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Dad doesn't spend father's day with his son due to personal grief; wife says, 'You are 100% a deadbeat dad.' AITA? UPDATED 2X

Dad doesn't spend father's day with his son due to personal grief; wife says, 'You are 100% a deadbeat dad.' AITA? UPDATED 2X


When this dad feels like he's being judged too harshly be his wife on father's day, he asks the internet:

"AITA for not spending Father's day with my son?"

I (33M) lost my father at a young age. Ever since then, I spend Father's Day at his grave and visiting places that were important to him. My wife has always been supportive of this, but last year that changed.

Our son, 6 now, 5 then, wanted to attend this Father's Day festival with me. I told him that I already had plans, but he was welcome to join me and learn about his grandfather. Son didn't enjoy the day.

He was very bored at the gravesite, and I repeatedly had to direct him away from other graves. The long car rides were also a lot for him. I decided that this type of experience shouldn't be repeated again for him until he is older.

Tickets for this year's festival just went on sale, and this morning my wife gave me two tickets, an adult and child, for me and my son. I reminded her that I had plans. She got mad and told me my dad would be disappointed in me for neglecting his grandson (I don't neglect my son).

I got really irritated with my wife. I told her this one day is all I ever ask for and am not giving it up. She called me an AH and said if I don't take son to the festival she will and will tell everyone there she's present because her husband is a deadbeat dad. I think she's out of line. Am I in the wrong?

argor writes:

When you became a father, Father's Day no longer became about you and your father. It expanded to include you and your son. YTA for blowing him off. If that ritual is important to you, do it on his birthday or something.

I also seriously doubt "all you ever ask for" is just to spend Father's Day commemorating your father. Are you sure you're as present as you think you are? Maybe have a conversation with your wife to see if this is a serious issue, after you both calm down.

norope writes:

YTA. Your son is going to remember that you weren't here for him on father's day, that you would rather spend it in a cemetery than with him. I know you miss your father, but spending the whole day there is a lot when you have a living kid who needs you!

I think it's appropriate to visit briefly and take your son, but then go an do activities with your actual child. Which presumably is what his grandfather would want, not you moping around his grave when his grandson is sitting home wondering why daddy won't hang with him.

If you feel like you need a yearly day to mourn like this, of course that's fine... but why not his birthday? Or another day that is important to both of you but unimportant to the rest of your family.

thresbean writes:

Soft YTA. You're a father now... father's day is about a child celebrating with his father. You're denying your child the chance to celebrate with you on father's day so that you can mourn someone who is no longer here.

I understand that the loss of your father is heartbreaking, and I entirely get the need to honor that. Perhaps you could do your mourning on your father's birthday or death anniversary instead?

Do not prioritize the deceased over those who are still alive and want to connect with you now.

wintetbane writes:

Soft YTA... maybe even NAH, but you are in the wrong. I've always felt that "days" are arbitrary. You shouldn't wait until someone's birthday to call them, an anniversary to show your partner you care, etc. You can visit your dad any day of the year. But this festival, which means a lot to your son, is date sensitive. It's important that you be there.

Moreover, ask yourself what your father would want. Obviously he raised a loving, devoted son who still honors and cherishes his memory. That speaks volumes. Wouldn't he want you to have a similar impact on your son? Wouldn't he want you to be the kind of father he was?

You do not need to be alone in a quiet cemetery to remember your father. In a way, he isn't even really there. His memory is alive in you. His legacy lives on through you. Cherish him through your deeds. Be a father to your son, and in doing so honor what he was to you.

PS - the best thing about this story is that it isn't over. There is still time. You can buy those tickets, you can experience the joy of telling your son that he gets to go with his dad to the festival. You can apologize to your wife and tell her you've reconsidered (and I'm confident she would also apologize for insinuating you weren't a good father). This is an AITA that doesn't have to be a TIFU.

And now, OP's first update:

Edit: Initially, my plan was to get an unbiased perspective. I figured since almost everyone agreed that I was TA, it really was important to go to this festival. However, the flood of vitriol that followed gave me pause. There's really no such thing as an unbiased perspective. Everyone has an agenda. The caustic comments prove that.

A polite person asked if I would have wanted to go to such a festival with my Dad. That hit me, because of course I would. I would want to do almost anything with my dad, who I miss. Kids love festivals, so of course I would have enjoyed this as a kid. However, my dad never spoiled me, and I'm not going to teach my son that the world revolves around him either.

