My sister who’s 38 and single, has had two children in the past four years and never told my mother nor me just who is the father of those kids. We both strongly believe that’s because the man is still married to someone else, not our sister!
Had our own beloved Dad not died five years ago, he’d never have let my sister get away with keeping this secret from us. And he would’ve had a lot to say to the man involved in this secret!
I did some sleuthing by talking to a former co-worker of my sister whom I happen to know. She said she and others have believed that the father had once also worked at the same company.
There’d been gossip over the years because suddenly she was pregnant (twice) but never said she had a partner nor mentioned having had in vitro fertilization with donor sperm nor any other pregnancy means such as a fertilized donor egg to any of her women friends at the office.
All my mother and I have been told is that she has two children, and over these four years she’s brought them to visit us every couple of months, but never stays more than an hour and won’t answer questions.
She says, “I’ve brought two healthy beautiful children into our family. You don’t need to know any more than that.”
I took her aside one day six months ago and said, “If the children’s father is married to someone else, you should be making sure he’s set up a fund for your children, separate from anything he’s arranged for children he may’ve already had.”
She dismissed me with, “That’s not your business.” Maybe so, but I worry about her and these two children, and also whether there’ll be more fatherless kids. When I asked, “Who’ll be responsible for them if anything happens to you,” she responded for the first time: “Their father will. He’s close to them.”
So now my mother and I know only that much. What do you think we should do regarding these youngest members of our family?
Uncomfortable Aunt and Grandmother
Back off from all questioning of your sister, and especially from any gossip with her past colleagues or and/or confidantes. This is her story to tell when it suits her and/or if it’s also best for the children to know (which they may, already).
Engage with the children in a caring way when you have the chance to see and be with them. Ask no questions, just be attentive and loving. You worry about their father’s level of involvement… but your own unbiased acceptance of them as they are is what will shape your relationship with them from childhood to future adults.
The same goes for your ability to keep a non-judgmental tie to your sister which is still a caring one, and the hopefully special relationship that your mother can have with her daughter, sharing the knowledge of raising young people.
Whoever their father is, the children know him and he’s part of their life. I have no doubt that more reassuring facts will be revealed in time. Let that happen naturally.
One thing’s been made evident: Your sister’s thoughtfully raising her two children and purposefully introduced them to you and her mother, because she ultimately trusts that you will both do the right thing and show them love.
FEEDBACK Regarding the issue of adult sibling bullying (February 21):
“As a frequent reader, if nothing changes in their sibling relationship, I strongly believe that the bullied sibling write a factual but polite/professional letter describing all of their concerns, the brother’s actions and planned actions.
“Having had experience with someone with “narcissistic character traits,” I have found that verbal discussions easily become “misunderstood” or “misinterpreted” and often “forgotten.”
“However, when placed in writing, the information is significantly more difficult to misunderstand or forget. Also, it becomes a more forceful wakeup call to the bully.
“I also suggest that the writer keep a copy of the facts readily available whenever planning to meet the bully. When discussions become testy, immediately refer to it.
“Hopefully, the brother only needs education and a reality check. Otherwise, the letter could be the starting point for future legal action, especially if it occurs on the letter writer’s property/home.”
Tip of the day:
Relationship styles and attitudes that suit some couples, don’t always suit other people’s social or moral judgements. The best reaction is to leave their personal business to themselves.