Years ago, my mom offered my brother her engagement ring, which, although modest, had been passed down for three generations. He accepted, but later he gave his wife a more spectacular ring as an anniversary present that she now wears. It turns out my sister, who is single and now middle-aged, feels she had a claim to the family ring and was overlooked—in the past it was eldest daughter who received it. Feeling guilty, my mom now wishes she had given the ring as a placeholder, but recognizes it was given without conditions. Now that I am nearing a proposal, my sister asked me to ask my brother for the ring, with the idea it would eventually go to her if we similarly “upgrade” later on. I declined; the drama makes me uncomfortable, and I want my proposal to be about us. I also think it’d be better for my sister or mom to address this directly with my brother and sister-in-law if they feel strongly. Rude of me?
—Stuck in the Middle