2T Who’s Your Daddy?

August 20, 2007

Quite a few years ago when I taught high school in Oregon, a young lady showed up in one of my classes in the middle of a term. She was a bit mouthy and saucy, but not big trouble. There was a story behind her sudden appearance, which I only gradually learned. Her parents had divorced when she was young. She had grown up with her birth mom and a step dad in Arizona and had not had contact with birth dad who lived in Oregon with a new family.

As a teenager, she had fallen into some conflict with mom and stepdad. Not catastrophic conflict, but a common level of parent-adolescent arguments and commotion. One day, she caught a Greyhound bus to Oregon, found her way to birth dad’s house (dad had also remarried and had a new family) knocked on the door, and said, “Hi, I’m your daughter. I’ve come to live with you.”

After some less than calm long distance calls, she was eventually merged into the other family. I don’t know all the details, but my understanding was that the re-arranged family life was working. Not smoothly, not trouble-free, but not catastrophically.

I’ve known other daughters who were separated from or deprived of their father and became obsessed with discovering or tracking a dad. In some cases, all they knew was that dad had been a test tube. Not knowing her dad can leave a young lady with an uneasy feeling that she is missing something she needs.

So I’ve expressed some concern to Random Daughter [RD] and Out of Law partner [OP] (Random Granddaughter’s birth mother) about figuring out what RG’s relationship will be with her sperm donor, whom for blog purposes I refer to as [dad].

RD and OP and [dad] all went to college together. He lives in the Midwest. He has a steady partner (five years, I believe) and a good job. He is bright and talented.

He visits the barely extended family from time to time. RG knows and likes him, and calls him by his first name. He’s like an uncle to her. They get along well.

While I was working yesterday, my daughter told my wife that a few months ago, RG asked, her mommies, “Is [dad] my father?”

I was rather expecting this to happen.

No one quite knows how RG figured it out, but she is a very bright little three year old girl. There were various clues for her to work on. She often picks up on things adults say when they don’t notice that she is listening. She knows [dad]’s mom as a grandmother. Although my daughter and her partner have male friends and are not hostile to men, [dad] is the main unmarried man in their lives who fits into the appropriate age bracket to be her father.

When my daughter was little, we did the “Santa Claus” thing. When she was in kindergarten, a pretty bad little boy her age who lived next door, told her that Santa Claus was a made up character.

“What do you think?” we replied when our daughter asked us. “I don’t think Santa Claus is real,” she said.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Would you rather we had?” we asked back. She seemed to accept that it was OK that we let her figure it out for herself.

I’m not sure if this story applies to my granddaughter’s experience with learning about her very unconventional style of dad. I am glad that she has a dad and knows who he is instead of wondering about him and spending years looking for him.

She is a young lad with very strong opinions about everything she encounters and no hesitation in sharing them with her family. At the moment, things seem to be copasetic. However, as time goes by, I’m sure she will have a few things to say about and to [dad].





2 Responses to “2T Who’s Your Daddy?”

  1. I’ve been curious to see how this situation will develop . . . I’m not surprised that she figured it out. I’m also hoping you won’t correct your typo that refers to her as a “young lad.” There’s something just too apropos about the whole thing.

  2. jennymac Says:

    All these years I thought a laddie was a girl, but then, the first 9 years of my life I was mostly a boy. “Young lad” really is apropos. This is very interesting, and I agree, it is a good thing that she will know her birth father. FTL, jen

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