Without Ryan, I would not have these boys of mine. Our marriage - actually our entire relationship - was very bad. It was tumultuous, scary, chaotic, frustrating, sad, and it had to end. There was no question about that then and there is still no question about that. It had to end to protect the boys and I from further damage. So, it did. For years and years and years, things did not get better. I remember talking to Sweet B Beck and telling her that I prayed for child support, I prayed that he would have a relationship with his children, and I prayed that he would be better. She told me that day that maybe I was praying for the wrong things. She challenged me to go home and pray that I would be able to forgive him. I did. And not that day, and not the next day, but over time I absolutely forgave him and I forgave myself too. This year has been a year of healing for both of us, I think.
Ryan's dad (his last family member) died over a year ago. How devastating that must have been for him. He was his caregiver for quite some time. Then, he was gone. Ryan has spent really quality time with his boys. He has really been more involved. He checks in on their homework and their activities. He is interested in when they go to the doctor and what is new with them. In June, he called me and told me to find an apartment and he would help me to pay the rent. And, he has. He has not missed a month since paying child support. What a blessing! This has never happened in 13 years.
We are able to have very civil, even friendly conversations now without any problem or discomfort or fakeness. He tells me often that he is thankful for the mother that I am to his children. I tell him the same. On Monday, I texted him to ask if he would like to spend Thanksgiving with us. I told him I would cook and he could come to our home, as I have to be to work at 5:30. He responded several hours later, telling me that he didn't want me to have to fix dinner, that he would take us to dinner and make sure I'd get back in time for work. So, next Thursday we are all going to Little America for Thanksgiving dinner. This will be the first time ever, literally ever, my children have had a Thanksgiving dinner with their father.
I am grateful for forgiveness. I am thankful that my children will have this opportunity. I am thankful that we have a good relationship and that we are able to raise our children with love.