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husband's childhood possessions

My MIL is very possessive of DH's childhood things (photos, crafts made, etc.) I completely understand her wanting to keep things he made for her and certain sentimental things, but we have nothing from his childhood.

Awhile ago, she brought out this book he made and illustrated when he was young and it was hilarious. I mentioned that he should show it to my little brothers, who were 4 and 7, because they'd think it was so cool that big brother in law "wrote" a book. FIL immediately said we'd have to ask MIL because it's hers....I was thinking, actually it's DH's! He made it in school and didn't give it to her, she just has it. 

 I'd like some of my husbands childhood photos mainly. Did any of you guys deal with this? I'm at a loss because my parents gave me tons of mine. 

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Re: husband's childhood possessions

  • image lynalli:

    My MIL is very possessive of DH's childhood things (photos, crafts made, etc.) I completely understand her wanting to keep things he made for her and certain sentimental things, but we have nothing from his childhood.

    Awhile ago, she brought out this book he made and illustrated when he was young and it was hilarious. I mentioned that he should show it to my little brothers, who were 4 and 7, because they'd think it was so cool that big brother in law "wrote" a book. FIL immediately said we'd have to ask MIL because it's hers....I was thinking, actually it's DH's! He made it in school and didn't give it to her, she just has it. 

     I'd like some of my husbands childhood photos mainly. Did any of you guys deal with this? I'm at a loss because my parents gave me tons of mine. 

     I think the 'self published book' he wrote is very cool! She should have nurtured that in him -- cheez, maybe he'd have become a big writer or cartoonist or illustrator.

    She really should hand all of those items over to him. By rights, they are his, not his mother's. He needs to request that she hand them over to him.

  • The stuff belongs to his parents. Ask nicely if you can scan in the photos you want, and make copies of any particular things you want.

    You don't say your dh cares about this at all; just you. What's the deal?

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  • Yeah, as sue sue asked, does your DH care as much as you do? If not, let it go. If he does, then he needs to talk to his mom about it.
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  • DH does care, but won't really want them till we have kids. I just want them for photo albums I am getting ready to make. 

     Making copies is a good idea, though I am not entirely convinced everything belongs to his parents. DH made the stuff. Not everything you make as a child belongs to your parents. 

    We'd have to take the photos to scan since we live in a different city and they don't have a scanner, which I don't think she'd like. She almost didn't give us DH birth certificate so we could get our marriage licence.  

      

  • Why doesn't your husband just ask her if he could have some pictures or take a few and have copies made? I don't understand why this is so hard. 
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  • It's hard because she is weird about it. Husband would definitely be the one to ask, not me. I just wondered if anyone else ran into this problem. I guess it is just my MIL...
  • I'm glad mine kept the bulk of his childhood things, the clutter would have overwhelmed me.

    Also, since no one has asked how do you know what her reaction is going to be regarding the request? Maybe, you can ask to borrow them for a day.

  • Seriously. I have two teenaged kids. All their school papers/art projects etc? Mine and dh's. Will I give them to them if they want them? Maybe. Probably. I don't know. But if you want to get all lawyery about it, the stuff does not belong to the kids, it belongs to the parents; the only thing that belongs to a child is money it earns, and only because of very specific and complex laws relating to child income. I don't have any duty to maintain the items till they reach adulthood then hand them over, like I would if it was stocks or bonds; and the reason is, it's not theirs.

    And you don't get the stuff by making a property law argument, anyway. It's not an issue of law. Your MIL had a child, took a gazillion pictures, made scrapbooks (all of which she and FIL paid for no doubt), saved the plaster hand prints, saved the little pictures he drew, saved the little papers he wrote for class, not to hand over when he became an adult but to save the memories of his childhood and remind herself of a time in her life that is now over for good. Its her and FIL's decision whether to torch the stuff, hand some over, or keep it enshrined in laminate for ever in dh's childhood bedroom they roped off with velvet ropes, leaving all unchanged.

    Ask your mil if you can borrow the pics and scan them in and copy them all, if they mean that much to you. Why you think you're entitled to the originals is beyond me. If there's something your dh wants that he made that they have, I'm sure he can ask for it.

