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Posted - 12/09/2004 :  1:08:17 PM  Show Profile Send a Private Message
I don't think you should expect a verbal apology, that is just too hard for some people. My brother in law refused to come to our wedding 24 years ago. I never asked for an apology, and over the years our relationship has warmed, although we still don't have a lot in common. I think if you have the time you should knit for them, that was your first inclination. Maybe your husband doesn't understand what the knitting means to you. You don't have to be best friends if SIL is someone you can't trust, but a civil relationship between you and SIL can mean room for a loving relationship between you and your brother (and that would probably make your parents happy too). Holding onto hard feelings will hurt you more than the person you are angry with.
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Chatty Knitter

199 Posts

Posted - 12/09/2004 :  1:13:24 PM  Show Profile Send pattiw a Private Message
Molly, I was in the same situation last year at Christmas. My sister had been estranged from the family for some time. Her actions were the problem and the estrangement was her decision. She showed up last fall at my parents house with a new baby, acting as if nothing had ever happened. My parents took her in no questions asked, which I do understand at some level, having children of my own. My brothers, my DH, and I weren't ready to forgive until she acknowledged her actions and apologized. A few days later, one of my brothers was diagnosed with testicular cancer. That immediately makes what's important in life much clearer.

Neither my brothers nor I feel close to her, nor do we trust her, nor do we ever expect to receive an apology, but we've set aside any grudges...for the sake of our parents, her daughter, and our own health.

That said, I don't knit for anyone I don't feel close to. For me, it's an emotional investment. I have knit several things for my niece (my sister's baby), but, at this point, I wouldn't even consider knitting for my sister....but that's me! You should do what your heart tells you is right for you.

On a side note, I also don't let anyone tell me what I should knit or for whom, not even my DH. Your husbands feelings shouldn't dictate how you handle your family relationships. I will say that in my situation, my DH was the last one to come around. I think that was because he was trying to protect me. Once I explained how I felt about things and what I wanted to do, he came around and supported my decision.

Please remember that's it's not just about you, your husband, your brother and SIL. Your parents have the same love for you and your brother, and any open hostilities put them in the middle.

I don't know if this helps you with your decision at all, but I hope so.


I'm not always perfect, but I am always me.
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New Pal

15 Posts

Posted - 12/09/2004 :  1:36:34 PM  Show Profile Send Kiki585 a Private Message
Originally posted by Molly C

I am in a bit of a quandry for Christmas. I know sometimes these convoluted family posts get hard to follow, so I'll try to keep it simple.

This Christmas we are going to my parents' house for the holiday. We alternate holidays and years, and this year is Christmas with my parents.

My mother told me yesterday that my brother and his wife are also coming for Christmas this year, and it will be the first time in many, many years that I've celebrated with them present and the first time DH will be there too. There are some estrangement issues with my brother and his wife between DH and me, mostly because my SIL is not a nice person.

For various reasons, my brother and SIL did not come to my wedding, and I have only seen them once since before I was married, and that was this summer at a family funeral that my DH could not attend. Suffice it to say, this has the potential to be a very tedious day, and the only saving grace is that my brother and SIL will only be visiting for less than 24 hours.

Oddly enough, my brother and I still exchange Christmas and birthday presents, depsite the fact that we don't really speak. His birthday was last week, and I'd been contemplating asking him via email if we could stop exchanging gifts now that we are grown and married and lead very different lives. Even if we were on speaking terms, we still would rarely see each other, and it's hard to figure out what they might want or need.

Well, since they are now coming for Christmas, I can't very well not exchange gifts with them. They live in a small apartment because my brother went back to school and they moved for a new job for my SIL. A lot of their stuff is in storage at my brother's in-laws until they by a house again (probably several years from now). They are very active and outdoorsy, but at this point I'm fairly confident they have all the outdoor supplies they need for camping, skiing, etc. etc.

To the point of this posting, I was thinking of making them each a hat and mitten set. If I get some bulky yarn I could knit up some sets pretty quickly, and unless the colors are off, I feel confident that they would use and enjoy hats and mittens; my SIL has asked my mom to knit her mittens years past, and last year after my mom taught me to knit she was in the knitting mode and made them some scarves while they visited.

