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So, a little backstory. When my sisters and I were kids, every year for our birthdays and Christmas my uncle would give us cards. Inside those cards would be a printed out picture of some place (i.e. local theme parks, the zoo, aquarium, museums, any place a kid would love to go).
After we opened them, he would tell us that we're going to that place. He would say things like "it's gonna be the best trip of your life!" That would obviously make us very excited. Here's the thing. We never went on any of those trips. We never went to any of those places.
As a young kid, it would be disappointing. But after a while I started expecting it and just going along with it. I don't hold any animosity towards him at all obviously. As an adult now, I understand he did that because he didn't have the means to buy us gifts.
Here's where I'm starting to have a little bit of an issue with it. My daughter's fifth birthday was last week. My uncle gave her a card, she opened it to find a printed out picture of a theme park about two hours away from our house. And he promised her a fun weekend away.
He promised her things like a giant hotel room with a swimming pool, all the snacks she could ever want, and tickets to every show she wants to see at the park. She was over the moon.
For the past week, my daughter has talked non-stop about this trip. She keeps telling me how excited she is and how excited her whole class at school is for her. It breaks my heart to look at that smile on her face knowing it's not gonna happen. I remember how disappointing it was for me, and I don't want her to go through that.
So. I texted my uncle. Here's what the message said, "Hi! Your message in [daughter's name] card was so beautiful. Do you think next time you could leave out the promise of an extravagant trip? The thought and gesture is amazing. However, I never know what to say when she asks me when this trip will be.
She absolutely loves spending time with you so I know the promise of even a nice lunch together would make her so happy." He never responded, but my aunt told me he was upset. She said something like he was offended that I implied the only thing he could afford was a "nice lunch."
I didn't mean it like that at all. I just wanted him to understand that she loves him and wants to spend time with him and he doesn't need to promise impossible things to make that happen. But I can see why he interpreted it the way he did. And that's where I'm wondering if I'm the @$$hole.
This has been an unspoken thing in my family for so many years so I'm now wondering if I should've just kept it that way. I just can't stand the thought of my little girl getting disappointed so many times. My sisters and my mom agree with me. My mom even said she wished she stopped it when we were kids. So, AITA for telling my uncle to stop gifting my daughter extravagant trips?
NTA It is an incredibly cruel thing to lie to a young child like that. There is zero need for it.
NTA, but why are you being sensitive to his feelings when he wasn't sensitive to yours when you were a child? Tell him that his actions caused you repeated disappointment when he didn't follow through on his promises and that you don't want your child to experience the same.
IOUs are not presents. As you say, a lunch or an activity on the day would be lovely, but other than that, stick to an actual gift or give nothing at all.
NTA. Stop being nice because he’s not being nice. He knowingly is getting a child’s hope up and then crushing it. There isn’t one nice thing about what he’s doing. Tell him he’s no longer allowed to give gifts because he’s a known liar, and that all attempts will be intercepted by you.
NTA and I would definitely protect your daughter. Because that’s exactly what you’re doing. The disappointment for everyone when it doesn’t happen is so harsh for a child. It’s not a life lesson she needs to learn. Too bad he’s upset about your implication. Your daughter comes first.
He’s making empty promises and setting her up to not believe or trust when someone gives her something exciting. You already went through that and no how it feels. She doesn’t deserve that also.
A lot of people asked me why I was being so nice to my uncle and honestly, I think I underestimated how weird it was because it's been so normalized in my family. I didn't want to cause drama, so I went about it as non-confrontational as possible. I agree now I should've been more direct.
Another concern a lot of you had was, that I allowed this to happen to my daughter previously. That is not true. This is the first time he promised her one of his trips. That's why I decided to say something, so this doesn't become a recurring thing.
Here's the update. I tried to call my uncle twice but he didn't answer. I got through to my aunt and explained everything to her; how many times he did this to my siblings and I and how often we were disappointed. I told her my daughter was so excited and that if they were actually planning to take her on this trip, I would apologize.
She didn't take that well. She told me I was creating unnecessary drama and that my daughter and I are acting "entitled" to expect them to drop everything to go on this trip. I was shocked and angry.
I said how dare you say that. She didn't imagine this trip in her mind and then expect you to take her, you PROMISED her this trip. Her disappointment is not entitlement. I said it's not my job to make sure a grown man feels secure in himself and it's a shame my family spent so long coddling him. I was so mad I just hung up. I don't feel any ounce of guilt for setting my boundary anymore.
For everyone asking if I can take my daughter on the trip, unfortunately that theme park closes for the season this month. But I surprised her with something even better. After the phone call with my aunt, my partner and I decided to book a trip to Disneyland! It sounds crazy and impulsive, but we've been wanting to plan this for a while now and decided it's the perfect time.
My kid IS entitled to an extravagant trip. Last night, we sat her down and explained that her uncle won't be able to take her on the trip. I tried to be as honest as possible without confusing her. She was unsurprisingly upset and had a lot of questions. After we answered them all, I told her not to worry because her mom and dad are taking her somewhere instead.
When she found out it was Disney, she was over the moon. She's spent all day deciding which Minnie Mouse stuffy she wants to take with her. I told her to tell her class her trip got upgraded. All things considered, it's a happy ending. I know I won't always be able to protect her from disappointment, But I sure as hell will do my best. She's getting that giant hotel room she was promised.