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Teen Won’t Let Parents Take Graduation Photos After They Skipped Ceremony For Laboring Sister

Graduating students in caps and gowns
FatCamera/Getty Images

Whether it’s from kindergarten, high school or college, graduating is a major milestone in one’s life.

Typically, the graduate wants to celebrate the occasion by sharing the special day with loved ones.

And usually, it’s the other way around, as well… usually, but not always.

A teen on Reddit was upset after his parents skipped his graduation ceremony to be with his sister who suddenly went into labor and are now trying to force him to retake his graduation photos with his cap and gown against his will, so he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to seek feedback from fellow Redditors.

Redditor FunnyAffectionate795 asked:

“AITA for not allowing my parents to take a picture of me with my cap and gown?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (16/M[ale]) graduated last Friday.”

“After the ceremony ended I couldn’t find my parents anywhere.”

“I was looking around for them and then I decided to check my phone.”

“My mom sent me a text a while ago letting me know that my sister went into labor and her and my dad were at the hospital.”

OP was devastated.

“This upset me because I thought my parents were there but realizing that they weren’t just made me sad.”

“I saw everyone else with their family taking pictures and stuff and I was just standing there awkwardly not knowing what to do.”

“My mom told me that they would be back asap to come and get me.”

Again, OP became disappointed.

“They did not.”

“I waited for a good 20 minutes watching everyone else leave.”

But he got tired of waiting.

“I decided to just walk home because I got tired of waiting.”

“I walked 3 miles before my parents drove by and made a u turn to come and pick me up.”

“They were mad when they saw me walking.”

“They told me that It was disrespectful of me to for leave with out telling them and accusing me of putting myself in danger.”

So, he attempted to justify his actions.

“I told them that It wasn’t alot of people left at the ceremony and I didn’t want to wait anymore.”

“I also told them that they knew it was important for them to be there and they completely bailed on me.”

OP’s parents did the same, but to no avail.

“They told me that they were sorry and kept trying to justify why they left.”

“I told them that it doesn’t make sense for them to leave when my sisters husband were there with her and if they really wanted to abandon me they could have at least had one of them stay with me but they left me with no one to watch me and ruined what was supposed to be a good day for me.”

“My sister didn’t even give birth that day she gave birth like 18 hours later which pissed me off more.”

And now they’re upset their son won’t retake graduation photos with his cap and gown.

“The problem is my parents are upset with me because they wanted to take another picture of me with my cap and gown on but I refused.”

“The one they took of me in the car I wasn’t smiling and my parents wanted a redo because of it.”

“I told them no.”

“I said that if they already had a picture of me and that it’s all they are gonna get.”

“I told them that there are pictures of me on my school’s facebook page and they can screen shot it from there or can leave it alone.”

“If they choose to attend my college graduation they can maybe see me in another cap and gown.”

“But until then, I don’t see why I have to put it on just for them when they chose to miss it.”

OP feels like he is at a loss.

“They feel as if I’m punishing them by not allowing them to take a picture of me.”

“I just feel like if they wanted a picture they should’ve been there.”

“Other than that they can use the ones on Facebook, the one in the car, or none at all.”

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 the OP was not the a**hole.

“Tbh … I think NTA.”

“It would be different if your sister was alone or in distress but she wasn’t.”

“It also sounds like it was her first which notoriously takes hours and hours – if she was safe and had her husband with her, they could have waited a couple of hours with you and then all gone together – or, like you said, one of them stayed.”

“Is she the golden child?” – heather20202024

“NTA One should have stayed with you, you’ve every right to be upset.” – MennionSaysSo

“NTA. It was a big moment for you, so of course it’s normal for you to respond with disappointment when your parents aren’t there.”

“Your sister had her husband with her, and it seems quite unlikely that both your parents would be in the delivery room with her on top of that.”

“I completely understand that they want to be there for the birth, but they surely knew they still had hours to go before the baby would actually be born once they saw your sister at the hospital.”