My DH, on the other hand, thinks that I should not make them anything knitted because I would be investing too much time for otherwise toxic family members. He says that I should do what I like, but he would prefer just to buy them something that isn't emotionally hand crafted.

I see my DH's point, and it is definitely one that I am considering. I do know that my brother is making Christmas presents, so we will most likely get something hand crafted from him. I am just torn with what to do. I'd really like to make up with them, but my first loyalty is to my DH, and I can't make up with them until they apologize and acknowledge that they hurt us. It is unlikely they will ever do so. My mother feels that the fact they are coming for Christmas is their apology; I think my brother wanted to come specifically because DH and I will be there, but for DH's sake I need a verbal apology before I can forgive them.

Still, he is my brother, and SIL was actually my best friend for a time, so it kind of hurts that they are no longer in my life. I think part of me wants to make them something so that when they wear it they will think of me and some of that is good thoughts just because we are all family, and some of it selfish just because I want them to think about what they did. . . .

Sorry - I didn't do such a good job of keeping this short. I'd just like opinions on what I should do or not do, or if any of you have any other similar stories you could share.



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Chatty Knitter

188 Posts

Posted - 12/09/2004 :  1:55:29 PM  Show Profile  Visit levis_mama's Homepage Send levis_mama a Private Message
Having read your post and the subsequent responses, I will admit to being torn. My first reaction was "Not in a million years!" and it's based on something really awful said to me by my uncle's wife many years ago. It took nearly half my life to put that behind me (Yes, it *was* that bad), but I still have no desire to see her again. But then I thought about it some more. If there was some hope of reconcilliation, I might be tempted to go to the trouble. So I can see why you may want to knit something for them.

My last thought is this: Knitting (or any kind of creation) is therapeutic. I may knit an item for someone else to use, but ultimately I am knitting for myself.

A priest, a rabbi, and a minister all walk into a stich-n-beach...
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Gabber Extraordinaire

473 Posts

Posted - 12/09/2004 :  2:45:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit SurfinSandy's Homepage Send SurfinSandy a Private Message
go with your gut. you are the only one who is certain what you want to do. Investing the time in this gift could help soften things, making apologies come easier for all. If it's not a huge amount of time being invested, then it's almost worth the same as anything you can buy, monitarily. What do you have to loose? and what do you have to gain? Sounds like its possible to patch things up, and maybe your brother had intentions to do so when choosing to spend the hoildays together this year.
Your story is so differnt than mine, but similar. My hubby's sister asked us to help with her wedding a couple years ago. While she didn't offer to pay or reimburse hubby any for doing photography, she did offer to reimburse me what I spent making the food for her reception. I know they were strapped, but.....anyway. I never saw a penny from her and my family ate on wedding leftovers that week because it cut into our personal budget. Then she had the gaul to ask me to knit her a scarf! On a year us grown kids didn't exchange names even! I told hubby how I felt and he agreed with me, in fact instructed me not to knit her anything. I decided if she ever asked again 'where her scarf is' then I'd ask her where my $100 is! (and still not knit her anything unless she paid what it's worth in advance!) Sure hope it doesn't come up again this year!

for what it's worth, there's my 2 cents! Hope your holiday turns out better than you imagined!
Merry Christmas!


No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.
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New Pal

16 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2004 :  07:56:08 AM  Show Profile Send a Private Message
I think I would write them a brief note before they come. Tell them you are feeling awkward and why. Tell them you expected an apology and as it never came it has added to the feelings of estrangement. Then let it go. It is in their hands to either do the right thing or not. At least this way you have told them and been very up front. They can never say we did not know they felt this way or were hurt, etc. Then I would go ahead and knit them something. If they change their minds and do not come, send the knitted items to them. Let your Mom know that you are planning to send them this note in advance. They have time before Christmas if they get a note soon, to think about it, and act on it.
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Posted - 12/10/2004 :  10:32:22 AM  Show Profile Send a Private Message
I have a situation that is kind of like this. I have 3 stepdaughters, 2 that I love dearly and 1 that I don't like and she doesn't like me. There has been 12 years of threats, lies, stealing and many others things from her. I have knitted for my two other stepdaughters and have enjoyed doing it. I can't imagine knitting anything for the other one. I usually think about the person I'm knitting for as I am doing the project. If I knitted this person something, my stitches would be so tight that I wouldn't be able to get my needle through the stitches!! I also know how she takes care of things (even though she is alsmost 21). She asked her dad to ask me to knit her an afghan (she doesn't speak to me). I have yet to do it and I can honestly say that I will not.
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Warming Up

