Wedding gift for the adult sister I'm just getting to know
January 17, 2014 5:31 PM Subscribe
At age 43, I found my birth family. (Original post
.) In addition to my birth mother and many other relatives, I've gained an adult sister. I'm now 44 and she's 29. We're slowly getting to know each other.
My birth mother informed me the day we met last June that I'd be going to my sister's (up until then her only daughter, as far as the world knew) wedding in Key West in March. I was so thrilled by the whirlwind of everything, and I wanted to keep the hoopla surrounding my integration into the family as minimally disruptive to her planning the big event, that I've kind of forgotten something important until now: What on earth should I get her as a wedding present?
posted by ImproviseOrDie to Human Relations (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They are not registering anywhere and are discouraging gifts altogether since it's a destination wedding. But I'm her sister! I've never had a sister before, and neither has she. The "no gifts" rule does not apply to me!
She and her fiancee live in a fairly well stocked house and have lived together for years. He supports them while she's finishing school to be a science teacher. She loves to cook and bake so much, though, that she has been baking things for money here and there and flirts with the idea of doing that full-time.
We are still getting to know one another. Out of the entire family, she's the one I know the least and will take the longest to develop a relationship with. She suffered from her mom's questionable relationship decisions from adolescence until a few years ago, she's the one most conflicted about her grandparents' pressure on her mom to give me up in 1969, and she's having to now watch as her mom reunites with her long-lost secret daughter--me. While they plan her wedding together.
I feel very protective of her, and would love to be closer and a reliable safe harbor for her as she goes through life. But she's also very stoic and private and introverted, and expressing anything like that carries huge risk and may not be welcome anyway. The progress we've made: my inclusion in all family events, including on Christmas when we cooked brunch for everyone, plus one couples' outing with my husband and her fiance. However, I hear, thirdhand, about her discomfort with certain aspects of my speaking in public (see MeTa link above) about the reunion. But she will not speak to me directly about it, even when I bring it up as a topic on which I'd like her input. She seems uncomfortable talking about emotions or anything emotional. I get that, so I back off from talking about it but continue doing what I'm doing without using her name or characterizing her reactions or emotions in any way.
Should I go the obvious baking supplies route? Or something slightly sentimental? Or a symbolic thing with a letter attached? I don't want to exclusively focus the gift on her, as I love her fiance and would like the gift to be appropriate for both of them. What else: They have cats. She loves dogs. She doesn't have a ton of friends. She's very close to one of her brothers, but not the other one. (Ironically, he's been the easiest for me to get to know.) I don't know much about her day to day existence, hearing most of what I do know from her (our) mother. Who is very different from my sister, and much more similar to me in personality.
Hivemind: What is a good gift in this unusual situation? I'm looking for the perfect gift that says "I want to get to know you" and "I'll always be here for you both" and for a bonus "Only a sister could give you this" and also "I know you've been through a lot." Does that exist?