Not everyone grows up experiencing the same childhood. While for some people, that could mean trauma, for others, that will mean not getting to experience some of the things that other people take advantage of.
So when a person grows up and finds themselves able to afford the things they didn’t experience as a child, that can be an emotional realization, reasoned the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor AdSpiritual1651 grew up not being able to afford things like dinner nights out or family vacations, especially going to Disney World, which was a lifelong dream of hers.
When she discovered that her partner and his family were going to Disney and taking her along for the trip, the Original Poster (OP) couldn’t contain her emotions, much to the dismay of her rich in-laws.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for crying over a surprise trip to Disney?”
The OP had always wanted to go to Disney World.
“When I was a kid, my family was really poor. I used to beg my parents to go to Disney World because I would see the ads on TV all the time.”
“We lived about five hours away from it, but my family just couldn’t afford to go, so we never did.”
The OP was shocked when she discovered a surprise her fiancé had planned for her.
“I met my fiancé and we’ve been happy. His family lives in Orlando so we went down to visit (we only see them maybe once per year).”
“He said he had a surprise planned for me, so we got in the car with him and his family, and he ended up taking us to Disney World.”
“Not gonna lie, I started crying. I’m not a huge Disney fan anymore but I wanted to go to those parks SO BAD when I was a kid, and I was heartbroken that my family couldn’t afford it. When I realized where we were going, it felt like I was a little kid again and I was so happy.”
“We took a couple of minutes in the car for me to compose myself, and there were a few sights in the park that got me misty-eyed, but it’s fair to say that I wasn’t causing a scene or anything.”
The OP’s in-laws were embarrassed by the OP’s reaction.
“His mom and sister got annoyed with me for crying and were visibly embarrassed and told me that I’m a grown woman and crying over a theme park.”
“His family has had annual passes for years so they used to go all the time.”
“I tried to explain that I was emotional because of being too poor to go when I was a little kid, but they were standoffish and seemed annoyed with me while we were at the park.”
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 empathized with the OP and encouraged her to feel her feelings.
“I felt it when you said how you reacted to the surprise. It was similar for us. We couldn’t afford anything.”
“Now I have enough money but I have a hard time spending it. So when I get something that was considered too expensive, yes, I feel overwhelmed and go back to being that kid who couldn’t even dream of having something like that.”
“NTA, OP.” – Moonlover318
“NTA! DO NOT be embarrassed by having your feelings and emotions! This was an overwhelming moment for you and that is perfectly okay!”
“I grew up comfortably middle class, and my fiancé grew up very poor (like utilities regularly turned off, clothes too small but had to make do, type poor). What I have learned since being with him is that people who didn’t struggle growing up don’t really understand the long-term impact that has on people as adults.”
“The man LOVES new socks… he has SO MANY socks because as a kid he usually got hand-me-down socks or socks from Goodwill so new socks are a luxury to him.”
“He recently cried in try grocery store when we were buying steaks and he went to grab some cheap cut and I was like, ‘No, honey, get the good steak…’ and pointed to the ribeyes. Cried. In. The. Grocery. Store. Because it was a moment in his life where he realized he didn’t HAVE to get the cheap steak anymore.” – Robineggblue84
“I was 39 the first time I went to Disney World with my then-boyfriend (now husband). I BAWLED when I saw the entrance (we drove there), straight up ugly cried on Main Street, and then again while seeing the Wishes fireworks.”
“I’ve been back three other times, and you know what? I cry EVERY D**N TIME.”
“Signed, A woman who grew up in poverty.” – hotpinksnoopy
“NTA and your fiancé sounds awesome. Nothing wrong with crying from happiness.”
“Growing up, we never really did any family vacations other than camping maybe one weekend every summer. I got married at 36 and we didn’t do a honeymoon.”
“When our son turned six, we decided to take him to Disneyland. I spent six months planning and researching the trip. When we took the exit off the highway, I started crying because I was so excited and happy.” – AdOld4200
“NTA. I’m a Disney fan, from a family of Disney fans, and we have annual passes and go as often as we can.”
“Our entire family would have had THE BEST DAY EVER watching you enjoy everything for the first time.” – Carmella-Soprano
Others agreed and warned the OP to be careful in her relationship with her in-laws.
“They were p**sed off because you cried tears of happiness? What a bunch of jerks. How did your fiance react? Is he this way when he’s with you? If so, run, girl, run! (After you go to Disney World, of course!)”
“Carefully consider whether or not you want to marry this guy… It’s hard for someone to grow up in a situation like that and not be one himself.”
“Best of luck, have a nice time at Disney.” – TabbieAbbie
“Your fiancé sounds great. But you need to make sure he’s able and prepared to put his judgmental, snobbish family in check and have your back when the time comes. Of course, you’re NTA for being emotional, and I’m glad you had a great time despite their bad attitude.” – These_Mycologist312
“NTA. How odd to be embarrassed about someone being overcome with joy.”
“I am so glad that you got to enjoy something that had meant so much to you historically, and I hope that they didn’t spoil that for you.” – sloppypoopypoppy
“NTA. I’m happy you finally got to go, but I’m sad you were with buttheads. Disney is always magical when I go. I’m an adult, and I have been there several times, and I cried with happiness when I went for my birthday last year because the trip was so amazing.”
“How was your fiancé during the trip? Maybe he and you can go together on your own.”
“Maybe the mom and sister were just looking for a reason not to like you. It happens. Don’t sweat it. You just need to watch your fiancé carefully during times like this. Is he a momma’s boy who will not protect you from harmful behavior, or is he your teammate and partner?” – BimboTwitchBarbie
“It sounds like you have a great fiancé and good to know he has your back.”
“His mom and sister are AHes, though. Sounds like they are entitled and have no empathy towards OP.”
“Disneyland/world is not limited to your physical age. It’s for everyone of all ages to enjoy.”
“And… if more (older) people were kids at heart, we would be in a happier place. I may grow old, but I may never grow up.” – CaptCaffeine
“I spent a long time in counseling. His mother and sister are shut off from their own emotions, and it makes them uncomfortable when you show your emotions because it makes it harder for them to deny their humanness.”
“Keep doing you and stay low contact with them.”
“NTA, but your MIL and SIL are.” – geniologygal
“Hey, no shame there! I actually took my kids over Christmas. I grew up poor, and always wanted to go but never could. We drove 13 hours and stayed a week. It was AMAZING. When I entered Disney World and drove under that first arched sign… I started bawling.”
“Then it happened again at Magic Kingdom. Then when my baby girl met Stitch, her idol, for the first time. Oh, and then again at the Fantasmic show at Hollywood.”
“I cried so many happy tears. My kids (19, 15, and 10) were so happy, and they didn’t judge. All the people around me, nobody judged! So many were smiling, like they knew what was up.”
“Your in-laws sound kinda gross, but at least your fiance is awesome! I’m so happy for you getting to experience the magic. NTA, at all, in any way, shape, or form!!” – Lostit-catsanddogs5
The subReddit was full of people who grew up in similar situations to the OP and completely understood the feelings she felt upon seeking the park for the first time after a lifetime without it.
Hopefully, the OP’s partner would be able to talk some sense into his family, or they’d realize on their own that not everyone comes from the same socioeconomic status and are not all able to enjoy the same luxuries, especially from a young age.
There was really nothing about how the OP behaved that should have ruined the day or impacted her relationship with her in-laws, but if her in-laws were unwilling to see how she grew up very differently than her partner did, their biases might create problems of their own.