Families coming together after a separation can be rewarding but can also be difficult for some.
Issues in families tend to come out during the holidays, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
For instance, Redditor gonna-toss-this-acct was surprised when her father became angry with her over wrapping paper.
When they couldn’t come to an agreement, the Original Poster (OP) had mixed feelings about what she had done.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for calling my dad’s girlfriend by name?”
The OP had a good relationship with her parents.
“For context, my (30 [Female]) parents divorced over 20 years ago. It was amicable, they co-parented, they still get along, etc.”
“My mom got remarried when I was about 10 and my Step-Dad has been a wonderful secondary father-figure my whole life.”
“My Dad, on the other hand, has had several relationships over the years but nothing solid (the longest relationship was MAYBE 2 years before it ended). It’s never really been an issue; my Dad just kind of became a serial bachelor.”
Her father made arrangements to spend the holidays with the OP’s family.
“This year, Thanksgiving was at my house. I have a 2-year-old, so travel is hard.”
“My Dad, who lives across the country, wanted to celebrate Christmas while he was here as well, since he couldn’t stay for both holidays.”
“I agreed we would do a special Christmas so that my son could Christmas with the Grandad he sees least.”
“My Dad also asked if he could bring his new girlfriend, ‘Jill.'” No problem at all. He and Jill had been together about 6 months and he had mentioned her several times and she had been on a couple of videochats.”
“About a week before the festivities, my dad sent me a few hundred dollars to buy my son some gifts from him and Jill.”
“I got him some toys and new clothes and wrapped everything, per my Dad’s request. On the labels, I wrote, ‘To: ——, Love: Papa and Jill.'”
The couple was angry about the OP’s wrapping choices.
“Flash forward to Thanksgiving and it’s time to open presents. Everything goes well, but I notice Jill acting a bit pouty and put-out afterwards.”
“I asked my Dad in private if everything was OK or if she was maybe not feeling well.”
“He said no, but that her feelings were hurt I put her name on my kid’s gifts, as opposed to some kind of grandparent moniker.”
“I said that was ridiculous, she’s not his grandparent.”
“My dad said that neither was my stepdad, technically, which stung.”
“I explained to my Dad that his relationship with her had been so brief, I didn’t know it was that serious.”
“I also told him that asking for my son to recognize any woman he’s with as a grandparent would be confusing and I’d prefer he be in long term committed relationship before having such expectations.”
The OP’s dad was not ready to let it go.
“My Dad got defensive and said I was minimizing his relationship, and making Jill feel like an outcast for no reason.”
“He stated that my son is too young to know or care at this point anyway so it’s not hurting anyone.”
“He asked that I apologize to Jill.”
“I refused because I didn’t think I did anything wrong.”
“My Dad and Jill stayed for the remainder of their trip but it was definitely a little more awkward.”
“My husband is on my side, as well as my Mom and Stepdad but they’re all going to support what I want for my son, regardless.”
“But I just wanna know, AITA for how I handled this?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not hte A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the father’s girlfriend hadn’t earned the grandmother’s title.
“OP’s stepdad has been in her life 20 years so it’s understandable that he gets a variation for a grandparent name. She’s only known Jill for all of two minutes.”
“What’s next, she expects OP to call her some variant for ‘Mum’ because she has one for her stepdad (if she calls him a variation of dad, that is)?” – danigirl3694
“NTA. This woman is not your son’s grandparent and has done nothing to earn the title.”
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like this isn’t even someone your kid would be able to pick out of a line-up.”
“Jill can be as upset as she wants, but she still isn’t a grandparent.” – nut-ME-shell
“My grandma has been in a long-term relationship with her boyfriend since I was around 11 (I’m 19 now).”
“Despite the fact this man has spent more time in my life than my bio grandpa (he passed from cancer when I was 4) and has been involved in things like birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgivings, and graduations (all of which I’m happy he was involved), we still call him by his real name and he’s never insisted on anything else.”
“Even my sister (who was only an infant when our Grandpa passed) and my cousin (who wasn’t even conceived yet) call him by his real name because we’re just not comfortable with calling him something like Grandpa, even if he is important to us because that name belongs to our late grandfather.” – Pink_Artistic_Witch
Others assumed the girlfriend was looking for early signs of commitment.
“Maybe the girlfriend is insecure about the fact they’re not married and wants to be treated like they are? Instantly, without years of commitment, or even meeting the people she expects to treat her like family.”
“And Dad is bending over backwards to get her said treatment so he can have his cake and eat it without a ring.” – JuliaX1984
“NTA, and RED F**KIN FLAG that she is already insisting on taking on a grandparent role.”
“I was in your kid’s situation once, I was a kid (eight, though) and my Pawpaw’s wife used me to get him to marry her.”
“She doted on me, played favorites (which I was oblivious to as a kid), and when my Pawpaw died, she kept most everything, stopped talking to me, and when I expressed that I was hurt that she didn’t even call me on my graduation day, she chewed me out for being ‘selfish’ and we haven’t spoken since.” – HeckinZebra
“Btw (by the way), your 2-year-old son will definitely know the difference. 2-year-olds are SCARY smart. To subject him to a revolving door of girlfriends from his papa is going to confuse him and that’s not fair to him.”
“I’m around my niece, who is the same age, most of my free time. Which is most days of the week if I’m being honest, I freaking adore her and she’s close by.”
“I waited until I was SURE I wanted my boyfriend to be more than just a hook up every once in awhile and become an actual future, to start bringing him around BECAUSE I didn’t want this kind of thing to confuse her or cause some kind of unstable situation.”
“Kids get attached and when you start giving labels, the attachment starts to grow.”
“If your father isn’t sure there’s a future with this woman, or hasn’t at least hinted that it’s serious, no way in h**l does it make sense to give her a special name.”
“You’re NTA, but your dad really needs to pull his head out of his a** with this.” – AtlasFalls91
Not only did the subReddit understand and support what the OP did, but they were concerned about the implications of the father’s and his girlfriend’s anger.
People who try to be accepted too quickly typically have ulterior motives, and there’s no sense in playing around with that where there is a 2-year-old involved.