Chapter 41, april
“Let the rain wash away the pain of yesterday.”
During the past three years, our phones had shared several conversations. The recipients on either end of the calls had heard laughter, tears, naughty words, threats, promises, and screams. In the hundreds of hours of documented and recorded conversations, none had been like the one I was experiencing in that moment.
Although I still remained skeptical, I could feel God’s work being done. Our prayers were being answered, but they were at the expense of someone else’s heartbreak…someone I would grow to love deeply.
While it would have been easy to find joy in the pain of the person that I felt had hurt me, that was not my first thought. The woman on the other end of that call was reaching out for help…and I was willing to give her that and so much more.
The conversation began with Loren explaining that she was not sure why she was reaching out to me. There were several other family members or friends she could have called on, but she chose me. Loren revealed that I was someone that had never given up on her, no matter how hard she tried to push me away. When she needed someone the most, it was me that came to her mind. I appreciated her vulnerability, and in return I offered her my strength.
I could not help but wonder if it was a manipulations technique, or if her intentions were true. I had to believe that she would never confide in me the things she began to tell me, if she were not being genuine. What came out of her mouth next left me in utter shock and disbelief.
Loren confessed that she was essentially homeless; she had been kicked out of her home with no place to go. She knew that if John were to find out, it would be the nail in her hypothetical coffin. In that moment, the most heartbreaking concept was that she had essentially lost hope and faith in humanity.
How could the man that she had given so much of herself to, throw her and her children’s belongings onto the front yard. The house that she had worked so hard to make into a home, her safe place, the place she had begun to make precious memories with her children, was nothing more than an obscure thought.
What I found shocking was the admission that Loren had seen the ending of that relationship coming for quite some time. She confessed that things had been rocky for a while, but she was too ashamed to admit it.
See, the man that she had fallen in love with turned out to be much different than he portrayed himself to be in front of others.
This man found it difficult to accept the fact that Loren would be co-parenting with John and I for the rest of her life. He also became extremely insecure towards the aspect of any sort of relationship – be it good or bad – that Loren attempted with John.
Her boyfriend did not appreciate that Loren’s children had an amazing father, and that role was filled. He was merely asked to be supportive of her parenting decisions and not necessarily involved in creating or carrying them out. I imagined that to be due to the fact that he was not a parent himself, therefore it was quite difficult to navigate that situation.
When Loren began describing the details of the abuse she had succumbed to, it brought me back to a very dark time in my own life. Anger arose in me as I assured her that what he was portraying to her was NOT love, and she did not deserve to be treated that way. As she continued to recall specific instances, tears streamed down my face.
Not only was I worried for her, but when rage takes over someone, they are no longer in control of their actions.
What if our children were hurt in a fit of anger?
What if they had witnessed the holes being punched in the walls, the horrible things being said about their mother, their belongings being tossed out the front door?
The final piece of the puzzle that left me speechless was when Loren disclosed to me that she just took a pregnancy test…and it was positive. Our relationship was merely just beginning, but in that moment, I assured her that she was not in this alone.
I promised to stand by her through it all and support any decision she made.
My words seemed to calm her in a sense. I think she finally felt that she had an ally, someone that she could count on and trust.
Loren was concerned that if John knew all of this, he would retract the current agreement and proceed with gaining full custody of the boys. She also knew that given the recent information and change of circumstances, he would likely be granted that and much more.
She asked me one simple request, “Please do not take my boys.”
I assured her, as a mother, that was the last thing I wanted to see happen. Although I knew that I could not force John to do anything he was not comfortable with, I would do my best to make sure our boys did not lose their mother.
I would be lying if I said that there was a small part of me that wanted to tell Loren to figure it out for herself. As much comfort as I found in always helping anyone in need, she had hurt me. She had hurt the man I loved so much. For all the times she refused to communicate with me, all the times she reminded me that she and John created those boys and not myself, I wanted all those years of indignation and frustration to rise to the surface.
No matter how hard I tried to be angry, the only emotion I could muster…empathy.
Instead of revenge, I chose the high road. I chose to be the person I would hope someone would be for me if I were ever in her position.
I chose forgiveness.
I chose love.
I chose kindness.
Once I was able to process the information Loren had given me, I knew that a conversation with John was in order. Afterall, he would be the one making the final decision. He and I both felt the same way about Loren’s boyfriend, so I did not have high hopes on how my findings would be received.
John managed things much better than I imagined. His main concern was that the boys schedule and routine did not change. He also requested that the boys remain with us until Loren was more settled.
I reached out to Loren to let her know that John was willing to work with her, not against her. She was just as shocked as I had been.
Loren had one more request; she asked that I accompany her to search for an apartment. I agreed, and we met the following day to tour a unit she was interested in. It was a one-bedroom apartment, but it was within her budget and was available immediately.
The next day, Loren advised me that her ex-boyfriend agreed to allow her to pick up some of her belongings. However, she was anxious about the encounter and did not feel comfortable going alone. When I hung up the phone, I went to John and explained the situation.
His response, “Exactly how is that our problem?”
To which I explained, “We are a family, and those are our children. The most important thing in all of this is their safety and well-being. In order for us to keep their routine intact, we need to make sure their mother has a stable home for them to go to.”
Reluctantly, John understood and agreed that we would help Loren.
While Loren was at work, John and I arranged the rental of a moving truck, went to her previous home and loaded all of her belongings, then drove to her new apartment and unloaded them. This was not only a fresh start for Loren, it was a new beginning for us as co-parents. Trust was being built between us all, and an unbreakable bond was forged between her and I.
Some say that moving is one of the hardest times of your life, but this move brought so much joy and happiness to our family. It gave us all a chance to start again and rebuild what was once broken beyond repair.
Everything happens for a reason, and that move was just what we needed to prove that we could come together – no matter what.
It was proof that we are a family, and our bond will withstand any storm life throws at us.
It was proof that blended really is better.