Here's the sitch:
December was the niece’s birth month. Unfortunately, on almost the entirety of that month, OP’s son was hospitalized.
Because of OP’s hectic schedule, made up of hospital, work, and sometimes home, he did not attend his niece’s birthday and forgot to send her a birthday text. No one from their side of the family was present, including OP’s dad, since he was also helping at the hospital.
They came back home from the hospital when OP’s sister and her family came to visit. The niece brought up the topic of her birthday–that she was hurt since OP, her uncle, didn’t wish her a happy birthday.
The brother-in-law adds that the niece was upset because not one of them was present on the birthday, which left OP stunned. OP reminds him that he was at the hospital, implying that it should be a good enough reason to miss the birthday, no?
The brother-in-law keeps pushing, even saying things like they (OP and his family) “took over everyone’s attention for a month” and “making her grandfather (OP’s dad) miss her (the niece’s) birthday.” The sister tried to change the topic, but OP thought it was better if they were to go home.
When the sister’s family were to leave, the niece asks if OP would rather them leave than admit that he hurt her feelings, to which he answered yes. Before they left, the sister tried to ease the whole situation–hugged and talked to OP–but her husband tells their daughter that the uncle was just being a jerk.
OP thought he could have apologized for him–and his dad–missing the birthday. However, shouldn’t the fifteen-year-old be able to understand the whole situation or is it too far-fetched?
An update. It seems like the comments have really helped OP have a comprehensive view on the whole situation, and has led him to decide what to do.
While many have suggested OP resolve his relationship with his niece by taking her out to dinner, it is not a feasible solution. He is taking care of a disabled child and working a full-time job, not to mention their massive medical debt.
The comments have also mentioned OP’s sister as a bad parent, but OP refutes these accusations. She has helped OP in many different ways and considers her a blessing in his life.
OP emails her and says that he will be limiting contact with her husband and daughter temporarily. He acknowledges his lack of emotional capacity to deal with the issue at the moment.
Even after sending the email, OP is worried that he and his sister might grow apart. But right now, his son needs him and it is OP’s top priority.
The brother-in-law is the asshole. He was really trying to make the drama happen.
The brother-in-law was being whiny about OP’s son getting more attention in December. A bad example to the niece.
Perhaps the fifteen-year-old was too young to understand. The parents should’ve explained the situation much better and corrected her.
The niece is 15, “but she has time to grow out of it.” With parents like this, how?
Everyone sucks here and is kind of the asshole.
Here is a long list.
Once again, the brother-in-law is just bad. And OP was a little harsh–after all, it isn’t that hard to say “I’m sorry I forgot.”
Basically, the niece is learning a lot from her asshole father.
OP’s sister is the only decent human being in her family.
Their level of priority is just messed up. OP doesn’t owe them any type of apology–if anything, they owe OP.
They’re all assholes, but the brother-in-law more than OP. OP shouldn’t have just blown off the niece when she was just stating that she was hurt.
The brother-in-law was most definitely an asshole for everything he said and for encouraging his daughter’s behavior. Aren’t parents supposed to be role models to their children?
Everyone knows that life isn’t always fair and that many people need the support and understanding they can get, especially from their families. People should be more aware and sensitive about others’ challenging lives.
Being kind is not hard, and it can mean the world to many. Setting a good example to not only your children but also anyone in general can make lives a little bit brighter.
What are your thoughts? Comment them below and share this with your family and friends–what would they do?