70 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2004 :  10:44:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit Denise's Homepage Send Denise a Private Message
Originally posted by mokey

Denise, could it be the poncho was sent back because it was the wrong size or colour?

"There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness." Gandhi

No, my DH was specifically told that it was sent back to send a message and to hurt my feelings. My DH asked what kind of a message was it sending to his nieces and was told that she doesn't know it's gone, they told her it was lost.
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Permanent Resident

1566 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2004 :  11:20:51 AM  Show Profile Send phlame a Private Message
On the lighter side...I don't even knit for the family I do get along with!


Shirley in Claremont, CA (& and soon , Dana Point)

I can resist everything except temptation.
-- Oscar Wilde
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New Pal

0 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2004 :  5:03:09 PM  Show Profile Send Tricotine17 a Private Message
Amen! Ignore the jerks and let them live their miserable lives however they please without bothering you!
Originally posted by Hello Knitty

Life is too short to waste your knitting time on people like that!

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Permanent Resident

1568 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2004 :  01:44:40 AM  Show Profile  Send mamid a Yahoo! Message Send mamid a Private Message
if it was my brother and sil, I wouldn't knit for them. Nope. No way. Uhuh. Instead, I'd buy a gift totalling 20$ preferably on sale. You know... the token gift. nothing more.

But knit for them? that would be a waste of my time and energy.

Craftiness is Sanity
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Permanent Resident

2401 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2004 :  06:34:52 AM  Show Profile Send sallyjo a Private Message
Pauline - about your granddaughter sending you a thank you - people grow up! That's why you sent those things all those years.

"as if God had shrugged his shoulders (and) presently our civilization will once again belong to the misshapen, the moonstruck, and the damned" Woolcott Gibbs
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Permanent Resident

1494 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2004 :  5:06:20 PM  Show Profile Send draymer a Private Message
I made a lace shawl for my MIL last Christmas. It was the most frustrating thing I had ever knit, and the most expensive (I'm pretty cheap). I don't really appreciate my MIL (she talks constantly, about things she knows I'm not interested in), but I wanted to do something significant for her because I feel very guilty for not appreciating her more. Well, it did work kinda like a prayer shawl. I still don't like spending large amounts of time alone with my MIL, but I don't feel as guilty, and consequently as bad, when I do, because I know I did something really nice for her, which she really appreciates, and it took more effort on my part than just ordering something on-line. Since I feel better, I'm not in such a stressed out mood, and it is not such an effort to be nice.

I'm lucky I don't have to interact with anyone actively hostile. I have a brother estranged from the family, but he never visits, never writes, never phones, so the subject of a gift could never come up.

Good luck with whatever you decide, Molly C.

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Permanent Resident

1292 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2004 :  09:25:22 AM  Show Profile  Send Sher a Yahoo! Message Send Sher a Private Message
I wish to respectfully disagree with one of the previous posters. NEVER put anything in writing (unless it is through a lawyer)! It may come back to haunt you. Been there, done that.
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Permanent Resident

1789 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2004 :  2:53:33 PM  Show Profile Send luv2knit944 a Private Message
Thanks SallyJo,
I know that means something,but I didn't hear from her thereafter.I so much want to have a relationship with my grandchildren before I die."Don't wait 'til someone dies before you tell them tat you love them."This talk host of WBZ in Boston said this in his interview the day before he died this past week.How right he is.

Sorry everyone, for taking away from the topic but I just wanted to get back to Sally.And I 've been having the flu so bad this whole week that I just didn't take time to PM her instead.I won't do it again.
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