Los Angeles Times

Tell son who his father is

- Email questions to Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickins­on.com.

Dear Amy: I have been married for 52 years.

Thirty-six years ago, I had a child who is a product of an affair. I had two boys already when he was born.

My husband was away during a military tour when the affair happened.

I wanted a divorce, but my husband fought for our relationsh­ip. He accepted this child as his own.

When this son was 2 years old, his biological father died in a car accident. He never saw my son.

We never told my son that my husband is not his biological father. I feel guilty about not telling my son, but my husband is against it.

My two other sons know, but he does not know. He is now 36 years old. Should I tell him?


Dear Wishing: Yes, you should tell your son the truth about his parentage and give him informatio­n about his biological father.

The rest of the family knows this essential truth about your son, and he deserves to know the truth too.

People who learn the truth of their DNA later in life sometimes report that it helped to fill in gaps or answer longstandi­ng questions about their identity.

Dear Amy: “Arlene” is my close childhood friend. When her daughter “Lena” was born, I was asked to be Lena’s godmother.

I was thrilled. For years, I made the effort to celebrate Lena’s special days, to visit and to be in touch regularly, even after they relocated to the opposite coast.

Once Lena graduated from college, I tried to meet up at least once a year.

I never had children, so this was important to me.

Lena had a baby last year with her partner. She and her little family have now relocated to be near Arlene. Before they left, I visited her and the baby and sent gifts.

Arlene and I don’t talk regularly but we send texts on birthdays and exchange Christmas cards.

Last year, Arlene’s holiday card came with the note: “It will be a milestone celebratin­g Lena’s wedding.”

I’m extremely disappoint­ed not to have been invited! Lena is in her 30s now, and thus a mature adult.

I’m disappoint­ed and hurt that neither of them thought to call me or send a specific note to at least offer the “immediate family only” excuse as a reason not to extend me an invite.

How should I handle this? I do think it’s important that they know I was hurt, but I want to set a noble example.

Should I send a card/gift for the wedding and wait to address this a few weeks after the event? Should I do this by phone or by letter?

Should I address them both individual­ly, or just contact the mother?

Or do I just ignore the wedding, let it go, and assume that my role and the friendship are done?

Godmother Dilemma

Dear Godmother: Lena is your goddaughte­r. She is the one getting married. She has dropped the ball.

The role of godparent is sometimes tenuous, as relationsh­ips wax and wane. You’ve been a great, involved godparent for over 30 years, and you’ve kindly extended your generosity to the next generation (Lena’s child).

If you feel it is important to let these women know they’ve hurt your feelings, you should tell them (individual­ly) in a brief note.

Yes, it would be nice to send Lena a card congratula­ting her on her marriage, but you shouldn’t combine the two messages.

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