High School Graduation
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High School Graduation
My daughter is graduating BHS next month and I am
wondering if there is a protocol for graduation gift
giving to her friends. There are a couple of kids we are
very close to as a family but this is a really expensive
time and giving out more cash isn't in the cards. Do
people expect to get a little something from everyone they
send announcements to? Does anyone have other non-monetary
ideas to acknowledge this great accomplishment?
Why do you feel you have to give graduation gifts? Graduating from high school is
pretty basic, almost everyone does it so it's actually not that big an achievement.
Sending announcements to anyone other than relatives sounds like asking for money for
having done what he/she was supposed to have done. If you want to acknowledge it, do so
with a card but forget the money.
When our kids had multiple friends graduating from High School,I bought photo albums
with the school colors of the colleges they were going to. Then I added
''friends''hearts, sayings stickers, etc to go with the album. That gave them a fun way
to start college and a place to start journalling their new adventures!
This seemed more personal than a gift card and something they could use and the cost
wasn't so obvious.
Barbara H, Party Planner
Since you know these soon-to-be graduates well, how about a sincere note with mention
of what you appreciate about them and expression of hopes for their future. Something
up beat and hopefull to help them move into thefuture with hope and self assurance.
Your sincere positive thoughts are what will stick with them most.
We are going with a personalized calendar. A copy store on upper Solano Avenue will
take photos of our daughter's pets off a CD and print them on a ring-bound college-year
calendar. They will even pre-mark the calendar with family birthdays, beginning and end
of semesters, etc.
Congrats to the grad.
In today's world where every kid has everything I would appreciate ideas
for high school graduation gifts not for your own child but for other
students. (Yes -- I'm trying to think ahead!) My son is graduating in
June along with a number of his friends who we have known since they were
in k'garten. Ideas for anything from small tokens to gifts in the $20 -
$30 range would be great. Thanks.
I've gone on Yelp to find the best pizza place near the college the
senior is going to attend and then I get a gift certificate for
them. You have to do this ahead of time but it's a nice thing to
give a freshperson who can then invite out new dorm buddies. if
they're not going to college, then something useful, related to what
they'll be doing next.
Gifts are good
I am the parent of a college freshman - I gave a number of my
daughters' friends a graduation card that indicated they would receive
a care package at college of home baked cookies. I've just sent them
off this week with hope that they will enjoy the sweet taste of
High school graduation gift idea for daughter
My daughter graduates from high school soon and I always
thought I would think of the 'perfect' gift for her. One
that is meaningful. appropriate. special. not too
expensive since I am facing college bills starting in
August. Any advice?
The best high school graduation gift my parents gave me was
paying for 100% of my college expenses, so I could start
life without debt upon college graduation. Priceless. If
you want to give her something physical to mark the
transition from high school to college, make it something
that's small and significant to you - a copy of your
favorite book, a charm bracelet commemorating things you've
done together, a small scrapbook with photos of family and
friends. But keep in mind her style/personality (I wouldn't
have valued something sentimental from my mom at 17), and
that she'll have to be carting her possessions from dorm to
apartment to wherever for the next few years. The
graduation gift I got the most use out of was a set of nice
towels - really. The one thing I *wished* someone had
gotten me that no one did was a little survival kit with a
guidebook to the college/town I was moving to, local grocery
store gift card, mending kit, etc.
A CAR!!!! Just kidding. I suggest some sort of keepsake
jewelry, such as a gold locket or small diamond or pearl
earring studs that she can keep forever (and be the start
of her ''adult'' jewelry collection). Another option (but a
lot of work) is a scrapbook or photo album of her life,
concluding with some blank pages for her to put in high
school graduation photos and maybe even blank pages for
college life (include a letter/foreward from mom to
daughter entering adulthood). Anyway, the main point is
something that is a keepsake/memory.
What about a trip to Napa? Time is the best gift you can
give your daughter. If you can't afford a night or weekend
at Napa, maybe a day at the spa. Something she can remember
and take with her into adulthood. Spend your time with her
talking only about her - what high school was like for her.
What she wishes she'd done differently or the same. What she
looks forward to in College. What she hopes to achieve or
take away from the experience. What she's learned about from
relationships. These types of introspective questions that
she can verbalize to you, may be the first time she's really
given thought to them. It also feels nice to have someone
take an interest in listening to you, without judgment. Best
of luck (let us know what you decide!). ; )
Time Is Best
When I graduated from high school my grandmother gave me a
ring of hers that I had always admired. There were many
sentimental attachments for both of us, but it also showed
that she trusted me to take care of a family piece.
