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Teen Called ‘Selfish’ For Not Wanting To Honor Late Twin Sibling With Birthday Candle Tradition

Birthday cake
Aideen McF Photography/Getty Images

Redditor Background_Cause7103 has the unique experience of not only being a twin, but being the surviving member of that duo.

The Original Poster (OP) lost their twin brother hours after they were both born, so they never got the chance to get to know him.

The OP’s mother understandably had a tough time with her baby boy’s passing, and ever since the angel baby’s birthday was celebrated alongside his twin sister’s.

However, now that the OP is days from being 17-years-old she’s realizing that she wants the celebration to be all her own.

This has caused a bit of a moral conundrum, driving the OP to subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA).

She asked:

“AITA for not wanting to share my birthday with my dead twin anymore?”

She went on to explain:

“[16-year-old female] here, soon to be 17 in 3 days. I was a twin. My brother died hour’s after birth. He was 5 minutes older than me.”

“I was told my mother went into deep depression, but with help got better over time.”

“I’ve watched videos of my birthdays from 1-6 year old, and me sharing my birthday with my brother has started at my 1st birthday.”

“There’s always that 5 minutes of remembrance in honor of him, and instead of having one candle on my cake there will be an extra or extras for him.”

“For example, if I was 1 year, there will be 1 for him or if I was 2, then they would add another 2 and so on.”

“As a kid, I didn’t really understand or minded, because I got to blow out extra candles.”

“When I was 8, I did question it and they told me it was in remembrance for my brother since we share the same birthday.”

“This carried on until my 16th, that I didn’t get to celebrate, because I ended up in hospital.”

“My grandpa showed up at the hospital while I was recovering with a gift and wished me and only me a happy birthday. After he left, I realized, I loved that he only acknowledged me.”

“I realized, I didn’t want to keep sharing my birthday with my brother. But then I felt guilty. I did try and speak to my parents about me just me celebrating my birthday this year. But I was brushed off.”

“Now we come to what happened 4 days ago and my grandpa, who is the official cake maker in my family, asked what type of cake did I want?”

“I told him and added firmly with only 17 candles please. My parent’s were in the next room and immediately they came in demanding to know what I was doing?”

“That I should know that the other 17 candles were for my brother and I ended up crying and told them, that he’s not even here and I am.”

“I can’t remember everything that was said but there was a lot shouting with me and my parent’s and grandpa and me getting told that I’m selfish and I need to stop being self-centered.”

“Grandpa left with me. I’ve at his house since the big fight.”

“I’ve been crying alot and Grandpa been here for me, but I feel so guilty and to need to ask AITA?”

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

Redditors decided:


“Your parents need to find another way to grieve their lost child. Your birthday should be your celebration, not their occasion to memorialize their grief.”

“They need to be able to celebrate you — their living child — and find another way to memorialize your brother a different way.” – Independent-Length54

“NTA – your parent’s needing to grieve is understandable but they’re going about it the wrong way. Your feelings are completely valid and I agree with everything you write.”

“Your birthday cake should be for you.”

“Not particularly similar, but I’m a twin and we always got separate cakes. I wouldn’t have wanted to share a cake with my twin on our birthday and we were in the same room.” – thejackalreborn


“Your parents haven’t gotten over the tragic death, and they can’t put you on the spot EVERY YEAR OF YOUR EXISTENCE … this borders on unhinged.”

“What will they do at your graduation?”

“Your wedding?”

“They need therapy and I’m glad your grandfather has given you a safe space.”

“A happy 17th birthday to you” – DblAytch

“NTA. Your parents have never thrown you a birthday party. Every party was a funeral for their golden child.”

“You’re just the also ran. Every year, they use you to throw themselves their annual pity party.”

“The only thing they’re celebrating is their poor parental heartbreak. Your birthday has absolutely nothing to do with you or your deceased brother.”

“Time for you to refuse to participate in their morbid funeral rites.”

