Grieving is a highly individual process and when there are sentimental possessions involved, everyone approaches those items differently.
But for one dad who decided to share some sentimental items with his 5-year-old daughter, the situation clearly went in a different direction than he wanted.
The dad's wife, and Reddit user "momto2kiddos," shared their story of how they had opposite reactions to their daughter ruining the Barbies that previously belonged to the dad's sister, who had passed away. The mom later shared her story on the "Am I the A$$hole?" subReddit, asking if she was in the wrong for essentially taking her daughter's side after her husband didn't listen to her warning to take precautions with his deceased sister's belongings.
The Reddit user explained first her husband's relationship with his sister and where her belongings came into the picture.
"My husband's sister passed away 10 years ago, quite unexpectedly. She was my husband's only sibling and it took a toll on him, it's a sensitive issue."
"When we had our daughter, his mother gave us boxes of his sister's old toys because sister had always said she wanted to pass her toys to her own kids, but passed before she had any. This included a collection of collector Barbies that were still in the box. If you don't know about these, they hold their value and are worth a lot."
"We gave my daughter the unboxed toys as she got older these past 5 years. I always said we should store the collector dolls until she was older. MIL agreed."
Though these collective Barbies were already out of storage, the mother explained they became a more central feature when their daughter turned 5.
"This year, our daughter turned 5. For her birthday, we got her a new bed and redesigned her room. My husband decided to put all of the collector dolls on shelves for 'decoration'."
"I told him this was a mistake. Even though she's 5, she doesn't quite get the difference between these and her regular, playable barbies. Even after we explained it to her, she was asking when they could come out of the box. My husband still insisted they'd be fine. She barely plays in her room anyway, she has a playroom."
"I said fine, but I know if they get ruined, he'll be crushed."
The mother anticipated something would happen to these Barbies and unfortunately the day came when she was right.
"We had another baby last year. I was trying to get him to calm down the other day and my daughter was making a lot of noise. I asked her to take some toys into her room and play quietly. She said okay."
"When I went to check on her 15 minutes later, she had managed to get a collector Barbie off the shelf, torn the box and had severely damaged the Barbie by trying to get it out of the wires."
"My husband was so mad at her. I told him he had no right to be, because she's still too young to get it. I said they were sentimental and it'll take time for her to get that she can't play with toys we put in her room."
"My husband said I was an a$ for not backing him up and that I was making excuses for her."
"I took all the dolls out of the room and said she'd get them back when she was older. My daughter feels so bad and I hate that my husband set her up to feel this way. He's calmed down but still thinks I'm wrong for not getting upset with her."
The mother shared her story on the subReddit, asking who was in the wrong for what had happened.
Though some Reddit users understood why her husband was upset, since the Barbies had belonged to his sister, the response was still resoundingly in favor of the mother and daughter.
"[Not The A$$hole] (NTA). Your husband needs a reality check and an education book on child development. Children that age do not understand 'sentimental value' when it comes to toys. H**l, there are a lot of adults who don't understand it. From young kids' perspectives, toys are for playing." - TheLadyEve
"As a kid I (with my sister) broke all my nanas porcelain dolls that my dad have to my sister and I, and this little doll bench. Not all at once but over the course of the years, as an adult I never understood why he didn't just take them away until we were more grown up." - Max-1995
"Setting it up this way, I can't help but think of Eden: all the fruit trees except THAT one!"
"NTA. Part of a parent's job is anticipating potential issues and heading them off before they happen—especially with someone so young. You were on top of things; he was basically setting your daughter up for failure. It's her room, her space. By sticking forbidden toys in there, he's being unnecessarily restrictive and not really respecting her space." - Shavasara
"So true. My similarly aged son is a sharp tack and a great listener, yet I would still be hesitant to put literal toys in his room and expect them not to be touched. Also, displaying anger at someone that young (even justifiable anger) and expecting someone else to act angry as well is just wrong. Like what is mom supposed to do, scream and berate her daughter to make dad feel justified? OP is so NTA but her spouse certainly is." - KookieBaron
Though we can have high expectations for our children, we also have to understand where they are developmentally. When we expect a 5-year-old to understand the importance of sentimental items, we're essentially setting them up for failure.