     

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  • My MIL is very sentimental but all of the things she has saved from his childhood, she has given to us at the right time or if we have asked. She would give them to DH if he wanted them, or to us as a couple if I wanted them. As long as it wasn't something made specifically for her or FIL (birthday, Father's Day, or Mother's Day cards, etc.) it has never been an issue. I have wonderful ILs though... :) Hopefully things will get better - just ask kindly & maybe she'll be OK with it.
  • If your dh cared that much about his things, he would have kept them himself, not used the home of your MIL/FIL as "free storage." 

    I disagree that they are his.  They are abandoned property, and belong to whoever took over them, which in this case is your MIL.

    The fact that she brought out one of her "treasures" to share with you, and your first thought is how you can claim them b/c they would be of more value to your little brothers b/c they think it will be "cool" shows what a douche you are.  His mom kept this book for years.  Your brothers will be impressed for five minutes, and then will move on to their latest video game.  Yep, douche.

  • Let your H handle this, and stay out of it. If he cared enough about these items then he'd talk to his parents and get them back.

    The birth certificate thing was nuts, I'll agree with you there. But if I was hanging onto my kid's things for sentimental value, then I wouldn't be willing to loan them to a 4 year-old and a 7 year-old because (a) they probably won't care about it nearly as much as you think they will, and (b) there's a decent chance that they'll get ruined or lost.

    If your H wants to make copies of this stuff, by all means help him do it. Otherwise, MYOB. 

    image
  • Your dh could get a copy of his birth certificate for a fee of about ten dollars from the state department of vital statistics where he was born. You didn't have to take his mother's copy.

     

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  • image Sue_sue:

    Your dh could get a copy of his birth certificate for a fee of about ten dollars from the state department of vital statistics where he was born. You didn't have to take his mother's copy.

     

    I think it's weird if the MIL wouldn't give up the birth certificate if it's just because she wanted to clutch it to her bosom and keep something that belongs to her Baby Boy. I get that it's her copy but I don't see why she'd willingly make her son go through the hassle of getting another copy if she could just loan out hers and then get it back when he finished with it. It'd be a GIGANTIC pain in the _ass for me to get another birth certificate (my county's birth records were tampered with recently, so anyone born after a certain date had to obtain a new one from the state capitol - two hours away), so I'd really be insulted if my mom just flat-out refused to let me use mine to get an important document.

    But if the OP's husband has a tendency to lose important things, or if he's the type who runs to Mommy for help instead of taking care of his own business like an adult ... then, yeah, I totally get MIL refusing to give him the only birth certificate, because he'd be screwed if he lost it. 

    image
  • Wow no idea people would get so worked up?

    In regards to the book- we didn't want to keep it. It wasn't douchy at all, we were heading over to see my brothers then coming right back to stay the night at in laws and just wanted to borrow it. We wouldn't have let it get destroyed.

    I don't want truck loads of things, just a few pictures to make a photo album of he and I.

    I am not trying to be like a lawyer. I am keeping my sons (from another marriage) things he makes in large part to give to him one day if he wants so he can share with his new family. Most people pass down things like that. Again: not talking about truck loads of things. 

    DH was born in different country. Much easier to get from MIL.  

  • Exactly. We have birth certificate in our bank, so it was going to be safe!
  • image lynalli:

    I don't want truck loads of things, just a few pictures to make a photo album of he and I.

    But does your H want the photos, etc.?

    If so, let him take the lead, and stay out of it. He can talk to his mother about getting them. 

    If not, drop it and move on. 

    Either way, this isn't your battle to fight. 

    image
  • I know, I can see what your saying. He only wants them now because I want them now- my grandmother has always scrap booked and wanted to make a photo album of the two of us with us and she probably won't be alive by the time we have kids, which as I said is when he would want them. 
  • So let your husband handle it, then. I don't think you're out of line for wanting to make copies of the photos, but if you keep pursuing it with MIL then you're only going to come across as the "biitchy pushy DIL."

    Let your husband handle his family and keep yourself out of the back-and-forth. If she gives you the photos, help him make the copies/scrapbook and return the pics to MIL in a timely manner.

