Support isn’t just about the words you use.
Screaming your support to a drowning person, after all, doesn’t really do much.
The really important thing is to do the actual helping.
Offer a ladder, lend a hand, show your support instead of just talking about it.
What happens though, when the support you speak doesn’t show up in the actions you offer?
This was the problem facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) ApprehensiveFix3425 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for outside opinions.
“AITA for not attending my daughter’s gender reveal for her lizard?”
OP started with the background.
“This is literally really stupid but she’s really upset about it.”
“So my (48) daughter (23) has a blue tongue skink who she heavily adores.”
“She jokingly refers to it as her daughter, I’ve found it weird but she says it’s because it’s the closest thing she’d have to a child and she feels a strong emotional bond similar to a child.”
“She has decided to remain child-free for multiple reasons and I have been very supportive of this decision.”
“Well she recently took her Skink to the vet for a checkup and she was excited to find out her Skinks gender.”
It began with an invitation.
“Afterwards I got a text asking if I’d come to her gender reveal party she was having.”
“She explained it was just a small get-together with cake and food for her friends she hasn’t seen in a while with the gender reveal being mostly a joke (and a way to make fun of real gender reveals).”
“Well, I didn’t come.”
“I didn’t see a point.”
“It’s just a lizard and I’m a busy person.”
Her daughter explained her side.
“She later called me and expressed she was kind of sad I didn’t come cuz it’d been a while since I’d seen her but she understood I was busy.”
“I told her she couldn’t actually expect me to come to a gender reveal for a lizard.”
“She said that it wasn’t a real gender reveal, that was more of a joke and it was really just a small gathering to catch up with everyone.”
“I told her if that was the case she should’ve just called it a gathering because I’m not coming to a gender reveal unless it’s for a real granddaughter.”
“She got quiet for a minute and then turned my words around, claiming I wasn’t supportive of her decision to be childfree.”
“I told her she can’t possibly expect me to treat a lizard as a grand daughter, she said she didn’t expect me too but it was clear I didn’t respect her bond with her lizard and her decision, and she just wanted to see me and my reason for coming was hurtful.”
“I told her she was being ridiculous over a lizard, she claimed it wasn’t over the lizard and it was a gathering and not even centered around the lizard, but I stick by to what I said.”
“It’s ridiculous to have a gender reveal for a lizard.”
“She hung up and I got a message from her best friend about how I’m an a**hole for treating her that way, but I don’t think I’m the a**hole for not wanting to go to a party for a lizard?”
Having explained the situation, OP came to Reddit for some fresh opinions.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Some pointed out how strangely literal OP was being.
“Daughter: ‘Hey, I’m having a pirate-themed party’ “
“OP: ‘I can’t go, I don’t own a boat’ ” ~ SolarSFCA
Others suggested that OP’s support was in name only.
“Never dated in high school and made up crushes to get people off my back”
“My mum tried to be supportive but took years to actually realize that me being asexual meant I wasn’t going to suddenly find a male partner and be attracted to them and make babies.”
“Same with friends.”
“They ‘accepted’ it in theory but never in practice.”
“OP is pretending to be supportive but really isn’t good at hiding her disdain for her daughter not following the Life Script” ~ therewillbecubes
“Also, according to the edit, her daughter ‘claims’ to be asexual.”
“So… Yeah. This mother is not okay with many things in her daughter’s life.“~ bebeschtroumph
Commenters used her own words against her.
” ‘I got a text asking if I’d come to her gender reveal party she was having’.”
” ‘She explained it was just a small get-together with cake and food for her friends she hasn’t seen in a while with the gender reveal being mostly a joke’.”
” ‘(and a way to make fun of real gender reveals)’.”
” ‘I told her if that was the case she should’ve just called it a gathering’ “
“She did, she told you it was a small get-together to see people she hadn’t seen in a while, with the gender reveal being a joke.”
“Your daughter wanted to see you, and you refused because your fee fees got hurt over a silly joke.”
“You don’t have a granddaughter, and if you carry on acting like this you won’t have a daughter for much longer either.”
” ‘Well I didn’t come. I didn’t see a point. It’s just a lizard and I’m a busy person.’ “
“It wasn’t for the lizard, it was for your daughter.”
“If you’re too busy to do nice things for your family (or apparently even tell them you aren’t coming) then just say that.”
“But don’t hide behind some ridiculous moral stance of it being ‘not a real gender reveal.’ “
“Honestly this whole post just screams ‘I only give a sh*t about my kid if she’s having babies’ and that’s pretty vile.” ~ rhomboidus
OP did return to some clarity on her position.
“EDIT: In the time I was away I got many replies and it was a lot to read through.”
“Let me clear a couple things up.”
“My issue is that she said the party was a gender reveal, if she had called it just a party I would have come.”
“But calling it a gender reveal makes it sound like it’s for the lizard, and I’m not going to that even if it is a ‘joke’.
“I don’t know why it matters but the Skink is a girl which is why I said ‘I’m not coming to a gender reveal unless it’s for a real granddaughter’.”
“Even though I don’t agree with my daughter for being childfree, I have been supportive and only shown mild frustration.”
“The reasons she decided to be childfree is she claims she’s asexual, she just doesn’t want one, she has emotional baggage and feels unable to care for a real child, she fears pregnancy, and she has a carrier gene like me and ‘doesn’t want to go through what I did’.”
“(I had 4 miscarriages and a highly defect child that died after 3 months due to the gene).”
“Yes there has been slight tension between us because I think she just hasn’t found the right man (she never dated growing up) and her other fears are unnecessarily exaggerated.”
“But it’s ultimately her decision and I don’t resent her.”
“We haven’t seen each other in three months.”
“I’m a single mother and we have always been close which is why she invited me with her friends, I just didn’t want to go to a party with a lizard, and if it wasn’t for the lizard she should’ve called it a party instead of a gender reveal.”
Support isn’t about the the words.
” I support you” only goes so far, after all.
Support is about the actions taken.
The life preserver, the ladder.
Yes, even the party.
Be aware of the people really there to support you, and those only echoing words they think are right.