It was a constant battle between us from the moment I married her son. I couldn't tell my mother in law Adrian I liked something because she would have 5 of them for me during our next visit. It was great when it was a toaster oven her son didn't want to get for us, but annoying when it was a dozen hand lotions from Bath and Body Works. She meant well but we were very different in our shopping habits. She loved buying in bulk and I hate it.
The Target bag
I knew it would get worse when her first grandchild was born and it did. If I said Amelia liked coloring books, she would buy 6 at a time. If I said my daughter liked Cheerios, she would place a Costco size tub in front of the kid. Bubble "juice" was purchased by the gallon. Every time Amelia went to Grandma and Grandpa's she had a bag of assorted tsatskees waiting for her. I didn't forbid her to buy all that stuff for her "princess" but I made her keep it at her house. Our Sunday visits would have the same script:
- "I bought 10 stuffed animals with their matching 10 books for Amelia. Do you want to take them home."
-"No A, keep them here. I don't have any room in the apartment".
-"I bought a table and 4 chairs at Walgreens for Amelia. Take them home."
-"No A, keep them here."
Lack of space was an issue, but I also wanted my daughter to have fun toys at her grandparents so that she could look forward to her visits. Her grandma would get on the floor to color, spent a long time blowing bubbles with her granddaughter and ALWAYS had the perfect gift. I loved to see them play together.
When A (I always called her that) passed away suddenly last October, I immediately knew I would miss all the "crap" she bought for Ame. The toughest part of her departure for me is to go to her house and not have her waiting for my girl with a bag full of treasures and the willingness to try them all with her. My heart sank the first time I saw Amelia play with all her stuff without Grandma.
Almost 4 months have gone by since A died. We try to visit Grandpa weekly and Amelia and him do their best to hang out together. My father in law is 83 and can't move around like A could. This Sunday I was really missing my mother in law on our way to her house. I even thought I would have to start buying little things so that Grandpa could keep the tradition going.
When we got to the house, right by the TV, I saw a Target bag I had never seen before. It was full of all those things Amelia currently loves. My father in law hadn't seen it, neither had his 24 hour nurse. This was the last bag from Grandma with enough stuff to last us until Ame turns 4. I thanked A wherever she is but told her "No A keep it here, I don't have any space at home." We have to keep that tradition alive too. Ay Mama!