“It usually isn’t like in the movies where it’s a process that takes a few minutes. As parents, they know that.”

“Having one parent stay with your sister while the other attends your graduation is a completely valid compromise.”

“After the ceremony, this parent could then drive back to the hospital with you.”

“If you don’t want them to take those pictures, then that’s that. “

“The moment has already passed and they weren’t there for it.”

“Photos are to capture memories, and the one they took in the car did exactly that.”

“You shouldn’t have to pretend like it’s a happy memory when, for you, it’s not.” – Trikger

“As a parent, I’m appalled at your parents.”

“You are absolutely NTA.”

“To those saying ‘do you miss the birth of your grandchild?'”

“Yes, you miss the birth of a grandchild to celebrate a major milestone of your own child.”

“You put in 13 years of effort to earn your diploma. It’s a big deal.”

“Friday was supposed to be about you.”

“You only graduate high school once, and they ruined it for you.”

“The least they could have done was have your dad stay to watch you walk.”

“Or, you know, drive to the hospital after the ceremony.” – Annual_Duty_764

“NTA. I’m picturing you standing there alone surrounded by happy graduates and their joyous families and it breaks my heart.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“Absolutely, ONE of your parents should’ve stayed to witness your moment.”

“Then you could’ve high-tailed it to the hospital and taken tons of pictures.”

“But just forgetting all about you? No.”

“And then getting pissed bc you didn’t wait for them?? Again, no.” – Global_Look2821

“Going with NTA”

“Sister had a support system at the hospital – her husband.”

“At the very least, one of the parents should have stayed for the graduation.”

“This isn’t fair to the OP.” – Few_Throat4510

“I sense this might be unpopular, but NTA.”

“There was not reason that either of them had to leave, much less both of them.”

“As the parents of two children, they surely know labor isn’t that fast.”

“At minimum, one of them should have stayed.”

“That said, I think you should do it.”

“One day, when you’re a lot older, you might regret not having that picture.”

“Don’t steal your own joy just to spite your parents.”

“I promise that you’re much more likely to look back and regret being petty than to regret not having been petty enough.” – FlyingDutchLady

“NTA …”

“I agree, one of them could’ve stayed.”

“When someone goes into labor, especially if the have a SO, you’re not going to be able to go and see them while they are giving birth.”

“You are gonna sit in the waiting room.”

“Even if sitting in the waiting room isn’t the case, they still have the support you need and they could’ve waited an hour to go up there.”

“Someone said that the birth of a grandchild is more important than graduating.. honestly I feel that’s a very subjective take.”

“Giving birth to your first is a huge milestone in that stage of your life, just like graduating is a huge milestone in OP’s phase of life.”

“OP I understand your frustration, but really consider is this truly the “hill” you want to stay on?”

“Your parents messed up, but maybe they might start to understand your frustrations.”

“Consider problem solving this with them, identify what you need to move on from this and see if they will help you with that.”

“Also congratulations on this accomplishment!” – livinggrayarea

“NTA- there was absolutely no reason for them to rush to the hospital and leave you like that.”

“I feel really bad for you being abandoned like that and seeing all of your friends enjoying their accomplishment with their families, I can imagine how that felt for you.”

“Instead of profusely apologising for both prioritising being somewhere they probably weren’t even wanted at that point in time, they have decided to be AH to you instead.”

“You deserve to be pissed with them.” – emmeylou85

Whether OP decides to take the photos or not, the choice should be driven by what will make him happiest – no one else.

Hopefully, OP and his family can move past this regardless of what he decides to do, but his parents should definitely recognize the impact of their absence.

Written by AB Keith

AB Keith is an educator turned roadtripper who is currently teaching virtually while touring the USA. Her dream is to visit all the national parks and create a series of nonfiction children's books about NP adventures through the eyes of her dog, Backpack Benny.