(Obligatory Throwaway. All names changed for anonymity.)
I (44F) am married to my hubby, Jimmy (48M) for over two decades. My parents died suddenly in a car accident 10 years ago. I have a younger sister, Abigail (39F) with Downs Syndrome, and Jimmy and I are guardians. Abigail is my sweet angel on Earth.
When my parents passed, I was a working mother of three young kids, helping to build our family business with my husband. At first, Abigail lived with us full time. Jimmy has always been at my side with her care and loves her to bits.
After a few months we realized that my sister needed more attention than we could give her. There was just not enough time in the day. We discussed what would be best for her and decided to put her into a private adult home for special needs people. It's very costly (over 10k a month) and comes from our own finances.
The facility does all sorts of activities and field trips. She loves her home, her friends and the "special" days the facility hosts. We are always stopping by to either visit, sign her out on holidays to spend with family, keep her overnight for special sleep overs with my kids and take her on every vacation with us. We never go more than 24 hours without one of us making sure she's ok.
Now onto the issue. I have a SIL, Jenny (42F) who had her first child after years of trying. She's become the typical first-time mom who believes she invented motherhood and is openly opinionated about things she believes other parents fall short on. I mostly ignore her and so does Jimmy.
We hosted a BBQ at my house for Labor Day with my FIL, MIL, Jenny, her husband, baby and my kids. Abigail had a planned trip to the zoo and asked if she could go. Of course, we said OK. While I we were eating, Jenny turned to me and asked me where Abigail was. Her tone was more accusatory than questioning.
I simply didn't want to get into it with Jenny, so I said Abigail wanted to stay at the home. Jenny then turned to her hubby and said, "See this is why it won't ever happen." My MIL asked Jenny what she was talking about.
Jenny, all snarky, said to the whole table, "We did our wills last week and knew these two wouldn't be suitable as guardians of our baby if something happened to us. They tossed her sister into a home rather than be real family to her! I won't let that happen to my child."
I didn't let it show, but I was extremely hurt she could say this. Instead of yelling, I laughed at her and said, "Well that's great news since I have ZERO desire to raise your kid." More was said but that's the gist of it. Jenny left with her family calling me nasty swear words as she walked out. (I might of said a few swear words myself right back at her!)
It's been over a month now and Jimmy is still getting nasty texts from Jenny demanding I apologize. My MIL knows she overstepped with her comment but is asking me to be the bigger person and say sorry to keep the peace. I refuse. AITA?
NTA and Jenny is a major AH. If she had actual concerns she should have talked to you or her brother. And if she had half a brain she would see that sometimes living in a group home is better than with family who don't have the time or resources to properly care for or enrich the life of a person with special needs.
Sounds like you are still involved in Abigail's life and she's happy. That is what's important. Also, if SIL does feel this way, she doesn't need to make it known and do so in such a hurtful and insulting way.
I'm completely non-special needs and the idea of living in a group home like OP describes sounds bloody fantastic. People who cook and clean form you, a load of friends and trips to the zoo.
So as the DIL you need to be the bigger person? Why is that? My own mother would have told me off if I acted like your SIL did. But your SIL has a strong personality so your MIL wants to take the easy way out. Is it okay she hurt your feelings but not that you hurt her daughter's? BTW: It warms my heart Abigail loves her group home. NTA.
This place is amazing. I couldn't say everything because of limits but its a big building that houses everyone in their own "dorm room." They host cooking classes, gym classes, art class, take them swimming to the local YMCA, host talent shows, day trips, movie nights.
There isn't a day that goes by Abigail doesn't have something to look forward to. At first it was an adjustment, I felt a lot of guilt that first year. But now she's thriving and getting much more enrichment than simply staying in my house, by herself, without much interaction during the day.
Thank you Everyone. My MIL called me this morning...which prompted the post and asked me to call SIL and make amends. She's concerned about seeing the new baby and SILs threats to not attend Thanksgiving if I don't.
I love my MIL and have a normally good relationship with her. That's where I'm feeling the push and if AITA because I'm refusing to apologize. I couldn't get all this in due to post limits. I talked to my husband and he said it's up to me on how I handle this. He thinks Jenny was insulting him as well as me.
Do not apologize. Stand your ground. She was way out of line. An apology will only aid in convincing her she was right. I would tell your Mother in law you can’t allow for what she said and implied about you and your husband to stand nor will you apologize for the sake of “peace” to someone who spoke that way about you in your own home. F*ck her and the broom she rode in on.