My high school first love and I had a deep relationship into our 20s. We broke up and she ended up marrying my friend but named her two kids after my first and middle names. At her request I became the "cool" godfather who’d visit the family regularly.
Ten years later, they broke up. She asked if we could start up again. I was newly single then. Unfortunately, she died in a car accident a few months before our “trial period.” The kids returned to their dad and I was cut off from them.
When older, they found me and reconnected as they’d learned the full story about our relationship, mine with their mother.
Ten years later, they’ve asked me to formally adopt them according to their late mom's wishes. Neither their father nor my current wife are pleased.
I'm torn between love for them, memory of their mother, potential problems with my marriage and my old friend. But the kids (late-20s) really want this, and to honour their mother. What's your take?
Love Story to Honour
The regard of these adult children is hugely gratifying for you, since you remained so important in their lives.
Then, their mother’s death changed everything.
Their adult desire to be formally adopted by you is very touching but not necessarily wise for them or you.
Their father raised them after the tragedy, so that connection must’ve had some positive factors. And, it’d take a very generous wife to suddenly become “stepmother” to these grown-ups.
Yes, they can and should honour their beloved mother on her birthday. Accompany them, and also invite their father to attend.
These adults are seeking comfort, and they should be reassured at this emotional time that you and, hopefully, their father, are still an important part of their lives.
My wife and I have four grandkids from our married son who’s 41. Our unmarried son is 34, and has no children.
We love seeing the children - twin girls and two boys. We have lunch together with them at our house every weekend, as their parents both work at home on weekends for extra income.
There’s no rift between our younger son and us. He’ll drop by some weekends to chat and joke with his nephews and nieces, always hugs us, then leaves.
Now into our mid-70s, my wife and I are writing our wills. We want to assure that our grandchildren will be able to afford higher education.
But while our younger son doesn’t have the costs of raising children, he doesn’t earn as much or as steadily as his brother.
Fortunately, he’s a known actor who sometimes gets parts in local plays and other productions. He’s always wished he could develop a career through theatre arts and film.
My wife and I want to show fairness in our wills. While we’ll definitely talk to a lawyer, we’d also like your relationship advice, since it’s equally a “family” question.
What’s A fair will?
A will is a legal document dealing with your existing assets and the custody or bequests to any minor children, which can include future education fees after your death.
You may also make a bequest to their parents, assigning them responsibility to invest the children’s fund and any proceeds towards their schooling.
But, since the younger son doesn’t have a steady job, leaving him money or assets for professional training, similarly shows the caring you and your wife feel about your family now, and for their future.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the father believing it’s “his business” to learn if his son, 36 and single, is gay (May 20):
“There is nothing wrong with being gay. This father was seeking to know if his son is gay.
“His ex-wife introduced the concept of shame into the conversation by saying it’s rude to ask. That’s a wrong assumption that it’s embarrassing to be gay.
“A better response would state love and acceptance. For example, ‘I hope you find a life partner soon. I don’t want you to grow old alone and bitter like your mother and me. It can be a man or a woman but I want you to be happy.’
“This son should be able to talk with his parents about his primary relationships without shame. It’s the duty of the parents to ensure their son knows he is loved and that it’s OK to be gay.”
Tip of the day:
When tragedy strikes and emotions are high, future decisions should be weighed very thoughtfully.