… the need to forgive

The month leading up to the surgery became a whirlwind of appointments, checking the boxes of the to-do list and preparations that no parent should ever have to face.  It also became a month of extreme fighting between her dad and I.  It became more about who could be present during the surgery and in the room with Elizabeth.  Threats of court orders came and went, the constant reminder to me of who she was continued to swirl around every conversation.  What he failed to remember was that I knew exactly who she was.

I was never going to accept her as the stepmother of my children.  EVER … She was a child, young enough to be my own.  I was being told that someone not even a teenager at the time of Elizabeth’s birth was going to be a part of a day that I had no idea if my child would live or die through.  And just like that the focus of what was ahead of us shifted from the needs of Elizabeth to a raging battle between her parents.  Lawyers, doctors and hospitals were all called for advice and the heads up.  It was a scene right out of a soap opera.

When he left I made my peace with that, he made it very easy for that to happen.  Do you want brutal honesty here?  I was actually very relieved.  We were destroying each other and taking our children with us down that destructive path.  I knew there was someone else, it’s what made it that easy for him to leave.  I think I could have accepted her and had said that I would for the sake of the kids.  I was going to be the ex-wife that got along with dad’s new girlfriend and these children were going be raised by both their parents even though we were no longer together.  It was going to be okay ….

I was wrong, so very VERY wrong.  It would take about a month before I figured it out.  It was one of those accidental things that you just stumble across and then wish you could turn back the clock so you didn’t really know.  It started off as little things, a comment here and there about what was happening in the house, a house that he no longer lived in.  Then a story here and there about how someone had called him but when those tales didn’t pan out I began to truly wonder who we shared that could be so deceitful and manipulative that they would do such a thing.  Between August 29 and November 26 there would be over 11,000 text messages and 700 hours of phone calls.  Don’t even attempt to do the math here, it’s almost a text every minute of every single day.  It would take over 500 pages to print out, not the context of the texts just the two numbers back and forth.

When I confronted her I was very calm about it, not in true Pam fashion at all.  Her reasoning behind it all … he’s worried about you and just checking on the kids.  She promised me she would never speak to or see him again.  Today they are married and she is expecting their first child.  I allowed her to stay in the house, it was for the kids.  I just couldn’t have their dad and their nanny ripped out of their lives within this short of time but it wouldn’t take long for me to finally say you have to go.  I would call Nathan just outside of the neighborhood and have him tell her to leave, I didn’t even want to see her.  The betrayal was the deepest I had ever felt.  I spent the next few years determined to hate, refusing to forgive and never trusted again.  She was everywhere.  Every pick up and drop off.  Doctor appointments, parent/teacher conferences, school activities.  And now … now she wanted to be front and center during a time that I needed her to just give me this time with Elizabeth.

So I had a choice here.  I could spend the rest of my life fueling this hatred or I could forgive.  It was just that simple.  I think we all find it much easier to hold on to anger and hatred towards those that have done wrong to us than to forgive.  Anger is the easiest emotion to claim.  So I wondered, how many times has God forgiven me?  I picked up my phone, it was 2 weeks before surgery and I asked her if we could meet for coffee.

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