Friday, November 19, 2010

All I Want For Christmas...

As many of you know, I am a widow. I have been raising my children independently for 10 years. When they were younger, they had a lot of questions about their dad and wondering about that side of the family. 

*For the record, my husband was abused by his mother as a child. She abandoned him at the age of 13 and left him to be a ward of the state. At the time of his death, they were still estranged. My children have never met the paternal side of their family. Neither have I.*

Anywho...  The other day, I wrote about my children's Christmas Wish Lists. In the comments, a mom wrote that for Christmas, one of her children asked to meet their dad. While my situation and hers are very different, I could still relate with the feeling of helplessness when it comes to not being able to be both parents.

While my children don't know the details surrounding their father's death, I have told them both stories of how excited he was for them to be born, how happy being a dad made him, and other happy stories for them to feel closer to their dad.  While I don't condone lying to my kids, I try to keep from them the ugly details.

This mom and I emailed back and forth a bit and discussed different options for handling her particular situation, but my heart is still aching for her and her sweet boy. So now I turn to you, my bloggy friends. After all, what's the use of this amazing community if we can't provide one another support?

What words of advice do you have for this mom? Are you or have you been in a similar situation? How did you handle it? How can she be honest with her son without breaking his heart?


Diane said...

My boys, of course, have always known their dad died and that he loved them very much. My oldest still retains quite a few memories of him although he was only 4 at the time of his death.

They both love hearing stories about him from me and their paternal grandparents and uncle.

But it sounds like this situation is entirely different since I am assuming the dad is still alive somewhere and just chose not to be a dad?

I don't have any great words of wisdom on dealing with this but my best friend grew up never knowing her dad since he left before she was born. Her mother always told her the truth and gave her all the ugly details surrounding the divorce and told her how he had cheated on her with another woman.

She never had any desire to meet the man as a result and couldn't wait to drop his name when she got married.

I personally don't think I would want to feed my child full of negative comments about his dad. I would try to sugar coat it in a way to let him know that his dad is not an all bad person but just has some personal issues (whatever those may be) that are preventing him from acting as a parent.

I know that was no help at all! Hopefully, someone who has dealt with this will be able to offer her some more helpful advice.

Ange said...

I am "the mom to the boy" and here are the details:

- Boys bio dad is alive
- Boy has never met bio dad
- Bio dad has no interest in meeting boy
- Boy has two 1/2 sisters that bio dad raised
- Mom secretly cries every time boy mentions bio dad

Thank you all.

Mimi N said...

I guess it depends on why they haven't met their dad. Is he just a jerk, in prison, abusive, etc.? If that's the case then depending on the age of the child I think it has to be handled carefully.

My girls' dad left when they were 2 and 4. Then a couple years later wanted to see them when we were getting ready to move to MN. He saw them a couple times and that's it.

I never talked bad about him, but said he made some bad choices and that there were some things he needed to do before he saw them so that everything would be ok.

They are now 17 and 19 and only heard from them a few times in the ensuing years. A couple months ago he got in touch with them via Facebook (UGH) and I've told them to be careful because he has some "issues" but that they're old enough to make these choices and to leave me out of the equation.

I think we have to be as gentle with these answers as much as possible, especially if they're little. Their parent is still their parent. As they get older, more mature, then they can begin receiving bits of truth. No need to push it. They'll know in time.


Renegades said...

Speaking as an adult child of a bio dad I did know that was abusive to my mother (i witnessed it as a small child) and an alcoholic I can tell you this a bio father is always a bio father even when they are the biggest SOB out there.

The court ordered I had to see mine. He did it to hurt my mom. We went from visits where another neutral party was there to finally where he could take me.

He died last week. I hadn't seen him in 6 years and all we said then was hello.

What finally was the end of wanting this man to be my Dad? The day I had my firstborn and he had no interest. Keep in mind I was almost 27 years old.

My mom was always honest with me and I'm glad she was for there are no hard feelings between her and I over him. A man that in my adult years became insignificant I thought. Until he died and then the what if's the why's came about. All shut down by death.

Just my thoughts.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I have not been in this situation so I do not have advice for her but I will give my opinion. In my heart I feel that no matter what he is told I think his little heart is probably already broken. Sometimes the truth can set you free but not always. I do think that seeking medical help would maybe help her in how to deal with this. I will keep all of you in my prayers.

Alexandra said...

I am so happy to meet you. Don't know how you whizzed past me, but I love your style, and your content. Tried to follow, but didn't work for me. Please stay in touch, K?

My mom was widowed at age 39 with 6 kids.

Losing Brownies said...

gosh, that is so hard Ange. I don't know what to say, because I have no experience beyond being a teacher and defaulting to the parents for that sort of thing. I have no idea how to explain to him that his father really doesn't want to know him. I hope someone has better advice beyond being truthful as possible and just being there for him as he reacts.

Alicia said...

ohhhh lady. i can relate to her for sure...its been over 4 years since my babies bio dad has seen him...his loss! but man, its an emotional rollercoaster for sure. give her a hug for me!

Andrea said...

What a rough situation.

I'd have a handful of questions before I could answer this with what I would feel would be the appropriate response.

Ange, I am so sorry that it hurts you so much when your child asks about his father, but please know that no matter what your baby's age, it is normal, and it's not meant to hurt you at all. :( I am sure that it doesn't feel that way, though.

My first question would be how old the child is, because that would really help me gauge the level of understanding, etc. he would have if he was to be outright rejected by his father, or have you (mom) explain to him in more detail what is happening. So as not to take over the entire comment string here, I'll start with that.

Sending you huge hugs, and to you, my TOMama, a sweet virtual smooch for supporting her in this way!

Babes Mami said...

I am an abandoned bio child.

For a long time I thought that I wanted to meet my bio dad, I assumed he was this great guy that my mom just didn't like. I thought that she wanted to keep me from him because she wanted me all to herself. My sperm donor (what I call him as I have a father) signed his rights away from me and my brother when we were 4 and 5 and never looked back. Recently my bio uncle and grandfather found me and we have been talking. I tried to email my SD to see if he had any interest in me and he doesn't. He forgot about us very quickly.

With my experience I wouldn't let him meet him since the Dad has no desire to see him. I have no idea how to explain that but I know that it was like a knife when this guy had to interest in getting to know me and I'm almost 26 I can't even imagine if I was much younger.

This is such a tough situation and subject! I hope Ange gets some good advice for what to do!

Danielle said...

I am so late on this, but my daughters bio dad is not in the picture and I dread the day she is old enough to question why. I guess that honesty is the best policy, but I will sugar coat so that she doesn't feel left or not loved. It is good to see what others think.

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