Cultural differences?

[deleted account] ( 2 moms have responded )

Good morning, afternoon, evening, dearest moms, grand moms, sisters, everyone,
please help me understand the situation. Let me start by saying I wasn't born in US. I've been here for 16 years since I was 24, but I still struggle with some cultural differences, still learning, and will probably always be!
I have been married for 16 years, my husband is a wonderful man, who loves me and i love him, we have a daughter who is 10. My mother-in-law passed away 6 years ago. She had 3 grandchildren - 2 teen grandsons and 1 granddaughter. Like most of the women, she had some jewelry, that she liked talking about. She really liked talking about her jewelry and I remember her saying to me before i married her son: "If you and my son have a daughter, my jewelry will go to her after i die. If you don't, it will go to my niece - i want my jewelry to stay in the family." That statement made me feel uncomfortable to say the least - i never wanted her jewelry, but why telling me who is part of the family and who isn't, particularly before the wedding. Time passed, she passed away. One day her widowed husband, my father-in-law, joined us for dinner and asked if he could give my daughter a jewelry box that was left from his wife. I had a thought running through my brain that he was offering an empty jewelry box to his granddaughter but dismissed it as my misunderstanding of cultural differences and how people express their thoughts. Later on, after he father-in-law left, my husband came to me and said: "Just to be clear, dad was offering an empty jewelry box." I was stunned. So I was not hearing things and had no reason to blame the cultural differences. He really was going to give his grad daughter an empty jewelry box from her passed away grand mother. I should mention that my mother-in-law was promising her jewelry to many people when she was alive - even to her grandsons so they could "give her engagement rings to their future wives" (her quote apparently). I know the boys did not inherit her jewelry as their dad who is my husband's brother, what trying to inquire if my daughter received any of her grandmother's jewelry.
Please help me understand this situation - is this kind of situation normal in American society? I am feeling insulted that my daughter is receiving an empty jewelry box from her dead grandmother - there was no expectation of anything, I don't even know what happened to that jewelry, nor do I care, but an empty jewelry box to a granddaughter, really? My daughter is 10 now, I am sure i will get a question later on what happened to the contents of the box, what shall i tell her? Do i have the reason to be upset with this, or this is quite normal for American grandmothers. I feel this is a very very strange situation.

Thank you for your time and any advice, explanation you can offer me.

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Sarah - posted on 09/04/2016




I agree. Personal items are often passed down to children and grandchildren. Even though the box had no items in it, it was still her grandmother's and as she does acquire jewelry over the years, she can carefully store them and think of her grandma. Someday she may hand it on to her own child or grandchild and it may become quite an heirloom. Regarding the rings, and I write this because no one seems to know where they are nor exactly what grandma wanted to happen with them. It is important to write down your intentions for things like engagement and weddings rings. My mother was very clears that her rings were to go to two of her four granddaughters. That eliminated any arguments or quibbling over who got what from grandma. I agree that family rings should be given to the girls as a young man may give a ring to a girl and then she leaves the family and takes the family heirloom with her. My rings are already determined to go to my daughters.

Sarah - posted on 09/04/2016




A jewelry box is a very precious thing....even an empty one. Many people will pass down their empty jewelry boxes to other family members. My mother has her grandmother's. It is like passing down a rocking chair or a baby's bed that was built by a family member. It does not matter if the box was empty as the value was in the box.

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