Growing up in rural East Texas, I came from a large, lower-middle-class blended family: me, my brother, two sisters and two step-sisters. I clearly remember every year at Christmas our parents making sure to tell us Christmas would be “a little short this year,” but everyone would get an equal amount of presents based on cost.
Flash forward 15 years. I’m the oldest and the gay one—the only one who hasn’t given my parents grandchildren. These days my parents don’t have a ton of kids to provide for day-in and day-out, and they are much better off financially; so much so that every grandchild gets showered with the gifts they weren’t able to provide their own children. As adults, my siblings have conceded their gifts to their children. But I haven’t!
I still want my presents! Why has the equal distribution of gifts that was explained to us in our childhood not crossed over into adulthood? Why must I suffer for the acts of my siblings? If the cost was distributed evenly as individual children, why isn’t it distributed equally as adults?
I’m now suffering from a mixed bag of emotions. I don’t want to sound materialistic and selfish, but the anticipation and excitement of opening a gift doesn’t end at age 18. It makes me feel slighted, like a failure. (“Oh, well, when he’s able to give us grandchildren, we’ll buy for them.”) Like a scapegoat for the sake of frugality. Who decided it was OK not to buy your adult children gifts without even a conversation as to why?
If they aren’t buying me gifts, should I have to buy them one? I could have invested that $50 into a much better fund that would have given me a return, up to and including the bartender at The Round-Up Saloon, the local cowboy gay bar.
I’m sure the phenomenon of disappearing Christmas presents isn’t segmented just to the gay kids of the family, but this is my story, and in my story, the single gay son with no kids got the shaft.