Life as the Child of “The Other Woman”

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University

One of the most interesting things about black people is that we are able to build love in some of the strangest situations. I had a friend who introduced me to her "grandmother." Now, although I thought this woman was actually a relative, she was not. She never married or had a child with my friend’s actual grandfather. Instead, she’d had a long-term affair with my friend’s grandfather and simply took care of his kids as her own. The man had a relationship with his wife and an even more meaningful relationship with the mistress, and everyone accepted this as a default state of being.

While the adults might be comfortable with what some would define to be an uncomfortable situation, no one ever really asks the kids what they think. The parents do their dirt for years, thinking that the kids are too young to understand what’s going on, then two decades later, the questions start coming. That’s when parents either find out that their kids understood more than they were letting on, or that their children’s perception of reality was quite different from that of either parent.

 

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Posted on September 16, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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