Monday, June 20, 2011

Thinking about birth mom v. birth dad

When we were driving around last night to get balloons to send off the girls' Father's Day wishes, the girls kept talking about sending a note to their birth parents, not to their birth fathers.  I threw out a question casually: "When you think about your birth family, who do you think of the most?"  Maya answered immediately -- "My birth mom."  She couldn't explain why, she just did.  I suspect it's because she's more familiar with what moms are, given our daddy-free family.

Zoe answered more slowly:  "I think of my birth dad the most because I don't have a dad.  And I don't have Grandpa, either."

That's a change in attitude for Zoe.  She hasn't really displayed all that much interest in her birth father.  Her acute grief and longing has been for her birth mother.  I always thought that as a daddy-less family my kids would be more interested in their birth fathers (as I said here), but that hasn't really played out until now.

I think Zoe's new interest in her birth dad is really connected to that last half of what she said -- "I don't have Grandpa, either."  When she was really little -- maybe 2.5 years old -- she quite consciously made Grandpa her daddy substitute.  She'd say, "I don't have a daddy, but I have a Grandpa; and he's like a daddy, and sometimes Mimi calls him Daddy."  All figured out, huh?  Now with no dad and no Grandpa, her birth dad seems to have grown in importance.


Linda said...

I rarely thought of my first Father when I was a kid, and it's ironic to me that he is such an important part of my life now.

Reena said...

Generally speaking, I think it is harder for kids to really get that "dad" helps create them. Women are the one's who get PG, carry the baby-- all the visibility of being PG, and then give birth. It is very concrete. Not so concrete is the dad's contribution.

I remember being a kid and wanting to know why my mom didn't marry a rich boy she mentioned dating. She mentioned that if she had, she wouldn't have me. I told her no, you would still have me, I would just have a different dad. I think I was 9 or 10 and I did know about the birds and the bees.