Can't wash her hands of dad's soap opera
DEAR AMY: My dad and I have a mostly estranged relationship. He was absent most of my life, and now we communicate only through an occasional text message. He is now married to wife No. 3, who, it turns out, had an affair and at 46 became pregnant with another man's baby. My father and she separated but have reconciled and have decided to raise this baby together (my dad is 63), along with the man she had the affair with. I told him I respected his decision. I only met his wife once years ago. I'd like to visit my dad with my children. They have asked about him and despite the lack of relationship, I still love him and would like him to know his grandchildren. However, I really don't want anything to do with her or this child. I don't want to have to explain the whole thing to my kids. I think this will offend my dad, as he takes his marriage vows very seriously from a religious perspective. (He annulled the marriage from my mother and made his current wife get two annulments before they could marry.) Am I out of line to ask to see only him when I visit?
DaughterDEAR DAUGHTER: Your father can't take marriage vows all that seriously if he is on his third marriage, but regardless -- he is embracing the existence of this child and is helping to raise it, which is the right thing to do, especially seeing as how the child's mother is his wife.
So you come from a messed-up family. Join the club.
You are responding to the confusion and complication by essentially trying to erase an entire person -- a child who has done nothing to deserve being shunned or denied by you or anyone else. The child does have a biological father and it also seems right for this man to have a hand in raising the child.
You should be truthful with your children, despite how painful or embarrassing this is for you. You can certainly ask to see your father alone, but don't be surprised if he doesn't agree to this condition.