Sage Advice: A Secret Grand-Baby
Should Grandma reach out to her granddaughter – even though her sons wants to keep her a secret?
Dear Amy: My divorced 45-year-old son, who lives 3,000 miles away, has been keeping a big secret from me for a year: He has a baby daughter and I have a baby granddaughter.
I received a letter with photographs (the resemblance is undeniable) from his then girlfriend, the baby’s mother, who is a lovely professional woman with her own business. She asks nothing of me or from me, and wants me to know I am welcome to visit the baby and be a part of the baby’s life – if I so choose (which I do).
She has asked my son to tell me about the baby several times. He refused, but she felt I had the right to know.
The pregnancy was a surprise to both of them. He wanted her to terminate the pregnancy, and she didn’t, so he walked out. He has nothing to do with the baby or her mother, who went through the pregnancy and childbirth alone.
I do not know if he contributes any child support.
Meanwhile, he has asked/pressured me three times to get rid of my generation-skipping trust … with no personal explanation. I did not.
I thought my son and I had a close relationship. I stood by him through several years of a nightmare divorce. He is my only living child (his brother passed away at 19). The baby is my only biological grandchild.
My former husband abandoned us; we don’t even know where he is. I am remarried to a wonderful man and through him I am blessed with a loving stepfamily (four grandkids).
My son has either no conscience or a selective conscience, and he is very self-righteous.
I fear the choice to acknowledge my baby granddaughter could end my relationship with my son. I am sad, angry, and ashamed of him.
How should I tell him that I know?
– Anonymous Gran
Dear Gran: You could send your son the text of this question, which seems to outline exactly how you feel, with a note in the margin: “FYI.”
I assume you plan to follow up and make contact with this child’s mother. I hope you do. This is a no-brainer. There is no need for you to try to explain your son’s behavior to the mother of the child – or discuss this further with your son until you are ready. You are both adults and you both have the right to engage in whatever relationships you want. He may eventually acknowledge the child and come around in some minimal ways, but, as the son of a father who abandoned him and disappeared from his own life, he might not ever step up.
You should assume that if you choose to acknowledge this child, your relationship with your son will be affected, but that is up to him.
In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068
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