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To have left my dad's wedding without saying goodbye to him?

(123 Posts)
stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 22:17:50

My dad got married yesterday. My sister and I both went to support him, with our children. Total 20 guests. We both made an effort despite rarely seeing him, following an acrimonious (sp!) divorce from our mother when we were teenagers, and him still being with (one of) the woman he left her for.
Anyway, our kids were asked to bring up our wedding presents after the lunch (it was an 11-3 dry wedding).
My son (aged six) snatched the present we had brought from his sister (aged 4) resulting in it dropping on the floor. He immediately started crying, such is his response whenever he knows he has done wrong/ has to do something he doesn't want to (e.g homework). Also he was tired from an early start and long drive.
My dad asked if it could have broken, I said yes. There was a hushed silence (ugh) as he opened it, and yes it was broken. My son continued to cry and walked to me. I told him to leave the room and I would speak to him in a minute, that I was very cross with him.
My dad followed him from the room, and so I did too. (My dad hasn't seen him since last year - dad's choice not mine). My dad told me that my behaviour, in sending my son out of the room, was worse than my son's accidental breakage.
I felt this was grossly unfair as my dad doesn't know my son, hadn't actually acknowledged the gift, and had made me look very bad in front of his guests (who I don't know - his OW's family).
I hated walking back into the room to everyone looking at me, and my dad going to his now wife and speaking to her, then calling my son over and reassuring him that all was fine and not to worry. When my son returned to me (by choice! not summoned!) my dad walked over and told me that this was his day and I wasn't to upset my son again.
I went out and spoke to my sister, who reassured me that she'd have gone mental had her kids done that. I went in and thanked his wife and congratulated her and said goodbyes to a few people I'd been introduced to, I did not approach him, nor him me.
Was I out of order? Was he? He never sees my kid, I wasn't going to beat him ffs I was upset he'd broken the f'ing present! And that my dad didn't acknowledge said gift! I would have replaced it if it had been acknowledged, and if I hadn't been made to feel like a shit parent. My dad, fwiw, barely raised me thanks to his affairs, and when he did was critical and unpleasant. Yet still, the people pleaser set inside me, seeks his approval.
AIBU, and what do I do now? So sorry for the mammoth post.

CocktailQueen Sun 01-Sep-13 22:21:37

Yanbu. I would ave done the same with my son. Your dad was bu acting as he dd, ESP as he oesn't know your DS. Sounds v awkward. Hugs.

Spongingbobsunderpants Sun 01-Sep-13 22:23:36

I think your dad sounds quite horrid and controlling, I'm afraid. I know stress on a big day makes you do and say all sorts of things but he didn't handle it well. How was your relationship with him prior to the wedding? Was there any underlying tension that could have informed his reaction?

Pigsmummy Sun 01-Sep-13 22:24:36

Surely it was an accident your son didn't mean to break present?

Spongingbobsunderpants Sun 01-Sep-13 22:26:40

Sorry, I realise you have had a fractured relationship with him from your post, but what I meant to say was, was there anything said between you immediately prior to the day that could have got him to act like this? Or is he like this all the time?

EldritchCleavage Sun 01-Sep-13 22:27:01

Well, your father got to play the good guy and kind grandfather in front of his wedding guests, which I suspect is all that mattered to him. As for not saying goodbye, it's not polite but if'd you'd gone up to him, was there a high chance he'd have been off with you anyway? All in all, it sounds like a good thing you don't see him much.

Spongingbobsunderpants Sun 01-Sep-13 22:27:26

Pigs I think I would have been cross at the snatching thing though, not the broken present.

Whereisegg Sun 01-Sep-13 22:30:05

Maybe he felt that your son was embarrassed about dropping the gift, and the situation could have been more quietly dealt with in front of others.

I know that I don't know your son, but demanding your child leave the room (full of strangers) who, from what i understand, were all watching this gift giving, seems a little harsh.

You say he snatched, could he not have been excited to give a present?

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 22:32:13

Thanks for replies. No my son certainly didn't mean to break it - he just wanted to be the one to hand it over, so snatched it carelessly resulting in it dropping.
My dad and I have huge amounts of tension - ten years ago he refused to come to my wedding because my mother asked me not to let his OW attend (my old babysitter from when they were together - who he started a relationship with during their marriage). My dad wouldn't come alone. We have gone through years of not speaking, and for the last year have spoken fortnightly on the phone, but haven't seen each other, on the few times it's been arranged he has cancelled as he is germ phobic, and as I am a teacher with two young kids, we often have colds etc.
I don't know whether I should phone and pretend it never happened (almost certainly what he'd choose), or write a letter asking to be excused from his life! He makes it clear he doesn't like me, yet phones fortnightly and is angry when i don't want to speak for 30mins+. Last xmas I drove out to his with a hamper I'd made of his faves I remember from childhood, and I got a cup of tea and hurried out as my dd had a runny nose.

antimatter Sun 01-Sep-13 22:32:20

You clearly didn't like what he did in the past, you don't like his current behaviour (i.e. your comment that he doesn't see his grand kids) - why did you go to his wedding if you don't like him?