    Another thought - is MIL familiar with the scanning process? My mom is very smart, but she has no clue about technology ... I've had to explain to her many times how scanning actually works, and she's still afraid that the things she gives me to scan will be lost forever rather than just copied and returned to her. If this is the case with your MIL then maybe she just needs a better understanding of how scanning works?

    image
  • Yes, I had always planned on husband handling it. I haven't had back and forths with her, and we haven't asked her, we just know how she will probably respond. 

     

    The bit about the scanning process is a great point. My mom can barely operate her computer and MIL is the same way. Thanks for taking the time to help, I think if DH explains scanning she may be ok....we can always bring our scanner down with us.  

  • OK, I tried to see this from both sides. Then, I just envisioned myself having to ask my MIL for anything. Ha! I'd rather not. I don't know that I would even want to copy something if she was being possessive like that. I would just move on and go to plan B for the photo album.

     

    Remember, he is yours NOW. That means you are the real winner!

    Plus, when she is gone, you will end up with all that "stuff." So enjoy your clutter free house now!

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  • "I'd like some of my husbands childhood photos mainly." they're DH's photos. ask him......
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  • I'm a mother of three adult children, ages 19-21, with another on the way this December.  Legalistically speaking, nothing belongs to a child save for monies earned or given.  The things I chose to save through the years were sentimental to me, and I consider souvenirs, if you will, of my time in motherhood.   None of the drawings, baby items, photographs, story books, et cetera were set aside by the children...they were set aside by me.  Some of those items, once I become a grandmother, will be shared with my grandchildren.  Some are for myself.  I have put aside some sentimental things for the kids to give them when they become parents themselves.  But they are mine to give and share, I feel.

    I agree with the sentiment that when an adult leaves home, he should take with him the things which he deems important.  My son took his bedroom furniture, which had sentimental value to me, being my grandfathers, but I also always intended it to go with him.  One daughter took precious things of her own (she's not very sentimental, but she's forward minded).  Another daughter only took a few clothes and odds and ends and then bawlked demanding more things after she left...but I wasn't long term storage.  Most things she had been given a time frame to come and pick up (we were moving ourselves) and she didn't.  Lots of things were not kept/moved with us, other things were again, things I had put away...or were mine to give at a time of my choosing...or were things I stated would be their's "one day" (thinking: you'll inherit these, you do not get them because you turned the magic age of 18). 

    My husband only took with him a skateboard when he left home. He just wasn't sentimental as a young adult for anything.  Eventually he asked for his old wooden toybox from the attic for our own kids, and we were given a bookshelf he had (a rickety one that wasn't sentimental, it was just in the attic and they thought why not)...but I had to ask for photos of him when he was a child.  I was given three.  I thought that was a bit miserly, but again, they are her photos.

    For your situation, you need to ask what you can have rather than skipping it because you suppose she might say no or react badly.   


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  • image lynalli:

    DH does care, but won't really want them till we have kids. I just want them for photo albums I am getting ready to make. 

     Making copies is a good idea, though I am not entirely convinced everything belongs to his parents. DH made the stuff. Not everything you make as a child belongs to your parents. 

    We'd have to take the photos to scan since we live in a different city and they don't have a scanner, which I don't think she'd like. She almost didn't give us DH birth certificate so we could get our marriage licence.  

      

    Can you bring your own scanner with you next time you visit? 

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  • You are just dealing with different family perspectives, neither are necessarily wrong - just different.  My MIL is the same way and I didn't understand at first because my family is different.  I have all my childhood stuff in totes in my basement.  My Mom sees it as "my" stuff, not hers.  She has everything I ever made her, and we both have copies of babies pictures. 

    DH, on the other hand, has nothing.  His Mom sees it as "her" stuff, not his.  It's all sentiments of her life with her little boys and doesn't see it stuff for him to keep to have memories of his own childhood.  I was with you, I thought it was weird. 

    I decided I wanted some baby pictures of DH because I was wanting to make a family wall of pictures going up our staircase.  I went to her and asked her if I could borrow them to make copies and she said she was okay with it but you could tell she was reluctant.  A year later I am still waiting, so be prepared.  I could push more, but I just don't see this a big enough issue to fight over. 

