It's crazy how a person's true colors can come out at a family event.
For one mother, she realized just how deep her ex and ex-in-laws' pettiness can go when they became triggered and jealous at her daughter's 13th birthday party.
The mother wrote into the "Am I the A**hole?" subReddit, explaining she had purchased her daughter an expensive gifts and the exes were really unhappy about it.
The OP (Original Poster) "fmlohwell0a1" asked the sub:
"AITA (Am I the A**hole) for dropping $600 on vocal lessons for my 13 year old daughter?"
Ever since the OP's daughter was little, she's wanted to be a singer.
"So, my baby is 13. She has been saying she wants to be a singer since she was like 3 years old. She loves singing. She is always working on her pitch and watching videos to better her vocal chords."
"Her father and I split up like 8 years ago and I never got along with her grandparents either. Important info for this [story]."
Coming up on the age of 13, it became apparent to the OP how invested her daughter still was in a future in singing.
"About a month ago my daughter came to me extremely upset that she couldn't nail this one piece she had been working on. She said she couldn't get the pitch correctly. I thought she sounded flipping fantastic but she wasnt satisfied."
"I dont make a habit of spoiling her HOWEVER this really bothered her so I went around searching for vocal lessons without her knowing and the cheapest ones found were $600 for a 3 week, 4 days a week course. Which is actually a fantastic deal. I splurged on it even though it put a bit of a dent in my finances."
The OP revealed the gift at her daughter's birthday party, where the family feud began.
"Last week was her birthday. My ex and I threw a birthday party for her at his place, where her grandparents attended."
"Obviously opening my one single gift (which included her acceptance letter for her vocal lessons) she was so thrilled that she had no interest in anything else that she had received (a brand new iPhone from her grandparents and a free pass coupon for a mani/pedi from her dad). She was so overjoyed upon receiving her gift and I'm over here like crying because she is so f**king happy that its killing me."
"I get dirty looks from every corner. Her grandparents and father pulled me aside like 20 minutes later and said that my gift was ignorant because apparently it was going to teach her that she isnt 'good enough'."
"[They also] said 'Just because she is Puerto Rican doesnt mean she can't f**king sing'."
"They seriously thought that getting my daughter vocal lessons was going to do nothing but make my daughter even more insecure about her voice and even said that I was enabling her insecurities because her voice is perfect the way it is."
The family has been threatening the OP ever since the party, and it's impacting her daughter.
"My daughter heard this, unfortunately and asked me to take her home. She cried, alot. Said her dads family doesnt understand her."
"Since then I have gotten texts from her dad telling me to get refunded for the gift because 'I refuse to pay any child support to make up for the dent you have caused in the finances by purchasing such a stupid f**king gift.' Note that he pays $40 a month and I do just fine without him so f**k that."
"This gift has now caused a huge dent in the family life."
"My daughter still loves it, despite her grandparents and father making a big deal."
"But I now feel like an AH because her grandparents have said they wont see her unless she gives the gift back."
Redditors wrote in on the situation, rating the OP's gift-giving on the following scale:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You're the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some pointed out the ex and extended family were probably mad their gifts didn't make the cut.
"I think they are mad that your gift 'outdid' their's." - WeeklyConversation8
"Dude the only reason the family is pissed is because their expensive gifts were ignored" - Cassu6
"Exactly. It was jealousy. If they had thought of it first, you wouldn't be a problem. And what does being Puerto Rican have to do with anything?" - Shejuan01
"their real issue is that OP completely outdid everybody else's gifts because she took the time to know and understand her daughter and get her a gift she would actually love."
"NTA" - stormygrace92
"NTA In what world do grandparents refuse to see a grandchild untill they return a gift they have been given because they are jealous their gift didn't get as big of a reaction. Her father takes the cake though. Threating to stop child support when he's already only paying $40 is just beyond. Thinking he has any control over YOUR money."
"They are being emotionally abusive to your daughter. You need to protect her from them." - Vallaris24
Others agreed and thought the ex and his family were totally in the wrong for their accusations and threats.
"I paint as a hobby and over the years I have dropped a decent amount of money to go to classes because it's just fun to learn new things and get better! And you don't have to have the goal of doing it professionally or even being great at it if you enjoy it. It's all about how people view things."
