cards/etc. for my college graduation from family members. My friends, their parents... they gave me gifts and I appreciated their tokens of pride so very much. For me, taking the time to really congratulate someone for accomplishing a goal is very important. Regardless of what it is.

Your dd sounds like she's gone above and beyond many graduates, and that is worthy of extreme pride (so please don't take this wrong because it has nothing to do with your DD, just a generalization). My feeling is that if someone graduated Summa Cum Laude from Harvard or plumbing school it shouldn't matter insofar as they should be shown by their family and friends that their efforts and accomplishment did not go unnoticed.

Praising someone for success (even if it's something that may be considered by others to be not that hard or unusual) is important. Acknowledging achievement is important.

I have a friend who recently completed a marathon. Ten miles is not very much. I can run 10 miles faster than this person. I have another friend who has won the Ironman and many who have competed in similar elite marathons and triathlons. But I am so proud of her and I'm her biggest cheerleader. She set a goal, she worked toward it and she accomplished it! It's so cool to see her look of pride, and see her self-worth rise and to know that she knows that she is more capable than before. To me, that's cool.

And if your brother is too ignorant to see just what a cool niece he has, it's his loss. Heck, I'm proud of her and I don't even know her.

(((virtual card congratulating dd)))

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 2:08PM
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'Praising someone for success (even if it's something that may be considered by others to be not that hard or unusual) is important. Acknowledging achievement is important.'

Thanks silvers, it is a great point. Plumbing school for one person is no less success than PhD for someone else.
Great example with marathons, I am in OK physical shape but never ever was, am or will be able to run even a mile. For me 10 miles is well beyond what human beings can do.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 3:41PM
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thanks kkny,

good point, yes women usually are the ones who do this type of stuff, like buy cards or gifts. But mind you my SIL is crazy and absolutely incapable and everything at home is done by my brother. He sometimes delegates to her some chores but it is always a disaster.

But my niece-8 (my brother's daughter) got DD a card -my mom helped and she got DD a little gift, so i think it compensated for my brother's lack of attention. My mom gave up on them with their craziness and is just trying to influence my niece in a positive way.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 3:50PM
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I like sweeby's script:

"it would mean a lot to DD and to me if you sent her a graduation card. She always takes the time to remember everyone else's occasions, and acknowledging one of hers would be nice."

If he still does nothing, you can let go of your expectations for him.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 1:12PM
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Don't sweat the small stuff. Forget it.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 3:25AM
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Congratulations to your DD, FD, and to you, as well. It sounds like your DD is an amazing, intelligent and motivated young woman. Kudos to you for raising a great kid!

As far as your brother goes...I guess it is different for different families. When I graduated from college, I received a check from my grandparents, my dad took me out to dinner and gave me a gift, and my mom gave me a gift, as well.

I did NOT receive cards or gifts from other family members/friends.

BUT I also didn't have a party, of my own choosing. My cousin graduated the same time I did, and she had a party hosted at her mom's house--many of our family members were there, myself included, and she got many gifts and cards.

I think having a party--a time for celebration--kind of sets the "expectation" that a gift is nice. I hate to use the word expectation, but you kwim...it's the *polite* thing to do.

What if you called your brother and said "hey, DD is excited about her graduation and disappointed she can't invite you to the ceremony, how about dinner at my house?"

Then I am sure he would acknowledge her accomplishment. And, really, THAT is what this is about, not a card or a gift, it's just about him acknowledging this milestone for her. I get it.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 9:14AM
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