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 22:34:10

Eldritch that's exactly what i think he wanted.

And Whereisegg, I know, that's why I'm worried that IBU.

ChasedByBees Sun 01-Sep-13 22:34:19

YANBU but as to what to do - what do you want the outcome to be? I'm guessing he won't apologise (he'll probably wait for an apology). Would you be happy if it ends up drifting into no contact? He sounds like a waste of space so I'm loathe to suggest you make the peace.

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 22:34:54

Antimatter, because he's my dad and he asked me to.

frogspoon Sun 01-Sep-13 22:35:12

It was an accident, but at 6 he is old enough to know not to snatch, which led to the accident.

You acted in a very reasonable way in sending him from the room. You did not shout at him in public, nor did you hit him. He will have learnt that what he had done was wrong, even though it was an accident.

Also you did not upset him as he started crying anyway when he realised he had done wrong.

Your dad's behaviour was unreasonable, however I think that you were also a bit unreasonable and rude to leave without saying goodbye.

Just because he was rude and unreasonable, that doesn't excuse you to act the same. Next time rise above it.

Spongingbobsunderpants Sun 01-Sep-13 22:35:38

How do your children feel about him?

ChasedByBees Sun 01-Sep-13 22:37:10

Xposts. At this point though does it matter if you ABU? If you feel you were, apologise to your son. Your dad was BU and being very off with you - you don't owe an apology to him.

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 22:37:30

Thank you frogspoon, I just felt so hurt that my parenting was being judged so harshly, and that he had totally ignored my (ok broken) gift.

My kids like him, but tbf they like everyone!

Whereisegg Sun 01-Sep-13 22:40:06

I can't see why he should apologise?

He thought you dealt with a situation badly, said so, and asked that his wedding day was a calm/happy day.

He should apologise for being a pretty in/out dad, not coming to your wedding, but this?

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Sun 01-Sep-13 22:41:29

I think you were unreasonable to leave without speaking to your dad (basically flouncing) BUT I totally, totally understand why and I think you would have to have the patience of a saint to maintain reasonableness in that sort of situation.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Sun 01-Sep-13 22:44:05

I think you were maybe a little harsh on your DS, but I also agree with Eldritch that your dad seems to want to look like the big man and the benevolent dad/granddad in front of others. There's a touch of King Lear in the wanting the grandkids to make a big display of bringing presents to him. And he presumably still sees you as the child to be told off and corrected, not a parent in your own right.

Does having him in your life really enhance it? Sounds like a lot of hassle you could do without to me.

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 22:44:14

Yes Whereisegg that is exactly what he felt. I just wondered if others would think I did handle it badly, and what I should have done. Everyone was watching, my son was upset, and I chose to send him out. Maybe it was a bad call. What would you have done?

Whereisegg Sun 01-Sep-13 22:56:49

I just think (hope) I would have been a bit more sympathetic in that he was excited/nervous/embarrassed about approaching his little known grandad in front of staring strangers, as I imagine you were yourself.

He must have been bloody mortified when he dropped that present.

Look, I'm no bloody perfect mother at all, I shout, I mutter behind closed doors, I lock myself in the bathroom with a cup of tea frequently!

He was a shit dad to you, I get that, but in itself I don't see this as controlling or awful, I would have wanted to follow him out of the room too to let him know it was no big deal, an accident.

Clearly everyone thinks differently, so I may well be wrong.

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 23:03:14

Thanks, I just don't know. I've replayed it over and over and I just wish it had never bloody happened. Shit like that always seems to happen (i.e. I prove myself to be a bad person) whenever I am in my dad's presence, but it genuinely doesn't seem to happen anywhere else (and I see a lot of people!) I will talk to my son about it again in the morning, I think he knows I was angry about the snatching not the breaking, and I hope he doesn't feel that I deserted him in front of strangers when he was already really upset.

Whereisegg Sun 01-Sep-13 23:06:42

You are not a bad person op, and I am sorry if you feel I have implied this.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Sun 01-Sep-13 23:09:02

You're not a bad person. If your father has made you feel with his actions that you are, then he's definitely let you down.

Talk to your DS in the morning and put it all to rest. I suspect you overreacted (a little bit, IMO, after all 6 yos do drop things and get clumsy) to what your DS did because you are on edge about being perfect in front of your dad, perhaps? He doesn't come out of this sounding very nice to me - to say you had been a bit hard on your son would be one thing but the 'your behaviour was worse' sounds like him enjoying telling you off like a kid.

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