"It may be a lot of money in a chunk, but if you dropped that much on [taking] her on a weekend vacation (food, motels, sights can add up quick) no one would blink an eye on spending that much on something. Sounds like it's a good deal, it's something she enjoys, and f**k them for trying to ruin her excitement." - goddesstio
"Also, this would put her way ahead of the game of she's able to do choir classes in high school. I have wanted to be a singer my whole life, just like your daughter, and it was something that got ripped right out of my hands. I was beyond devastated, and it's made it hard for me to sing in front of anyone at all anymore, and that's one of the saddest things for me."
"You did an amazing thing, in a lot of ways, including your daughter seeing her family's true colors and who will and won't be in her corner, without you directly telling her anything. The fact that they somehow made this about race, too, is disgusting. I don't know who is or isn't Puerto Rican in the family, but if they're not and they made that comment, it's so much worse. I can't fathom why that connection would make any sense."
"You gave your daughter an excellent present that shows you care and listen and are ready to support her early on, and it's not about 'insecurity' (your daughter is right, they don't get her, and it shows). Its about her saying 'I'm struggling with this one part of my goal' and you helping her with a solution, to show her that when you struggle, you don't just give up or bash your head into to the wall, you ask for help or think around the problem."
"Moreover, you taught her that you are someone that can and will help her through her problems. I struggle to break problems apart to deal with them because my mother never taught me how to do that and always taught me that I was on my own."
"You sound like a great parent, and definitely NTA. But your ex and his parents sure are."
"I'd talk to your daughter about this and see how she's feeling, so she gets the chance to talk about it, and listen. Let her let it out, cause this has to have hurt her quite a bit. Get her a treat or something, even if it's just some simple food she likes. It's been a very emotional birthday for her, and this is gonna impact her for a good while, so making sure she knows that she can talk to you about it without 'burdening' you is important." - faenyxrising
"Let's be clear here."
"The gift did Jack Diddly Squat to the family life. Your ex's family and their shitty behavior have caused a huge dent in the family life."
"Voice lessons for a 13 year old who's actively interested in singing is a wonderful gift. I don't know if her voice is still changing so be aware of that, and voice lessons are definitely strenuous so be ready for her to get even more obsessed about singing. But with a good teacher, she should develop even more confidence and happiness in the hobby!"
"Also 'I'm not gonna pay you FORTY DOLLARS A MONTH anymore' is not the amazing declaration of power and authority your ex thinks it is."
"NTA" - MenArentThrowaway
Some pointed out the great lessons the OP's daughter would take from these lessons, beyond singing skills.
"No judgment, just wanted to share a related story: my sister began vocal lessons around the same age. She has a gorgeous voice and got into a tough Vocal Performance program for undergrad, but eventually decided she'd rather go into law."
"It turned out that either way, the discipline, confidence, and problem-solving skills from her years of Voice absolutely served her. She has 10+ years of experience advocating for herself by age 23, something I don't see in a ton of her peers. No matter what, I think you're doing good." - garbagecandoattitude
"Thank you for doing this for your daughter!"
"Not only are you supporting her passions, but you are also helping her in many other ways. Vocal lessons develop excellent breathing control, they help with public speaking and confidence, and promote many other less tangible skills that are great for the workplace."
"I used to have terrible stage fright, but vocal lessons made me so much more confident in my own skin. Please keep supporting your daughter!" - quixoticmelody
Others agreed and pointed out the greatest lesson would be the level of the OP's faith in her daughter.
"My parents have always taken the steps to support me in my passions too, and it's one of the things that's fostered such a strong and loving relationship between us. I could never be thankful enough for how much they've encouraged me and fostered not only my confidence, but my resilience in the face of failure too. You're a good mama" - horsepolice
"your daughter will always remember that you believe in her. that's why she loved your gift and you're doing great by her." - HelenaKelleher
"NTA. You train with musical instruments for band, this does not mean you become a musician. You train with coaches for football, this does not mean you join the NFL. You work out with a gym trainer, this does not mean you will lift weights in the olympics. You go to school to learn math, this does not mean you will become Albert Einstein."
"They are jealous because she liked your gift the best, because you listened to her. She liked the mani/pedi, she liked the I phone, she LOVED the lessons. Ignore them. She wants the lessons, if they do not want to come over, oh well." - whomenow1313
It's clear from these Redditors' comments, the OP's ex and ex's family need to reevaluate their priorities. Giving the "favorite" gift at a party can be fun and memorable, but is it worth sacrificing the granddaughter's relationship for?