Perhaps there is a piece of jewelry your daughter has
always admired that you could pass down to her? Maybe not
the most expensive (as it is off to college she goes), but
something she could wear from time to time.
This may be too corny, but for my 18th birthday (same time
as graduation), my mom gave me a necklace with a charm that
had ''love, Mom'' engraved on the back. It became my talisman
for my whole first year of college away from home: I didn't
take it off for the whole year.
I didn't do anything ''big'' for my daughter, just a few
little things: I bought the typical ''Congratulations
Graduate'' helium balloon, teddy bear with her school logo,
flowers and a card with maybe $100 in it (money means a
lot to teens!). I also hosted a family dinner although she
left early to hang out with her friends.
I think the ''experience'' you provide her can last a long
time so maybe a special celebratory meal with family to
show your pride in her achievement.
Also note that she isn't one to collect jewelry so that
wasn't even an option. Once she was in college, I noticed
that did carefully guard any heirloom jewelry that I gave
her (ring my grandmother gave me, etc).
When I graduated from high school, my mom got me an antique
necklace with semi-precious stones and very elegant
worksmanship. Nearly 25 years later, I still wear it for
special occasions and as a good luck talisman for job
interviews etc. Maybe there's some family piece that you
could pass along? Alternately, is there some trip you could
take together? Making memories is one of the best gifts
anyone can give.
Need graduation gift ideas (something special for a daughter)
My son had written several books during his years at school, so I took
the best ones and self-published at Blurb.com and lulu.com -- not
expensive at all, but he really liked it in a nostalgic way. You could
also use shutterfly to make a photo book to take to school.
Or of course you buy him/her a BMW...
Jewelry is nice-small diamond earrings, or a pearl necklace, something
special. you can get nice things for less than $100
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Boy are we sorry we didn't
I'm one of those people who stresses out over what gift to buy,
especially graduation and wedding gifts. Old family friends
have a daughter graduating from high school this June. We only
see them a few times a year, but we've watched the daughter grow
up. I'd like to get her something meaningful. Have you ever
given or received a grad gift that was especially creative,
meaningful, or thoughtful? Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
I have bought a number of high school graduation gifts for
girls in the past. One of my favorites, as a gift for a 16
year old or as a graduation gift, is a Tiffany Key Chain. They
come in hearts and circles and have an ''if lost return to
Tiffany's'' on it. It comes in a Tiffanys box and is the most
inexpensive of all the items they sell. Another gift idea is a
Pearl on a Pendant with or without matching studs. There are a
number of jewlery stores in the area with sales going on right
now and you can get a very nice gift for a reasonable price.
How thoughtful of you! The best graduation (from college) gift
that I got, that was useful as well as meaningful was a Bosco
leather date-book, engraved with my intitials. That made me
feel so grown-up. And to this day, 18 years later, it is still
useful. I love that my aunt took the time to have it
personalized for me to commemorate a special occasion.
It's that time of year and for the first time since my siblings
finished high school 10 years ago, I find myself invited to a
graduation. My yound cousin is college bound, probably a UC in
SoCal. What do I give as a modest gift? I'd rather not give
cash. The best gift I got at graduation was a hot-pot, but then
I needed it to supplement the dorm food which I detested. What
was the best gift you got? gave? Although I need ideas for a
young man, I'm sure many others here will be shopping for both
male and female graduates. Thanks!
We have two high school graduates among our friends, and they're
the first of a large ''crop''. I checked with parents and then got
gift cards for national stores--Bed, Bath & Beyond (figuring
they'll need linens, etc. to set up the home-away-from-home) and
the Gap (clothing for a new climate). Hope this helps. :-)
Try getting a gift certificate to the bookstore at the
university he plans to attend. You can find number on line and
order over the phone. It sounds like he has yet to decide, so
you can give him a gift certificate good for a gift certificate.
Though it was years ago, I still remember the best gradation
gift I received - a really good thesaurus. How do I remember
this? Because it served me well all through college and still
sits on my bookshelf. For the record, it is ''The Synonym
Finder'' (J.I. Rodale, pub Warner Books). I like its format
better than a traditional thesaurus, but just head to your
neighborhood bookshop and choose any one that you like.
