Imagine not having contact with your mother for 20 years, then you and your young children run into her at the grocery store – after having told your children their grandmother was dead – it would be awkward to say the least. This is all part of a recent viral post under Reddit’s “Am I the A-hole?” subreddit.
The complicated story, as told by user, Purplefish994, starts out with a bit of context. For her husband’s birthday, she had decided she was going to cook him something specific. The dish’s ingredients weren’t readily available at her local supermarket, which meant that she had to go to the next city over. She went with her young kids, a 6-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl, to get what she needed.
She was in the check out line when, as she wrote, “an older and somewhat disheveled woman attempts to squeeze between us and the people in front.” The older woman then shouted, “Oh my god,” and that’s when Purplefish994 knew that it was her mother…the mother with whom she’d had no contact with for almost 20 years.
“I froze. I couldn’t even think. I just stood there,” she wrote. The older woman then noticed the children, put her hand on Purplefish994’s son’s head, and asked, “Are these my grandbabies?” That’s when Purplefish994 flipped out. “Her touching him sent me into a literal panic,” she wrote. She yelled not to touch him, then she scooped up her kids and ran out of the store, forgetting her groceries, while her mother yelled after her, “You b—h, you won’t even let me meet my grandchildren!”
“When I get in the car I’m at the point of tears,” Purplefish994 said in her post. She never expected to see her mother again. The two women live in different states. She made the conscious decision to not have further contact with her “drug addicted, physically, emotionally, and financially abusive mother”, so when she ran into her at the grocery store, it was a very shocking and scary coincidence.
But there’s an issue. Both she and her husband had agreed to tell their children that Purplefish994’s mother had passed away. So when the woman in the grocery store claimed to be their grandmother, the children naturally had loads of questions. Purplefish994’s son asked several times who that lady in the store was, so she told him, “That was some confused woman.” But her son didn’t buy the story.
Now, her husband has changed his mind and wants to tell the kids the truth, accusing Purplefish994 of “potentially damaging” their son and confusing him. Her husband has even gone as far as to suggest that Purplefish994’s mother may have changed after all this time. However, understandably, Purplefish994 isn’t willing to risk someone so abusive getting involved in their lives now.
She has also added, “I wouldn’t even know how to go about sitting down a six- and a three-year-old and explaining that their grandmother is not in heaven like I said and that she’s such a bad person that I don’t want them to have a relationship with her.” But her husband is now threatening to tell their kids anyway.
So is Purplefish994 an A-hole? The internet seems pretty divided. The top comment, from Clarissacoil, claims that Purplefish994 has done nothing wrong saying, “you have absolutely every right to keep her out of your life. Your husband doesn’t have any say in that.”
But not everyone agrees. Thebohomama claims that “her husband does get a say in whether or not they lie to their kids,” and that while she doesn’t have to let her mother back in her life, she should be honest with her kids. But to counter this, SelfANew points out, “They’re six and three.”
Even if the children are told the truth, some commenters feel that the only thing they’ll latch onto is the fact that they have a grandmother – i.e. someone who can give them gifts. Therefore, no matter how much Purplefish994 might say that her mother is a bad person, the young kids may not fully understand that and just see Purplefish994 as the bad guy keeping them away from their grandmother, thus making the situation even more uncomfortable and complicated than it already is.
However, another commenter, fortniteplayr2005 said, “If you are a parent and you lie to your kids, and they find out, they now think lying is acceptable to those they love.”
And, as HyacinthFT states, “kids that age do need to know about abuse. They need to know enough to ask for help if they are being abused… It needs to be explained in an age-appropriate way, of course. Also, what’s this assumption that they can’t understand that bad people exist, but they can understand death?”
But that’s not the end of the arguments. People in the comments have been going back and forth with opinions since the post was put up on Reddit. So, what do you think? Would you tell a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old the truth about their abusive grandmother, or would you lie to them until they’re a little older?