    Honestly though, I've just had to realize it's just a different perspective, and while it's weird to me, it's not wrong.  My DH doesn't really seem to care much so that really helps to ignore it.  In the day to day stuff, this really doesn't matter and it only becomes obvious at weird times.  For example at Christmas, I have a ton of ornaments from my childhood, and he isn't allowed to have his because his mom believes they belong to her.  I always feel bad that our tree is mostly my stuff, but as I said earlier, he doesn't seem to care, and we are making new memories and ornaments ourselves together so every year it's balancing out more.  Honestly, if your DH doesn't care, which it doesn't appear he does, I would just let it go.  Pick your battles over stuff that really matters. 

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  • I think your DH should ask!

    MIL was stingy with things but now that we have DS she is letting things come to him- but she is not parting with many pix or his baby book. LOL. I wish she'd just give me the scanned page of his stats so I can compare DS's growth with his (I have my stats) but she just will not budge. 

    She did give me DH's silver baby cup, a book of his, a painting he did, and is sending the rocking chair this Christmas. I'm sure your MIL will let them go with time. It has to be hard. 

     

  • I'm sorry, but I had to laugh at your post because we actually have the opposite problem.  My MIL has kept every little tiny scrap of paper, etc from DH and his brother.  It didn't matter what it was or how insignificant it was.  She actually kept (I swear I couldn't make this up if I tried) the box that their first outifts they received came in (they're twins).  She didn't keep the outfits in them (that I would've understood), but kept the boxes and outfits seperately.  Since DH and I have gotten married, she keeps trying to give DH all this stuff, and he has no interest in most of it.  We have taken a few things (a bear that his aunt hand made for him when he was in the NICU for instance), but she keeps trying to give us so much stuff that has sentimental value to her but not to DH.  I've let DH take the lead on what he wants to keep and what he doesn't.
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  • I am currently saving photos and schoolwork of my children's.  If my son or daughter's spouse came to me in 25 years telling me they want the photos I have saved "since they are really his/hers," I would laugh in their face.  DH would probably ridicule them and every time they rang the doorbell would probably ask "oh, it's child's spouse!  Is there anything else of ours you can't wait until we are dead to get your hands on?"

    Of course, that would probably make you burst into tears about how "mean" your ILS are, b/c you are oblivious that anyone would have a different POV that you deserve everything you can get your hands on.  Fvck your MIL who has held onto this stuff for years - you have brothers in grammar school who would think it's cool.

    You sound super-entitled. 

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  • image Sue_sue:

    The stuff belongs to his parents. Ask nicely if you can scan in the photos you want, and make copies of any particular things you want.

    You don't say your dh cares about this at all; just you. What's the deal?

    Disagree.  This is MIL doing a bit of a power struggle.

    What would be so darned bad with MIL giving the DIL a few pictures/mementos from his childhood?  Her refusal to share any of that information speaks volumes.

    Seriously, people. If your faith in humanity is destroyed because your parents told you there was a Santa Claus and as it turns out there is no Santa Claus, you are an ignorant, hypersensitive cry baby with absolutely zero perspective. - UnderwaterRhymes
  • I had no idea people would be so impassioned by this one!

    I do think she may be doing some power struggle, though not on purpose. She is just very sentimental. On the plus side of it, she still has a card I hand made for her on her mantel. 

    I don't feel entitled, just as I said earlier- wanted a few pictures to make an album, that's all. The solution of scanning and making copies was great, DH really felt comfortable with it. I don't know why we didn't think of it ourselves.

     My family and people I've known are just completely different about these things. I merely wanted to get other people's opinions on if we were weird or if it was a cultural difference. I don't hold my POV over theirs at all. 

     

  • I was leaning towards the sentimental to MIL camp, but the ridiculousness of some of these responses almost pushes me over to the other side. The legal arguments are particularly laughable.

    I think it's fair that MIL wants to keep these items as they are sentimental to her. On the other hand, refusing to let them even borrow the photos, mementos, or birth certificate is nothing more than a power struggle.

    To the OP, I think you can reach a compromise in here somewhere, but it will have to be DH leading the initiative.

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