A great gift for a college bound student who will be living in
the dorms is one of those 4 cup coffeemakers. Even if they don't
drink coffee, they use it for hot water for hot chocolate, cup-a-
soup, instant oatmeal,etc. I usually also give a large bowl size
coffee cup and silverware and a selection of tea, hot chocolate,
oatmeal packets. If you know they drink coffee, a packet of
filters is also good. These work great as many of the dorms will
not allow small microwaves and there are so many ''add hot water''
items that the kids live on.
Many college freshmen have this perhaps, but the best gift I
received was a huge, comprehensive Websters Dictionary when I
graduated. And just recently I purchased 2 contemporary CD's
for a neighbor's daughter who was graduating from college-I
figure they're almost all poor, but most appreciate good music!
My dad gives toolboxes (filled with basic tools -- hammer,
screwdrivers, tape measure, etc.). I used mine to hang pictures
on my dorm walls, and now, 20 years later, I still use it all
Try a Swiss Army knife or one of the Leatherman knives (the
Juice line is great). I've had one since high school and it
has traveled with me everywhere! Got lots of use out of the
wine and bottle opener in college I recall...
How about a Roth IRA contribution?
When I was a child, I got a lot of gifts. Many were very cool
like cars, toys or books. I had an uncle give me a very wierd
and very uncool gift of savings bonds. Ewww! Then I got to
college and man did those bonds come in handy. When I
graduated from college, the same uncle gave me some very uncool
things like stock and a retirement account contribution. I
really wanted a trip to Europe. Well, those toys lasted about
3 months when I was a kid and now I am glad I have a sizable
chunk for retirement (all from a little seed planted years
ago). If you are looking for a gift that will last a LOOONG
time, give them something uncool like a financial future.
There is nothing like time to let investments grow.
Talk to a professional to see what investment is best for your
Graduation Etiquette Advice
OK moms and dads, I need your input on this one. It's a 2 part
My son is about to graduate from high school in a few weeks.
He just got graduation announcements (we ordered 20)...
So, I sent them to 20 of our closest friends/relatives who
don't live around here, who know our family and haven't seen
our son in a while.
I'm sending these because we are so proud and I know these
people will be happy, nostalgic (wow...where did the time go?..)
I know that some of these people will send money gifts to our
son....this is where I feel awkward.
I am not sending these as a hope for gifts, but when I receive
these announcements, I either WANT to send a gift (niece, close
friend), or feel somewhat obligated (and then I do or don't).
I wrote a note in them to make it more personal, but still I
just feel a bit awkward....How about all of you?
Part 2- There are a lot of people I would like to send an
announcement to....I thought of writing a note to send via e-
mail....Similar message....''..we're so proud, he's going to
college in..... etc''...Again, not a ploy for gifts, just a
Opinions? Thanks in advance (and yes, I have some money hangups
and we are way stretched these days just like everyone else)
proud and anon mom
Congratulations to your son on his graduation. Of course you get
kudos for nurturing along the way, but it strikes me that you're
sending out announcements and you're writing the thank yous. I
think it would be more meaningful for your son to send thank
yous, after all, he's the recipient of the gifts. As the gift
giver, acknowledgment that one's gift arrived safely is
reassuring but it's an added bonus when the recipient offers a
warm thank you and a little note about future plans.
As for the other announcements, I would suggest you send a
picture announcement (something like a picture holiday card)to
share your happy news. Plenty of websites offer this service at
a really great rate right now, like snapfish or costco...or
simply make copies of your son's senior picture to a size
appropriate to affix to a postcard you can print on (available at
any craft store)and mail those out. This requires a bit more
work, but I'm sure the recipients of the announcement will
appreciate seeing how the your son has grown up.
don't stress over someone else's gifts
Unfortunately I always read those announcements - the ones that
come pre-printed with the info, and don't include any personal
message of any kind - as a hit for a check. Which I usually do
send. However, I will confess that it is not sent with the most
generous spirit. If I got an announcement with a personal note
and a photo I might feel differently. But a mass mailing is a
My son also is graduating from college this fall, from UCLA. Our
graduation ''package'' that you pretty much HAD to buy, if you
wanted a cap and gown, includes 40 announcements! Yikes! anyway
we are going to send them to our family & some friends, not
because we are asking for gifts but because we are proud & the
cards are beautiful. I think you should send them if you want
to, just don't get hurt if people ignore them and don't send any
gifts or cards. Some people just don't do that sort of thing,
whether money is tight or not. Personally I think ALL
graduations are to be celebrated in the manner you like.
We sent graduation announcements out for my daughter 8 years ago
to a mixed and surprising reaction. Some family members did not
even send a Congratulatory card, less sent a gift. And I'm a
person who always remembers birthdays of nieces and nephews!
