DEAR ABBY: For my 50th birthday 10 years ago, my father, with whom I have had a tumultuous relationship, gave me cherished rings as gifts. One was my grandmother's and the other was my grandfather's, both of whom are deceased. This was at a time when we were in a good place, and it meant the world to me that he thought enough of me to give them to me. They were the only things I had of his parents.
During COVID, I called Dad to check on him and my stepmom. He quickly turned the conversation to politics, a topic I have asked repeatedly over the years that we avoid. The conversation grew heated, and he hung up on me. A month later, he texted me asking me to return his father's ring. I have always gotten along with my stepmom, but now she's on me to return it, too. She says the ring should go to my cousin "Gavin" because he is the male grandchild, and that I can keep my grandmother's ring. So Dad wants to take back a gift he gave me and give it to someone else.
I have no ill will toward Gavin, but my dad specifically told me years ago he didn't want Gavin to have the rings because he had previously sold some family heirlooms he was given. Abby, Dad's request for the ring seems more like a punishment for our argument than any sentimental feelings about his father. Am I crazy for thinking that once you give someone a gift you don't have the right to ask for it back? -- RING OF FIRE IN FLORIDA
DEAR RING: Yes, once a gift is given, it belongs to the recipient to do with as she (or he) wishes. However, in this case, I think you should return your grandfather's ring to your dad. How much pleasure will it give you if you keep it, knowing your father had changed his mind about giving it to you? Because it is now "tarnished," I suspect there would be very little.