Family dynamics can be so hard, especially when you’re including extended or blended family members, and especially when you’re talking about family who has special needs.
This young man wanted to take his little brother and some of his friends to an amusement park for his 11th birthday.
Since one of those friends was a cousin, his aunt jumped in and asked if her daughter could go along, too.
I’m a 24 year old guy with an 11 year old little brother who loves rollercoasters. For his birthday last week I said me and a couple of my mates (he thinks my mates are cool for some reason and I would probably go insane without people my age there) would take him and 3 friends of his choice to Alton Towers.
He was hyped with this, and a few days ago he was talking to me about all the stuff he wanted to go on whilst we were at a family gathering with my Dad, Abuelo, extended family. My Aunt jumps in and asks if my 13 year old cousin would be able to come with us, as one of the other kids we’re taking is a family member.
The daughter suffers from multiple sclerosis and low-functioning autism, has mobility issues, and also can struggle with places where noise and other sensory input is present.
My cousin has Pediatric Onset Multiple Sclerosis as well as Low functioning autism, and sometimes uses a wheelchair or a frame. Due to this she has issues with going to the bathroom, gets fatigued very easily, becomes anxious in busy places, has a lot of special needs basically.
OP said he didn’t feel comfortable taking her, gave several very good reasons – one of those reasons being that the day is meant to be a special one for his brother and the cousin will necessitate a lot of attention being spent on her.
I explained to my aunt that I didn’t really feel responsible enough for my cousin to come with us. I’ve got no experience looking after anyone with disabilities, let alone a child, and neither have any of my friends. I said there would be a lot of walking (with the kids likely running round) and my cousin would struggle to keep up.
She also has a lot of sensory overload issues due to her autism and often has meltdowns when she hears loud noises, and theme parks are pretty fucking loud. It would just be a bad idea, she wouldn’t even enjoy it.
Plus, I wanted my brother to just enjoy his birthday, he wanted me to go on bigger rides with him and I didn’t want it to become a day of just worrying about my cousin.
His aunt laid into him, saying that he thinks his cousin is a burden and that he should have sucked it up for one day.
My aunt said I was being selfish, her daughter has every right to enjoy her childhood and make memories with her family. She said if she has to make accommodations in her life everyday for her daughter, she doesn’t understand why I can’t do it for just one day, accused me of treating her daughter like a burden.
She also brought up the fact my partner is Autistic so I must have experience, but my partner is a 21 year old woman with no physical disabilities who can manage her high functioning autism quite well, so I said that’s an unfair comparison.
He apologized but kept his foot firmly down, but now is wondering whether his not wanting to take her along really does make him the a$$hole.
I apologized and I felt bad but I put my foot down on my reasoning.
We went last week and my Dad posted about it on Facebook, where my Aunt commented “daughter’s name wishes she could be there ” or something.
Reddit is weighing in below!
The bottom line is that he’s trying to be a good brother, and not wanting to make that day impossible doesn’t make him a jerk.
The aunt definitely isn’t thinking about her nephew on his birthday.
Her mom should really make plans to take her there another time.
The aunt really seems like she needs a break, but it’s not OP’s job to give it to her.
No one even asked the girl if she wanted to go, either.
This is a rough situation, but I think OP handled it very maturely for his age and that the aunt needs to recognize that.
She might need a break, but this wasn’t the way to get it.
Agree? Disagree? Tell us which and why in the comments!