My beloved grandmother, who currently resides alone after the demise of my granddad a few years back, always exhibits remarkable generosity towards me and my family. Being in my thirties, blessed with two beautiful kids and a loving spouse, we are financially stable but not overly affluent.

Our generous matriarch has consistently blessed us with thoughtful and beautiful gifts during festive occasions like Christmas and Easter, as well as birthdays. Her kindness doesn’t stop there; she often sends us additional funds and even made a kind gesture last year of booking theatre tickets for my husband and I. What’s more, she has also offered her financial assistance for our forthcoming summer vacation this year in the heart of Glasgow.

I’m awash with guilt, however, at accepting her generous gifts. She has offered similar generosity to my two brothers in the past, and I know for a fact that she can’t do the same for them now, as she has herself subtly indicated.

Since childhood, my grandmother and I have had a special bond, which made me spend substantial amounts of time at her place, including sleepovers and days out in Glasgow. Nevertheless, her current financial setup remains a bit of a mystery to me, thus leaving me doubtful about accepting her heartfelt but substantial gifts. My fear is that she might feel obligated to continue with her generosity.

I am in a dilemma. The risk of distressing her by refusing her gifts strikes me hard. At the same time, I do not want her to feel obligated to continue her generosity. Another concern is the possible discovery by my brothers about our grandmother’s preferential treatment. I’m seeking guidance on how to navigate this situation delicately.

Advice from the expert

In my judgment, your grandmother probably enjoys taking care of you and your family with her generosity and remaining an integral part of your lives. After all, it is her hard-earned money, and she has every right to spend it the way she desires. If this brings her joy and satisfaction, there would seem to be no harm in accepting her gifts.

As far as your brothers are concerned, it’s possible that she perceives a difference in the intensity of relationships she shares with you and them. However, if this turns out to be a problem for them, it should remain their concern, not yours.

You might consider gently expressing to your dear grandmother that while you greatly value her generosity, it does not have any influence over the love and respect you hold for her. This way, even if she opts to give you less in the future owing to any financial constraints, there will be no impact on your relationship with her.

To give an example, my own sister Linda has always been incredibly giving towards all her nephews and nieces. Despite having no children of her own and being a widow now, I know that her generosity brings her immense happiness.

I would imagine that at this stage of her life, your grandmother may not find a significant need for spending on herself and perhaps derives pleasure from helping you out. You needn’t feel overly guilty about this situation. However, you might want to have an open conversation with her, ensuring that she doesn’t feel any undue pressure to continue. It is quite remarkable of you to not take her kindness for granted.

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