When my little angel turned 9 and began asking me questions that demanded detailed answers about how children are born, I often wondered if I’ll ever be able to explain to her my relationships with some ‘very close women friends’.
As emphasis is frequently placed on father and mother, marriage and family it seemed like the whole universe centered around the love between a man and a woman. This was particularly pertinent as this was a stage where she prepared to enter puberty and ‘boys’ and ‘love’ were soon going to be an important part of her life.
As I delicately handled the various issues I was often puzzled about how I would explain to her that love of this kind can also occur between people of the same sex.
I had been a single mother for almost four years and the only ‘spouse like role’ in my life that my daughter vaguely understood, had been played by a woman (my best friend and ‘Masi’ for her). They shared a bond that made me happy and worried at the same time.
Lesbian relationships don’t always last.. Would she be hurt when we broke up? How would I replace her? These were some of my maternal concerns amongst many others at that time.
As dreaded, my relationship did not last and I saw my daughter’s heart hurt along with mine as my partner stopped visiting us on week ends. When I had divorced my husband much earlier, it had been easy as I would explain to her Mamma and Papa will not live together now and when she turned older I explained divorce to her.
However with the break up with my partner, it was harder as she could not understand why she missed ‘just a friend of mine’ so much.
Children do not realize when they begin treating your gay partner as family. I was going through heartbreak and constant questions about why ‘Masi’ stopped coming home did not make it easy.
I just knew I had to be strong and some how make my daughter detach herself from my ex partner..
My ex and I discussed this at length and there were some phone calls visits every now and then. But the most painful conversation was…
‘Darling, Masi has to travel abroad. She will eventually get married and go away one day, anyway. All girls do… so you have to let go’..
I hated lying but as my daughter’s innocent tearful eyes filled with hurt, confusion and questions, what choice did I have?
More to follow…