Sunday, June 08, 2008

School Charts and Family Trees

The following post is the text of a message I left on the Yahoo DI Dads Discussion group this evening:

It's been a while since I have posted and I admit I have not been checking in as much as I used to due mostly to the fact that being aDI Dad has not realy been in the forefront of my mind lately. My mind has been busy with just being a dad, husband, breadwinner etc.

Anyhow tonight I was reading to my 6 year old before bedtime and we ran out of books to read so I grabbed the "Let Me Explain" book byJane Schnitter. This is the book where the story is told by a 7 or 8 year old girl how she was born using donor insemination.

I am not exactly sure why I chose this book but I have to think it had something to do with a sibling / family addition chart his kindergarten class had in school where I noticed a few days ago that my son had added a male sibling where he does not have one. I had asked him at school how he came to have a brother when he knows its just him and his sister and he merely indicated he had wanted a brother. I told him if anything he could include his female halfsibling as she really does exist. I realized however to include her would require using the term "sister" which in our home we do not use to describe this little girl. I did not say that to him but Iwondered if he would make the connection.

After reading the "Let Me Explain" book which spoke about how the little girl got her genes from her mom and some from the donor I decided to draw out a family tree so my son could see the relationship between himself and others in our extended family. As an aside I have to say that we use the term "donor" in our housewhere there are folks out there that use less clinical words. It is how we started and how the kids know the man whose sperm helped create them. My son also has a problem saying or remembering the word "donor" so occasionally he will say "owner" (how I hear it) which he finds amusing as to him he is only saying "onor" and gets embarrased by his forgetting the "d".

Anyway we drew out the chart including the donor and my children's half sibling as well as her mom (they are a single mommy family). We also included my sister and her family as well as my wife's brother and his family. We also drew out all of the individuals who reside in my children's grandparent's generation and their parents as well. Let's just say the page was getting a little crowded.

While drawing the chart for purposes of showing shared genes I drew the lines to my kids as solid lines from my wife and the donor and a dotted line from me to the kids. My son later drew over this dotted line as a solid line conecting me to him and his sister. I will admit I smiled at that not truly knowing what made him do that or really why. I can say to myself he did it to make me more real but (1) I know I am real so that thought is silly and (2) I have no idea what he was thinking and I should have asked to see what he would say but the moment passed quickly.

When we finished the rough hand sketched chart he asked if he could bring it to school and I paused and stated that we should wait before he does that. He did not push the issue so I was not required to say why or why not I had made that decision which I was happy about as I was not ready to answer it myself despite the fact that some of the other parents already know our story.

All in all an interesting week as I had not been thinking about thisstuff too much lately.

I hope everyone is well and not getting a Summer cold which I nowhave and truly is annoying in 100 degree temps in the NYC subwaysystem.



ColourYourWorld said...

Great to hear from you Eric. I love the fact that he drew over the line, almost like a reinforcement, that was a lovely story.

Enjoy your summer.

DE-Dad said...

I'm happy to see your post. I had been meaning to ask you if the Family Tree Maker software had ever added the option for donation. I guess not.

DI_Dad said...

Vee - Regards to you and Max !

DE-Dad : I have to admit it's been a couple of years since I have actively used their software so I am unsure what their package can and cannot do at this time. I need to look into this as I am I guessing the system would require me to list the donor as "father" which is not how we refer to him in our house but is obviously biologically correct. I went to their website and it appears that the s/w has drastically changed since I had used it last.

katty said...

Hey Eric,
Just wanted to say hello. Miss your posts. Hope all is well. Your son's line drawing is v. sweet.

Bea said...

Get well soon.

Love the story about the line. I guess, would like to think, that's just the way it makes sense to him in his head.