Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: In response to Country Mom, I feel compelled to weigh in as a child who was caught in the middle of the ugliness of a divorce. If your intentions are truly to be a stepmom to these children, be patient. You may experience some resentment from the kids when everything falls into place, and I have to stress, as a child who was there, there is a good chance these kids may have heard words between the adults in their lives that no child should hear.
When my parents divorced, I was told my father was killed. I was too young to process what that really meant, but I knew he was gone and I couldn't hear his laugh anymore. To feel as a toddler what I now know is grief was not fair to me. I believed he was dead until I was 14. Learning he was alive, paid his child support on time every month, that I have siblings and that he tried hard to see me was like getting kicked in the stomach. There is no forgiving my mother for preventing the relationship I could have had with my dad. I was told a lot of nasty things about him because she is (not was, still is) unable to accept the fact he has other children and did her best to create and maintain a divide between us. His ex (my siblings' mother) is also guilty of this.
I remember every ugly and nasty word that was said because my mom is jealous, insecure and spiteful, and it was not fair to me. I cannot have a relationship with her because she is stuck in the past, and it is not my responsibility to fix her. Those are issues that are not mine to deal with, and I refuse to carry her garbage.
What matters to me today, as an adult, is I know the truth now. I have the relationship with my father that I wasn't allowed as a child. His guilt about not fighting harder to see me weighed so heavy on him, and I believe, with his other children.
Today I have the strong relationship with my dad I should have had before he was ripped from my life. I tell him I love him every time I talk to him and he doesn't place any of the problems they had on me. For me, this is now about my dad and I, and I love him just as I did when I was a child.
So parents, when you have kids, it is no longer about you. Don't place adult issues on children. It is about what is in the best interest of the child or children. Both parents playing key roles in their childrens' lives is really what kids care about, not who you're dating. -- Love My Pops, Winnipeg
Dear Love My Pops: It is shocking to see the lengths some divorcing adults will go to make things easier on themselves and punish their ex-mates. It is often done with total disregard for the feelings of the children. Yes, it is hard to see the face of the person you have split with immediately after breaking up in order to enable visitation, but you do it for the sake of the children. Telling you that your father had died was not normal behaviour, nor was your dad's not fighting harder to be known. It is so sad you had to go through that.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Thank you for the excellent column about searching for Métis roots. It is interesting to see how people with Métis heritage are becoming closer to their roots and culture as the years go by and the strength their heritage can give them.
The Centre du Patrimoine has a wonderful collection of records if your Métis ancestry happens to be French/Roman Catholic, but the Centre du Patrimoine can't always help those of Scottish/Protestant roots. They'd have to check Anglican and Presbyterian/United Church records in their respective church archives in Winnipeg, or, in the case of Anglicans, in the Anglican Archives in Brandon or Keewatin, Ont.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have some of the same, but also many different records from what appears on Ancestry.com. Their address is Familysearch.org. They also have a Family History Centre at 45 Dalhousie Dr. in Fort Richmond (call 204-261-4271 for hours). Keep up the good work! -- A Past President of the Manitoba Genealogical Society, Winnipeg
Dear Past Prez: And thank you and the Manitoba Genealogical Society for helping people to find their roots, which is sometimes a long and winding trail with missing sections along the way.
Please send your questions or comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or mail letters to Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6