There are plenty of festivals and carnivals we attend throughout the year. That can't be every day. This is Dad's day, his only day, and I'm not going to take it from him. I talked to my Mom about what happened, and she told me that I wouldn't reward son for having a tantrum but am rewarding wife, and she's right.

On June nineteenth, I'm going to take my son to my hometown. He'll spend the morning with my Mom while I visit the grave. Then, I'll take him to lunch at my Dad's favorite restaurant.

We'll go swimming nearby the place Dad used to take me fishing. I'll take him to get ice cream. It'll be a nice day, and it will be a day that honors my dad. My wife can go to the festival if she wants, but son will not be attending.

I know many of you were excited that I'd decided to take him, but I'm not going to teach my son it's okay to be selfish. I'm going to continue to teach him about Dad so Dad can live on in spirit. I make my son the focus of almost every holiday, but this is Dad's day. That's an important lesson for him to learn. Sometimes it's not about us. Sometimes it's about others.

Update 2:

My dad didn't celebrate his birthday. My mom told me he didn't like talking about his birthday (although he always made a big deal out of hers and mine) so neither of us know why he didn't like it. Maybe he was planning on telling me one day, but I'll never know.

However, I do have a couple of alternatives I'm considering. Regardless, I've decided to take him. The overwhelming YTA verdict is pretty convincing. I guess grief blinded me. I do still think what my wife said was out of line and that needs to be a conversation, but my son is an innocent, and he deserves good memories.

It's also super corny and cheesy. But, I get that my son won't remember the tacky decorations or gross food as much as he will being with me. Consider me schooled by this landslide of responses. I'm taking him to the festival. I'll visit Dad a different day.

I'm not going to "dish on" my wife, but she has this habit of being really rude and petty when she's sure she's right. We've talked about it in the past, and she promised to work on it, so I guess we're going to have to talk about it again.

For the record, whenever she makes mistakes or does something selfish, I bring it up calmly without calling her rude names. Which is all I ask in return. But that was never really the main point of the post anyway.

I wasn't going to mention any of this, but all of these way off base assumptions were astounding. You all decided my wife is this person she wasn't, and it's silly. These black and white views of the world won't do you any favors. Was I wrong not to prioritize my son? Yes.

So automatically you assume my wife is then a saint. She's not. She's a loving person, creative and energetic, hilarious and inventive. One thing she is not is patient. Everyone kept saying she must have brought it up repeatedly. Well, she didn't. She just exploded. Which isn't okay and isn't how we want to raise our son.

All of these ssumptions about my wife are wild. She has anger management problems. She knows she does. It comes up frequently. She makes mistakes just like I do, but I don't blow up at her over them. She can be very stubborn, when she is right AND when she is wrong

. She always apologizes later, but then it happens again next time. Even her own family has repeatedly told her that if she keeps overreacting to things like this she's going to lose all of her friends and probably her family too. Also, my when my son was four we were all on lockdown. So we weren't going to go anywhere anyway. Before that, he was a toddler/baby.

He didn't even know what Father's Day WAS. Some of the early comments were helpful/insightful, but these later ones are full of some real vitriol about a situation you know nothing about. One day is not the other 364. Also, my son and I have a great relationship. We do a lot of fun things together.

This was one day I took for myself, and while I get that this day can be special for my son too, and I can change the tradition to a different day without cheapening/losing it, this is a lot more noble than all the moms who use mother's day as a day to not be around their kids.

And before you say that those moms spend every other day of the year with their kids, SO DO I. Of course, this is par for the course with an internet mob of childless know-it-alls.

The people who shifted my perspective were the ones who were polite and respectful, not the ones who called me a deadbeat dad, even though I'm responsible for 50% of childcare and am the one responsible for comforting our son when her famous temper gets directed at him.

You guys think she's a hero when she yells at me, but I'm not her only target. Of course, no one thought about/cares about that.

Readers continued to weigh in on OP's updates:

YTA. Although I can understand that OP should be allowed to have a day to do what he wants on father's day, I just think that it's mean of him to be so vehement on not going to the father's day festival his 5-6 year old child wants to go to with him.

because he wants to punish (or in his and his mother's words "not reward") his wife. He even changed his plans to spending some time with his son in the afternoon, and yet still won't go to the festival.

However, it does seem that he is going to spend part of the day with his child (which is great!), I just think it's immature of him to I guess use his child to get back at his wife. I guess it won't matter as long as both OP and the child is happy (hopefully his child won't be hurt that they aren't going to the festival).

Sources: Reddit
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