The best responses as far as sincere congratulation cards and
well wishes came from her former teachers, yes, we did send
announcements to them. My boss gave her a large check. He has
When she graduated from college,the responses were the same;
even though I hosted a fancy dinner for family.
That said, we will probably still send announcements out for her
younger brother. We will have a celebratory dinner but again,
not expecting anything.
I would not tell people that you are not expecting a gift
because so few do it anyway. HOWEVER, if anyone does, please
please please send a thank you card !
it really is the thought that counts.
I would love to get an email announcement (esp if it had
pictures of the graduate and/or the family). I wouldn't feel
obligated to send a present (though might if I felt
inclined)...but it is fun to hear what is up with people and
their kids (which is probably why people find Facebook so
Speaking of Facebook, it really bums me out to find out big
news about good friends from reading Facebook or their
blog...would feel much better getting a note in the mail or
Halfway Old Fashioned
My niece informed me that she only had 7 tickets for her
graduation and stated I would be receiving one of them. When
her invite arrived, it only stated place of reception without
the ''golden ticket'' to the graduation. I called her and asked
her and she stated her cousin was flying in from out of town and
that she'd be taking my ticket instead and that I shouldn't even
try to give her a guilt trip like her father who wasn't going to
be able to bring his wife, either, because of the lack of
tickets. I stated I was simply calling seeking clarification.
I also stated I felt hurt because she stated I would
specifically receive a ticket. This niece is a niece who I have
loved and cherished throught years and have helped her many a
time with her homework assignments esp with strict and last-
minute deadlines through many years of her school years. Her
mom and I are close but I overheard her mom say she'll just have
to get over it because my niece is flying in from the East
Coast. My niece then stated she'd try to get me a ticket so I
could go to the function. After our phone call, I cried tears
of disappointment b/c I simply felt slapped in the face and set
aside like garbage. Two weeks go by and I waited each day for
the mail and nothing comes. I decided to send my niece a
graduation card stating my best wishes and making it clear I had
to accept the fact I was not invited. The day of the function,
my niece and niece's mother call stating they had ''one ticket''
and that they expected me to come. I couldn't help feeling that
the cousin from the East Coast couldn't make it. I told my
niece that I waited and waited for the mail and in the end
figured I'd make plans with my kids. Niece reminded me that she
was going to get me a ticket but I stated that she never
bothered to call out of courtesy so I wouldn't make plans. In
the end, I made plans with my family and took them to the
Oakland Zoo. I told her I would not be able to make it
afterall, that I loved her, and wished her good wishes for her
graduation. I felt really sad after our call but believed I did
the right thing or did I? Was I wrong in not attending or
should I have attended regardless?
You sound like you must care deeply about this niece - my
sister, likewise, loves my two daughters and is very generous
with them, goes way out of her way to play and take care of
them and help me out and they are young. I can't imagine her
not being there when they have important events like
graduation. So i can imagine you were extremely hurt by this
situation - and perhaps how they dealt with it - ie not telling
you very directly etc.
however, i must remind you - that you are the adult in this
situation and your niece's MOTHER - your sister or sister in
law? should have communicated the situation with you - not just
your niece. I think you are being too hard on the niece since
it is not at all likely that she made these decisions on her
if it were me, i would have gone - only because you can't
rewind and go back to something like a graduation - there won't
be another high school graduation - and now it is marred with
an unpleasant memory. if i were you - i would try to schedule
a special lunch or dinner and make sure you two have something
happy to remember it by. and next time take a big picture view
and see how you can further contribute to your niece's
learning - about how to negotiate difficult situations in life,
since apparently, she didn't get good coaching this time
around! you can tell her how and why your feelings were hurt -
but don't put all the blame on her - but she can then learn
what not to do next time...but i would also apologize for
reacting so harshly and likely also hurting her feelings.
be the bigger person, cuz you are!
