It sounds flippant, but it really isn’t. Here’s my dilemma.
Damien’s father (lets call him “X”) and I split when I was about three months pregnant. This only after his family went for counseling sessions and it came out that they had enough on their plates and didn’t want to deal with an illegitimate child as well. We agreed to split and have no contact, financial or otherwise. This was unbelievably difficult as we were at school together (I was seventeen) and we had to try and keep this quiet for us to finish the school year (pregnancy resulted in expulsion back then* oh the shock, the horror!). So I still saw him every day. Having no contact made it easier for me to “start over”* and it gave them the chance to carry on regardless. And it made me very bitter, twisted and angry, even though it was what we agreed on (understandable?). I had nightmares for years about X arriving on our doorstep and demanding to see his son. I would probably have ended up in jail for aggravated assault or something* but at the same time I couldn’t understand how someone would want nothing to do with a child he knew existed. I couldn’t understand how he couldn’t at least be curious.
But at the same time I was grateful to them all for leaving us alone.
Aaaand* here’s where I come to the puzzle.
After fourteen years, I have developed this horrible, nagging feeling and for months now I’ve been wondering if maybe I should contact X, if only to find out what he’s going to do if Damien ever decides to look him up, which I think is an inevitability. Damien and I have discussed this once or twice, and he knows that when he’s a grown up I will help him if he wants to find X, but not before then.
Now, do I want to look up X for me or for Damien? I admit, I am curious as to what he will say to Damien one day, and I want him to know what I have told Damien. I also want to know what’s been going through his mind for the last fourteen years.
I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about Damien knowing where he comes from. I would like him to see how much he looks like his father, to see that his gymnastics talent comes from that side of the family. I mean, technically, one whole half of his family is missing, he doesn’t know them. And that is my fault, I made that decision way back when, but I made it knowing that his paternal family didn’t want him at all, or even to know him. I made the decision knowing that my family wanted and loved Damien long before he was born, that they were excited to know what he would look like, they were more than prepared to support us, both financially and emotionally. It’s the biggest reason behind me deciding not to give Damien up, to keep him and raise him alone- that I had my family and my church behind me (and believe me we weighed up all our options).
I have to believe I made the right choice all those years ago.
But do I risk shattering any lovely illusions and fantasies that Damien may have built up about his father by introducing him to the real person? Do I wait until he decides he wants to meet this man? I’ve never told Damien they didn’t want him, I’ve never told him much about his father and his paternal family except to answer his questions when he asked them (as honestly as I could without being mean and nasty about X* as tempting as it was to just say he was dead).
This is quite strange- I haven’t even spoken to my folks about this yet.
So, that’s what’s been on my mind.
What say you?
It always gives me a shiver when I see a cat seeing what I can’t see. Eleanor Farjeon.
There Is Never An Excuse
One in three is not a statistic - one in three is a crying shame.