The teen decided to express gratitude to his stepmom who looked after him since the age of two, hurting his biological mother in the process.
Abandonment is not always the easiest thing to handle, especially for children. Having a parent leave you no matter the reasons they had, is always heartbreaking and difficult. Reddit user u/ExpensiveExtreme3312, had his biological mom leave him and he struggled with the fact all his life. However, with his father's support and stepmom's help, he persevered and established a new family where he felt loved and protected. Surprisingly, his biological mother made a return and wanted to salvage the relationship. The son, 18, did not ignore her completely but maintained a safe distance. Unfortunately, an incident brought all the pent-up tension to the forefront, and now he is questioning his approach.
The son begins the post by giving some context on how the present situation came to be. He explained how his father and biological mother, Melanie, were high school sweethearts. They got pregnant, and his Dad did not want to keep it, but being a Baptist, Melanie went through with the pregnancy. The couple stayed together and welcomed a son. However, being teen parents, the whole situation was overwhelming. Ultimately, Melanie gave up and left the baby in his father's care because "this wasn't the life she wanted."
The dad struggled a lot initially and had to derail his dreams of studying in a big institution and make do with a small college so his parents could be around to take care of his son. They struggled but eventually managed to come out at the top. During this time, he met Anita, and she became a part of their lives. The family moved to another state so the couple could do their Ph.D., and both of them got employment in a college. The couple also welcomed another son, Peter. They were a happy unit, with Anita giving both of her sons equal affection and helping them in their studies.
At 17, the son was again contacted by his mother, who now had her own family. She wanted to pursue a relationship. The son was never rude but maintained a cordial distance. He did not go out of his way to interact with her and her family. Everything was going fine till his graduation ceremony. The son was given three tickets to the event, and he gave all of them to his "family," his Dad, Anita and Peter.
His biological mother, Melanie, did not take this lightly and argued that he could have given Peter's tickets to her. He denied this request. Eventually, she purchased her and her family's tickets, which cost $25 per person. During his speech, the son focussed on his "parents" and expressed gratitude "for helping me with schoolwork, and joked that I picked a college far away as they taught in ours." He was one of the best performers in school and so the official asked him about his parents. He pointed towards Anita and his Dad.
It was the tipping point for Melanie. She shared "how 'insulting' it was for me to say Anita was my parent and how it looks awful for me to keep saying that 'an Indian lady was my mom, even though everyone knows that's not true.'" She even took to social media, implying how children of divorce are brainwashed and how elitists look down on people who did not go to college.
The son did not think he was in the wrong to prioritize Anita. She was the "mom" to him throughout his childhood and looked after him. Anita was the one who helped him with his weak subjects and deserved gratitude. Melanie was absent and he could not give her that place in his life. However, seeing his biological mother's reactions, he became doubtful of his approach and asked people on Reddit for suggestions.
The comment section was overwhelmingly on his side. u/Dogmother123 called out the racism in the whole situation, "Anita is your mother. She may not have given birth to you, but she has done the rest. Her ethnicity is entirely irrelevant. People can be wonderful parents to kids who don't look like them. (There is a whiff of racism in Melanie's comment). Melanie bailed on you as a baby. She has not done the work to raise you. She is not your parent and takes none of the credit for the man you have become. Her social media whining is the icing on top. You do not have to call her mom. Congratulations on your success. Your parents must be proud. NTA."
u/youshallcallmebetty shared how Melanie was in no place to make such a demand, "NTA Melanie didn't raise you, Anita did. While Melanie gave birth to you, she also abandoned you for 17 years. Let her scream into the void online. You can make the decision of whether or not she gets the privilege of being in your life."