I am sorry that your feelings were hurt; your niece did not
behave well. Having said that, I should add that I have been
witness over the years to many conversations about how to
divide the very limited number of tickets available for
graduations. It is fairly common practice, when deciding
between non-immediate family members, to give tickets to
relatives or friends who travel a great distance to come to the
graduation. That may not seem fair given your obviously close
tie to your niece, but it is a common solution to an unhappy
problem. With the stress of graduation (and her entry into the
uncertainties of adult life!) your niece may have really
wavered on what to do. Your recap of your conversation with
her reveals signs that the poor girl was being pressed from
numerous sides and was depending, in fact, on her close
relationship with you for some understanding. In other words,
she was counting on the idea that someone (you) who really
cared for her welfare would agree to take the stress off and
say ''that's fine, I'll come to the other function with bells
on.'' Graduation is a beautiful ceremony, but the actual moment
of ''your'' grad crossing the stage goes by in the blink of an
eye, and you'll have to suffer through many other people
crossing the stage in order to get that one moment. It's not
like a wedding. Much nicer are the parties after graduation,
which can contain little ceremonies too. I think you should
have agreed to sacrifice the ticket and then, when offered the
opportunity to go to the ceremony, you should have taken it.
But in any case, I hope you will offer your niece a token of
peace and your love in the very near future, so that you can
express what you really want to feel for her. Don't let hurt
feelings dominate and erode what has been an important
resentment will get you nowhere
This whole thing was unfortunate and I can understand your feelings.
It was insensitive of your niece to not understand and
acknowledge how important your graduation was to her and how
important you had been in her success, but she obviously did not
get any help from her mother in learning either etiquette or how
to appreciate and value other people.
It's pointless now to try and say whether or not you did the
right thing- it's done- but if you can understand that your niece
needs help in becoming a mature and thoughtful person as much as
in her academic life, you can express your love and caring by
modeling that behaviour and by gently guiding her to mature choices.
You may very well get no sign from her that you are having any
effect, but she will at least then have that guidance in her head
and it may become useful to her as she grows up and goes along in
life. I find myself, even now in my fifties, looking to my
memories of one of my great-aunts for love and inspiration.
You've already been loving and generous with her, perhaps more so
than her parents have been, and I'd suggest that you continue to
be so, if only for the pleasure that it gives you.
In my experience, anytime there is a major life event (wedding,
etc) in someone's life that person and his/her immediate family tend to
get kind of
crazy. By crazy, I mean that they become overwhelmed with the
importance of the
event and become obsessed with every detail, trying to make it their
perfect. Additionally, the immediate family members often project their
emotions from their own experiences in these same situations onto the
whom the event is happening. It is an enormous amount of pressure and
it takes a
very mature person to recognize what is happening and do something to
things under control. I doubt that your neice could have done so at her
with so little life experience.
I feel sorry for what happened to you and think you were right to go
make plans with your immediate family for the day instead of waiting to
be offered a
ticket from your neice's ''B'' list of invitees. It is OK to have a B
list but not OK to let
your guests know it. If I were you, I'd let it go but I wouldn't forget
that you've seen
these people for who they really are in these situations...and most
importantly, if I
were you, I would keep low expectations as to your participation in any
events of your neice's so that you don't get hurt again.
This is a difficult lesson to learn where family is concerned. My heart
goes out to
Your neice was rude. Her behavior was wrong. She should never have
promised you a
ticket and then not given it to you. Period. The cousin flies in from
the East Coast?
''Sorry, all the tickets are gone, but you're welcome to come to the
You were treated inappropriately and it was a very hurtful thing to do.
She and her
mother should be ashamed. Now, unfortunately, they have some work to do
your respect and trust, and all for a 3-hour, mostly boring ceremony.
What a shame.
You certainly should
have gone to
the zoo with your kids, rather than to the graduation. It was too
little, too late on your
neice's part. JMHO.
Berkeley Mom of 3
I think that you were treated with inconsideration. For your
niece and her mother to allow two weeks to lapse and only call
you on the day of the event with an offer of a ticket doesn't
provide you with a fair amount of notice. It was healthy for you
to plan an outing rather than sit home and brood about not being
invited to your beloved niece's graduation.
This being said, I would shake off all feelings of doubt and do
your best to stay in your niece's life. Don't perpetuate grudges.
Continue to be the loving and generous aunt you always were.
I think that the whole ticket thing for graduation just adds one more
nightmare for the poor kids! I'm sure your niece was probably not the
caused the problems and yes, she probably could have handled it better,
assuming it's a high school graduation, giver her a break.
What I would do, if you're that close, is call her and invite her to
lunch or dinner. It
will make her feel special. Tell her you're sorry that things got so
mixed up and that
you really are disappointed that you weren't there, but let her know
that you plan on
being around for future events or something to that effect. I think you
can let her
know you were hurt but, really, it's a done deal. Move on and hope that
remember next time that she's important to you and vice versa.
Yes, you were wrong in not attending. You wanted to go and
your niece arranged an invitation. You did not honor your own
desires nor your nieces. A big lose lose situation.
