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A wrapped package on a table | Source: AmoMama
A wrapped package on a table | Source: AmoMama

Am I Wrong for “Hiding” My MIL’s Birthday Present to My Husband after Finding Out What Was Inside?

Prenesa Naidoo
Jul 03, 2024
10:00 A.M.

Tired of allowing her cold and callous mother-in-law to ruin her husband's birthday, Lila hides Carol's birthday present from Bill to save him the hurt and disappointment that usually came with his mother's gifts. But when Lila's secret comes out, a series of events unfolds.

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I could tell my husband, Bill, was nervous. His birthday was coming up, and every year, his mom's gift felt like a slap in the face.

Bill sat on our worn-out couch, his shoulders tense.

A man sitting on a couch | Source: Midjourney

A man sitting on a couch | Source: Midjourney

"Do you think she'll actually care this time?" he asked, trying to sound nonchalant.

I sighed, placing my hand on his. I didn't know what I was supposed to say. I knew that I needed to reassure him, but my husband's relationship with his mother was complicated.

"Maybe," I said. "But remember, we're celebrating your birthday, not hers. We'll have a great time, no matter what, darling."

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A couple holding hands | Source: Midjourney

A couple holding hands | Source: Midjourney

Bill smiled at me, but it didn't reach his eyes. I knew how much he wanted to feel loved and appreciated by Carol, but she always failed to show him that. It wasn't just about the gifts. It was about the feeling.

Bill had told me the story a long time ago. He was his mother's son from her first marriage, and their relationship was strong, but things took a turn when Carol met her second husband, Adam.

It became even worse when Bill's younger brothers were born. Suddenly, Carol only had eyes for Adam and their sons, making it clear to Bill that he was no longer a priority in her life.

A mother and her sons | Source: Midjourney

A mother and her sons | Source: Midjourney

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"Okay," he said. "This year will be different."

Deep down I knew that nothing would change. Carol was so set in her ways that nothing would ever make her see the error of her ways.

Two days before his birthday, a small package arrived. Bill and I weren't home, so our neighbor, Tom, received it.

A package on a table | Source: Midjourney

A package on a table | Source: Midjourney

"Hey, Lila," he said. "I just got home and there was a delivery for you. I've signed for it, so you can just get it from me later."

"Thanks, Tom!" I said. "Please send me a photo?"

Moments later, Tom texted me a photo of the package. It was a wrapped box with a note on it that read:

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Maybe this will keep you on your toes!

A woman holding a phone | Source: Midjourney

A woman holding a phone | Source: Midjourney

I knew immediately that it was from Carol.

Not again. Not another gift that would only remind Bill of how little his mother seemed to care. I stared at the photo, my stomach sinking as a mix of anger and sadness washed over me.

How could she be so blind to the impact of her actions?

A close-up of a frowning woman | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a frowning woman | Source: Midjourney

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"What's that? What are you looking at?" Bill asked as we moved through the grocery store, the cart rattling between us.

"Nothing important," I said. "Just one of the girls from work."

A shopping cart in a sunlit grocery aisle | Source: Midjourney

A shopping cart in a sunlit grocery aisle | Source: Midjourney

I texted Tom back:

I'll come get it soon, thank you!

Tom's response was quick:

Sure thing! Don't worry about it.

That evening, when we got home, I told Bill that I was going to run an errand while he cooked dinner.

A man in the kitchen | Source: Midjourney

A man in the kitchen | Source: Midjourney

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"I just need to get something from Lisa across the road," I said. "I'll be back in a few minutes."

"Sure, honey," he said, tossing chicken around a pan.

I left the house, quickly closing the door behind me. I wondered how I was going to explain the situation to Tom. I ran up Tom's driveway, hoping that the interaction would be quick.

Tom opened the front door with a smile.

A close-up of a pan of food | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a pan of food | Source: Midjourney

"Hi," he said as though he had been expecting me all afternoon. "Come on in."

I entered his home, my eyes immediately falling on the package on the table.

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"What's so secretive about this package?" he joked, hovering as I inspected the note. "Why did you want to come and get it yourself? You know I could have brought it over and had a drink with Bill."

A man standing in the doorway | Source: Midjourney

A man standing in the doorway | Source: Midjourney

"It's from Carol, Bill's mother. Every year she always sends some horrid birthday present for Bill. And it always crushes him."

"What do you mean?" Tom asked. "Not fancy enough?"

"Not even close," I replied. "It's always something thoughtless and cold. That's why I want to see what's in here. If it's her usual standard, then I'm keeping it away from Bill."

A woman talking to a man | Source: Midjourney

A woman talking to a man | Source: Midjourney

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Inside the package was a single pair of socks.

"She's ridiculous," I said out loud.

Tom looked at me with his eyes wide.

"What's wrong with her?" he asked, shaking his head.

A pair of black socks in a box | Source: Midjourney

A pair of black socks in a box | Source: Midjourney

The night before Bill's birthday, we were having cocktails at home and I decided to tell him about the package. I knew that he was expecting something from his mother, and I didn't want it to cloud the day.

"Darling," I said. "Your mom sent a package, but we were out, so Tom received it. He said we can get it from him later; he's out for the day."

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My husband's face lit up.

An excited man | Source: Midjourney

An excited man | Source: Midjourney

"It's okay, love," he said. "We've got enough to focus on tomorrow."

And focus we did.

