Loving a love child

Joey Garcia

While married, I had an affair with a married man and became pregnant. My husband discovered the affair and we divorced. My daughter’s father is still married. His wife doesn’t know about the affair so he wants nothing to do with his daughter. She is now two years old and asking where her daddy is. I don’t know what to say or whether she’s too young to say anything. Advice, please!

If your daughter is aware enough to notice she doesn’t have a daddy and inquires where he might be, she deserves an answer. Give her an age-appropriate, 21st century response: “Daddy wasn’t ready to be a daddy and that’s OK because you have me and I have you. Not all families have a mommy and daddy. Some families have one mommy, like ours. Some families have one daddy. There are families with two mommies or two daddies. The most important thing in every family is love. I love you and I love being your mommy.”

Your daughter will likely ask you about her dad over and again. That’s what 2-year-olds do. That’s what 4-year-olds do, too, so prepare yourself to repeat the same answer over the years with infinite patience. Your daughter needs your explanation delivered in a consistent and affectionate tone of voice. It will help her accept that her father’s absence is not her fault.

Always speak well of her father. Don’t put him down. Don’t list his bad qualities, either. If you do, she will absorb these condemnations, incorporating his faults into her character as a way of drawing closer to him. It makes the teenage years tougher than they need be.

Invite a male family member to become a part of your daughter’s life. Their relationship can help her discover how to balance internal gender energy. We all carry male and female energies within. A man without female energy will be macho. A woman without balanced male energy will seek to be rescued, instead of managing her own life. To ensure your daughter develops into a happy, successful adult, fill in the truth about her father, but do it slowly over time.

I recently began taking light rail to work. One of my co-workers takes the same train and sees my presence as an opportunity for conversation about uncomfortably personal topics. I miss my quiet time on the way to work. I find myself getting angry at this guy who is a nice person, just not anyone I care to be friends with. What should I do?

When the conversation veers into TMI, say you feel uncomfortable. Bring up something you prefer to chat about. If need be, excuse yourself from the conversation. Once a week, explain that you need quiet time to wrap your head around a new project. Excuse yourself, and walk on ahead. On another day each week, take a slightly earlier train. Before heading into the office, walk around the block, giving yourself extra time alone. By storing more solitude, you will feel less resentment toward your co-worker. Be sure to engage in at least one conversation per week with him. Consider it your community service.

Meditation of the week
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world,” wrote Anne Frank. Still cranking those new year’s goals?

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