I think you behaved selfishly and foolishly and with spite.
Your anger and disappointment would have been better directed
at the graduation planners who only allowed a small number of
tickets rather than at your niece.
Your niece only had seven tickets and had to juggle numerous
family members... This is NOT an easy task... someone is going
to feel left out no matter what. Perhaps you should feel
flattered that she felt close enough to you to ask you to give
up your ticket.
Your posting sounded like the whine of a spoiled child when a
goody bag isn't presented at the end of a really fun and
engaging birthday party. (It seems like you and your niece
have had a close relationship... Why ruin that because of a
I would hope that you can mend this situation. Attending a
graduation does not cement a relationship. Care, concern and
empathy are the building blocks of close relationships.
Perhaps you could invite your niece out to a nice lunch to
celebrate the graduation.... (Just don't EVER rehash your
This was a day that was about your niece, and you made it about
you. You definitely should have gone to the celebration despite
the shortage of tickets. I guarantee you that boycotting the
graduation will be remembered more than all the nice things you
did for her. I can't tell you how irritated it makes me when
people can't just go with the flow and not take everything so
PERSONALLY. Your poor neice, when it's time to throw a wedding
she's really going to have to struggle if the whole family
demands to be front-and-center all the time!
Been there, dealt with narcissistic relatives!
It's not clear from your message whether this is a high school or
college graduation. If it was high school, I think you made a
mistake. She was being immature for sure, but as the older adult
it would have been good of you to accomodate her lack of
thoughtfulness, while still letting her know what the right thing
to do was (maybe later). If it was a college graduation, I think
she should have known better by that age and level of life
You did the right thing in making other plans, and then NOT
treating your family as your niece treated you (like trash, or a
second choice). I'd urge you to feel as little guilt as possible,
understanding that doing the right thing doesn't always feel good.
Reading your letter I confess that my first thought was about
whether this spoiled girl expected a present from you, whether or
not you came to graduation. My suggestion would have been to send
her a graduation card with the note -- ''I was going to give you a
present but decided to give it to someone else. If she doesn't
want it I'll send it to you later.''
Family shouldn't treat each other that Way
OMG, you are making so much drama out of something that you
should have been over in two seconds. If graduation tickets
were really that had to come by, I'm sure your niece was really
stressed about it. She's young, you're older. You were
supposed to support her on her big day, not make it all about
you. Grow up!
Your niece did not behave gracefully.
The situation sounded difficult, with limited tickets,
out-of-town visitors, but it was rude of her to dis-invite you.
It sounds as if she tried to mend things by tracking down a ticket.
But clearly your feelings were already hurt.
You also did not behave gracefully then.
The trip to the zoo could easily be rescheduled, but you did not.
It sounds as if you only went to punish your niece.
One of you is a kid, which is not a particularly good excuse for
One of you is an adult.
It would have been good if you could have risen above your hurt
feelings to be with your niece.
Two wrongs don't make a right, and probably don't leave you
feeling any better either.
It sounds like your feelings were really hurt by the ticket
being given and then taken back. I can understand why you would
have been disappointed. That said, I think it would have been
good to also consider that your niece was in an impossible
situation -- she had a very limited number of tickets, and
sounds like she has a lot of family that love her and wanted to
celebrate her graduation (even family flying in from out of
town!). It seems a big (and inappropriate) leap of logic to
decide that you not getting a ticket means you are ''garbage''.
When she first told you that she could no longer give you a
ticket the gracious and forgiving thing to do (given that her
graduation is about her, and not you) would have been to say ''I
am disappointed but I understand. If a ticket frees up I would
wtill love to go. I am really proud of you and want to
celebrate with you however I can!'' When she called right before
the graduation, and said she now had a ticket free, you should
have viewed that as good news, given how much you say you wanted
to go (I don't see why it should matter that the ticket freed up
because the cousin couldn't fly out -- again, your niece was in
an impossible situation with the limited number of tickets).
Once she called with the ticket you had a decision to make: did
you want to go to the graduation more than follow through on
your alternative plans? Seems strange to me that you say you
felt so strongly about being included in the graduation, but
then when it worked out that you actually could go you
declined. Seems punitive to me (you being punitive because you
were upset). Sounds to me like you got your feelings hurt and
then didn't have any more space for sharing
generosity/support/love with your niece, which is unfortunate.
You chose to forego the opportunity to celebrate with her, which
you said was so very important to you. Seems a mistake to me.
Best to always lead with forgiveness/love
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