One day every child of a single mother has questions to ask about daddy. Who was he, perhaps? What happened between you two, maybe? Where is he now? We all became single mothers in different ways, so we will all get different questions and have different answers. This is what I will say to my son.
“Your father was a nice man, but he had a very bad disease and was unable to take care of you.”
I choose to say it like that because
- I don’t want to say nasty or mean things about his biological father
- I assume he will be too young to really understand the implications of alcoholism
- I don’t want him thinking there was something wrong with him that made his biological father not want to take part in his life
- I don’t want him to think I stole him away from his father
As he gets older and can understand more, I might give him more information and detail, such as
“Your biological father was basically good, but he was an alcoholic, and because of his addiction was not able to be a fit father.”
I may tell him a few details about his father, should he ask, such as what he did (as opposed to what he did for a living, since his “profession” did not bring in any income) where he was from, maybe what some of his interests were. I will do what I can to avoid going into too much detail before I think he’s ready for it. When the time comes that he wants to know the whole story of what happened between us, I will try to relate it to him in the most matter of fact, nice way I can find to do it. I will also admit to what I did wrong in the relationship (I certainly did make mistakes), rather than just pointing the finger at him.
I cannot do anything to stop Elijah from tracking him down one day, should he decide he wants to do that. If Elijah ever comes to me (as an adult) and asks for detailed information about his biological father in an attempt to track him down, I will give it to him. He has a right to find his father, if he wants. I will not encourage it, however. Come to think of it, Elijah has a half brother out there somewhere as well, or so his father told me, and he may wish to track him down. Whatever the case, I can’t do much about it.
What have you told your child/children? What do you plan to say? Have you thought about it at all?