Dear Prudence again on another step-sister scenario
Seems like more and more step-families are asking for advice from advice columnists lately. I like this trend!
Q. My Stepdad's Daughter: My mom and stepdad have been married since I was 8. My own father had passed away a few years prior. My stepdad certainly isn't perfect but he tried to be there to provide a fatherly role for me and my siblings. But lately, there is something I just can't get out of my head—his only biological child, "Gina" who is just a few months older than me. My stepdad gave up his parental rights to Gina after he divorced her mother. They don't keep in close contact and have only seen each other a handful of times in the past twentysomething years. He didn't even attend her wedding. I visited my stepdad's sister recently—she has kept in close contact with Gina over the years and was telling me stories and showing me some photos of her family with Gina. Since then, I haven't been able to shake this overwhelming sadness I feel for Gina. My father isn't part of my life because he can't be, but Gina's dad chooses not to be part of her life and I can't even begin to imagine how painful that would be. I feel like I should talk to my stepdad and encourage him to reconnect with her, but I don't know if that's my place or how I should even go about it. Do you think I should try to talk to my stepdad about it or just let it go?
A: What a sad twist that a man gives up rights to be a father to his own child, then steps into that role for someone else’s children. I am hoping that Gina herself got a stepfather who loved and helped raise her. If that is the case, and she didn’t even invite her biological father to her wedding, it could be that Gina feels her life is complete and just doesn’t want to start trying to build a relationship with a stranger. It’s great that you have a good relationship with your aunt and she has a close one with Gina. So I think you should ask her to be a go-between. First find out what your aunt thinks about trying to reconnect your stepfather and Gina. It could be that she knows Gina doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. But if that’s not the case, ask your aunt if she’d ask Gina how Gina would feel if you encouraged an attempt at their reconnecting. It speaks highly of you that you have such empathy for your unknown stepsister. But it could also be that Gina likes things just the way they are.
Q. Distracted Lawyer: Hi, Prudence, I'm the easily-distracted