For many people, wedding anniversaries are incredibly important, especially “milestone” anniversaries like twenty-five or fifty years married.
But sometimes there are more important things than attending a wedding anniversary party, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor throwawayhallowo had to make the tough decision to not attend her parents’ twenty-fifth wedding anniversary because she needed to take care of her wife, who was deeply grieving the loss of her mother.
But when her mother threatened to cut all contact, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong not to attend the celebration.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not attending my parents’ anniversary dinner in order to tend to my wife?”
The OP planned on attending her parents’ wedding anniversary dinner.
“I’ll be honest and say that this dilemma has put me in a bind, as I am a very family-oriented person, and this situation deals with both ends of my family.”
“Yesterday was my (28 Female) parents’ 25th wedding anniversary, and because it’s such a big year for them, they had planned a special dinner at a very nice restaurant and invited everyone in the family, including my wife (27) and I, about a month in advance.”
“Initially, despite my wife just giving birth to our twins a month before the invite, we decided that we would just get a babysitter so that we could attend.”
But when something terrible happened, the OP was no longer able to.
“However, my wife’s mother passed this past Tuesday, and although we knew that cancer was making her very ill and that this day would soon come, my MIL’s death still shook my wife’s world.”
“It was just her and her mom growing up, and they were the closest you could get, so it’s safe to say that my wife has had one h**l of a week, dealing with her mother’s passing, making arrangements, and raising and nursing two infants.”
“So on Thursday, I informed my parents of the unfortunate tragedy and told them how hard my wife was taking it.”
“I apologized and told them that I didn’t think we could make it because my wife just didn’t have it in her to go out (at this point, my wife couldn’t even open her eyes without crying).”
“They did the usual, ‘Aw, we wish you could both be here,’ but assured me that they understood and wished my wife healing.”
“I went to drop off their gift Friday morning, and nothing but well wishes were said to me when I went.”
But it was clear that wasn’t how the OP’s mother actually felt.
“However, yesterday night, I received three voice-mails from my mom, crying and saying how she couldn’t believe that I chose my wife over them.”
“She stated how disappointed she was and if that was the case, then she didn’t want to be in my life, my wife’s life, or our kids’ lives.”
“This shocked me in all aspects and I tried to get a better understanding of what was going on, but whenever I tried to call my parents, I was met with hostility and negative comments.”
“I love my parents, but I love my wife more, my wife is my other half, and she needed me.”
“To me, staying with my wife and caring for our children was the right call in that situation.”
“Was I wrong to have assumed that was the right thing to do?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought the OP absolutely did the right thing for her wife and children.
“Please know you did the right thing. The only thing. Don’t play your mom’s childish games and try to reason with her.”
“Give her complete silence and make her come crawling back to you, apologizing. Her behavior is not acceptable and you and your wife and kids don’t need someone in your lives who says such hurtful things.”
“Time for her to learn that her words matter. NTA.” – littleballoffur22
“I just don’t why they even care about you guys celebrating THEIR anniversary anyway. Like they’re the ones who got married. Not you. My parents have been married 29 years and not once have they expected us to celebrate THEIR anniversary. Weird.”
“Also weird they would even dare get p**sy about it, knowing what just happened AND you have two infants at home.” – NothingWillBeLost
“The twin two-month-old infants would have been more than enough reason to not attend anyway.” – april08101998
“NTA, OP. And since your parents were so quick to say that they no longer want to be in any of your lives, believe and oblige them. You, your wife, and especially your innocent babies deserve better than to be manipulated in such a gross manner.”
“They’ll continue to pull that stunt any time you upset them, if you let them back in, and it will absolutely hurt your children. Protect your family.”
“If you ever do decide to resume a relationship with them, let it be on your terms, and under no circumstances do you give them immediate access to your children. At a minimum, they shouldn’t see or hear about your kids for the next 2-3 years. I’m so sorry they did this to you.” – Mirror_Radiant
“Everything was fine when you canceled and when you delivered the gift… but then later wasn’t? Weird. OP was honest, prompt, and generous… Her mom should be complimenting her for how he handled all this instead of thinking of herself. Just weird.” – AudreyB4
“I would be proud of my son for putting his wife first. ‘For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others’ is usually part of one’s marriage vows.”
“It would be unthinkable to leave her side when she just gave birth, she’s nursing two newborn babies, and her mom just died?! It’s likely she’s at the most vulnerable she will ever feel in her life. Definitely not the time to go anywhere for any reason.”
“Honestly, the parents seem fairly callous to even plan an anniversary party this close to when the babies were due. Why not wait a month or two?” – oaktreegardener
Others agreed and wondered what was said to the mother at her anniversary party.
“Even if someone got into their heads, the mature thing to do is to be sad, but then understand what OP’s wife is going through and the fact that OP needed to be there for her AND his babies.”
“Instead, mom’s reaction was way over the top, threatening no contact with OP and her family. OP is NTA but mom isn’t looking great. Hopefully, this is temporary and she’ll come to her senses. NTA.” – emeraldbluezen
“She was fine with it until AFTER the dinner. Someone, or multiple someones, said something. Like went on and on about how horrible you were treating them.”
“Could you talk with someone else who was at the party and maybe get some insight? Someone you trust that was there?” – pittsburgpam
“I think that if OP’s parents really valued her presence, they could have rescheduled. My best friend’s mother-in-law just passed away. Her father’s 60th birthday party was supposed to be that weekend and instead, they moved the event so that they both could be there for my friend and her husband.”
“It’s a little shocking to me that someone with such an unreasonable reaction could stay married for long. I think she was influenced by someone, and likely alcohol, as well.” – naughtmyreelname
“Honestly, I just assumed they expected him to still come. ‘Aw, we wish you could both be here,’ totally reads like they expected HER to come.”
“They didn’t say, ‘We’re sad you won’t be able to attend,’ they said, ‘We wish you both.'”
“They meant her wife’s not coming but SHE is…”
“I bet if OP asked, then that’s what they’d tell her. They got mad the day of because she didn’t show up.” – LimitlessMegan
“I have a SIL (sister-in-law) who likes to instigate issues when there is none. Literally happened the first time I got to meet the family. Someone has said something, because you don’t go from, ‘Aww, I understand,’ to ‘You’re trying to destroy our family,’ without some kind of trigger.”
“Regardless how important this event was for your family, caring for your wife, the mother of newborn twins, wins out.” – ifelife
Some agreed with those ideas but wondered if alcohol had something to do with it, too.
“NTA at all. Was your mom super drunk or something when she called? This story doesn’t make sense. Or your mom gaslights you or something.” – ucmecheng
“I figured mom got into wine at dinner.” – mrskontz14
“I was thinking either this or mom got drunk during dinner and vented a bit since they may have really wanted OP to be there, but knew he needed to be there for his wife.”
“If I were her, I’d be a little upset still because I’d love to spend a milestone anniversary with my kids and children-in-law, but I would suck it up 100% and let my son be there for his wife.” – appropriate_sound984
While the subReddit could understand the parents’ disappointment at their daughter and daughter-in-law not attending their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, they were not forgiving about the mother’s sudden change of heart and threats to go no-contact over the emergency lack of attendance.
Grieving is enough of a reason to not attend an event, but young children and their weak immune systems are a quality reason, as well. The subReddit agreed that the OP did what she needed to do to take care of her family, which is really what wedding vows are all about.