“Find some friends and actually Celebrate your birthday for the first time.” – AdOne8433


“This ghost-baby-birthday bullshit is abusive. It should have never happened, let alone for the years and YEARS it did.”

“Your mom needs to sort her feelings out such that she can put this ancient trauma to rest.”

“‘I ended up crying and told them, that he’s not even here and I am’”

“Worse, he was never really here. Your parents are mourning lost potential, rather that celebrating your actual existence.” – StAlvis

“Oh honey… No. YOU are not the one who’s being selfish here. Your parents absolutely are, and this is not healthy.”

“You are absolutely NTA to want your parents to focus on you for once in your life without putting an asterisk on your life.” – EndielXenon

“I understand this, I share a birthday with my grand aunt, who I never meet, she died before I was born, but she was apparently everyone favorite.”

“She’s always mentioned on my birthday and it’s seriously annoying and hurtful. NTA”

“P.S Here a Happy birthday for your up and coming 17th birthday 🎂” – ActuaryAncient2356

“NTA – Difficult situation to navigate.”

“Remember, your parents have a right to grieve and remember, you have a right to have a birthday party that is just for you.”

“Say you want to have your birthday party at your Granddad’s house, if they want to do something seperate on the same day, that is up to them…”

“…you might even wish to join, but the party is the party and it’s yours not theirs.” – finite_perspective

“NTA… I am a twinless twin. My brother passed when we were 19. I may carry him in my heart and think of him, I have not had a joint celebration.”

“If you need someone to talk to, my dms are open” – SebrinePastePlaydoh

“NTA, and you’re not selfish but your parents are and have been for your entire life.”

“Losing a child is an unimaginable pain, but forcing a child who has no memory of or connection to a sibling to ‘share’ their life is cruel and sick.”

“They should have been in therapy until they could find a way to grieve without dragging you down.” – Ok_Childhood_9774


“Your parents are grieving and you need to understand that it’s a grief that will never go away. But they should not be hijacking your birthday every year to let themselves grieve.”

“Your parents are selfish. They need to learn how to grieve separately from your birthday, and if they want to honor him they need to do it in their own way. Away from your birthday celebration.”

“My sister lost her son, he was stillborn, on my dad’s birthday, about 18 years ago. She never fails to bring it up on my dad’s birthday.”

“It always kills the mood and leaves a dark cloud over celebrating my dad. It has lead to a lot of difficult celebrations, and some where she was excluded on purpose.”

“I don’t blame my dad at all, of course he’ll always remember the day he lost his first grandchild, but he doesn’t need his birthday ruined every year because of it.” – samk2487

“NTA. Birthdays are meant for the living, not the dead. Your parents need to let go of what was and could’ve and focus on what is right in front them.”

“A daughter that may very well cut ties with them if they continue down this road.” – Old_Inevitable8553

“NTA, my friend lost 1 of her twin boys to SIDS, it is absolutely devastating HOWEVER even 7 years later she celebrates the boys birthday with a visit to the cemetery…”

“…and then a party for the living child. As a parent you can’t discount 1 twin just because the other can’t celebrate.” – Crafty-Skill9453

“I can understand maybe the first few years when you didn’t know any better and didn’t understand what was going on.”

“But when you turned 8 and started questioning it, that’s when it would’ve been a good time for your parents to find another way to celebrate his life.”

“When you’re at the age to understand that birthdays should be about you only, that’s when your parents should’ve started changing things.”

“Nta. Don’t feel bad for your birthday to be about you.”

“Your parents are the ones being selfish and kind of lazy at this point.” – Equal_Push_565

Happy birthday, OP.

We hope your parents can find another way to honor your twin and celebrate you on your special day. Both are important, and both deserve to be honored.

Written by B. Miller

B. is a creative multihyphenate who enjoys the power and versatility of the written word. She enjoys hiking, great food and drinks, traveling, and vulnerable conversation. Raised below the Mason Dixon, thriving above it. (she/her)