I had planned the perfect birthday afternoon for Bill. We invited a few friends over, and I went all out with the food and cake.

A birthday cake with candles | Source: Midjourney

A birthday cake with candles | Source: Midjourney

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The best part was everyone who showed up brought thoughtful presents that showed Bill just how much he meant to each of us.

My husband was happier than I'd seen him in a while. Hearing his laughter and the joy in his eyes was a stark contrast to the usual disappointment he faced during his birthday.

A few days later, it was as though Tom had forgotten about our arrangement. He stood at our front door, holding the package. His breath smelled faintly of alcohol, which explained it.

"My dad was just as bad at picking gifts," he said, walking in. "This is from your mother."

A man holding a package | Source: Midjourney

A man holding a package | Source: Midjourney

Bill chuckled, his curiosity piqued. "Alright, let's see what we've got."

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As Bill opened the package and pulled out the socks, his expression changed from curious to crestfallen.

"Seriously?" he muttered, the hurt clear in his eyes.

An man upset, his head leaning by a window | Source: Midjourney

An man upset, his head leaning by a window | Source: Midjourney

I put my arm around him.

"I didn't want this to ruin your birthday. I'm so sorry, honey," I said.

Bill took a deep breath.

"I get it, Lila. I know how my mother can be. This is a routine now," he said.

I didn't know how to tell my husband that I wanted to protect him and that I tried to give him a good birthday before his mother's gift.

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A sad man looking down  | Source: Midjourney

A sad man looking down | Source: Midjourney

But I could see the disappointment still lingering. It wasn't just about the socks; it was about the consistent neglect from his mother.

Unfortunately, Bill's brother, Mike, was at our place too, and he heard the entire interaction.

"Why are you making such a big deal about it?" he asked me. "It's just a gift."

"Just a gift?" I shot back. "You don't see the pattern here? Really? Every year she goes out of her way for you and Sam, but Bill just gets this?"

A man sitting on a couch with a bottle | Source: Midjourney

A man sitting on a couch with a bottle | Source: Midjourney

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Mike shrugged. "He's older. He doesn't need expensive stuff."

"But he has never gotten good gifts, even when he was your age," I countered. "It's not about the money, Mike. It's about the thought behind it."

Things escalated quickly from there. Mike, being the mama's boy that he was, phoned their mother and told her everything.

A woman with her hands on her head in frustration | Source: Midjourney

A woman with her hands on her head in frustration | Source: Midjourney

Soon, my phone began buzzing with messages. My mother-in-law, Carol, was furious.

How dare you hide my gift, Lila? You horrid girl. You are spoiled and mean.

It didn't stop there!

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In the family group chat, Carol blasted me, calling me toxic and accusing me of ruining her relationship with Bill. His brothers jumped in, siding with their mom, saying I had no right to interfere.

A woman holding her phone | Source: Midjourney

A woman holding her phone | Source: Midjourney

"I'm not going to entertain this," I told Bill, as he gulped his beer down.

I typed out a long message, detailing all the years of thoughtless gifts Bill had received compared to his brothers.

I was trying to give my husband, your son, a birthday without any hurt or disappointment. He deserves to feel special too.

A man holding a glass of beer | Source: Midjourney

A man holding a glass of beer | Source: Midjourney

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The response was brutal. They kicked me out of the group chat, and Bill left shortly after.

Carol messaged me privately later, calling me toxic again, and blaming me for driving a wedge between Bill and his family.

But I knew the truth: my husband had been hurting long before I came along.

One evening, while we were taking a walk around our neighborhood, Bill turned to me.

A couple taking a walk in the park | Source: Midjourney

A couple taking a walk in the park | Source: Midjourney

"You know, I've been thinking. Maybe it's time to create some new traditions. Ones that don't include waiting for a package from my mom."

"I'd like that. How about we start planning something special for your next birthday?" I asked.

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Bill grinned.

"How about a road trip? Just the two of us?"

A couple on a road trip | Source: Midjourney

A couple on a road trip | Source: Midjourney

What would you have done? Was I wrong in standing up for my husband?

If you enjoyed this story, here's another one for you.

My Boyfriend Brought His Mom's Food for Him to Eat at My Birthday Party

When Gabi plans an intimate birthday dinner for her closest people, her boyfriend, Jamie, would rather have dinner with her alone. Forced to give in, Jamie shows up at the gathering with his own food made by his mother. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Gabi teaches him a lesson.

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I'm an introverted person by nature. It was just one of those things that made me who I am. So, for my birthday, I just wanted a weekend with those closest to me.

A woman holding a cupcake with a candle | Source: Pexels

A woman holding a cupcake with a candle | Source: Pexels

I lit candles around my home, made some tea, and began cooking. I wanted everything to be perfect. I knew that my parents were going to bring the birthday cake, but I wanted to cook the meal.

I wanted everyone to feel at home and loved—so I had carefully crafted my menu, making sure that everyone invited would have one thing they loved to eat.

A person holding a lit candle | Source: Pexels

A person holding a lit candle | Source: Pexels

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"Are you sure you don't want me to take you out to dinner, Gabi?" my boyfriend, Jamie, asked the day before, when we were grabbing coffee.

"Yes," I said. "I want to cook for all of us. Other than you and my parents, it's just Nicole, Jenna, and the boys. Only the closest people."

Read the full story here.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided “as is,” and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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