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Stop Buying Me Stuff: Lessons from My Mother

I’ve run out of things to buy her. It happened about five or six years ago when I bought her a designer bag, and then three months later she brought it back to me, citing the fact that she had no use for it and could not let it ‘go to waste’.

“I don’t need anything,” she says.

Her eyes don’t sparkle at the sight of new jewellery. Her smile doesn’t broaden for fancy clothes. She has no wish list, no fantasy, nothing. Whatever I buy, any amount that I spend, it’s all fairly useless.

“Stop buying me stuff,” she says.

This used to bother me. I wanted to see her laugh and swoon at my ‘perfect’ gift that was ‘just what she always wanted’. Perhaps it was for my own ego, for my own pleasure, but it was also so that I could know that I pleased her, and she was happy with me.

After the bag incident, I essentially gave up. She hasn’t really gotten a ‘gift’ since. I accepted it, but I didn’t really understand it. Was she just getting old or what? Don’t old people need handbags too?...

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