Tonight, something inside of me shifted.
Over the last few days, I have been mourning the absence of my children's dad in their lives, as he has now chosen to ignore each of their birthdays and Christmas and Easter, some of the most significant dates and holidays in the year. I found myself thinking he should be here, or even send a card. I found myself wondering if the children even cross his mind.
As I was looking through some photos tonight, I felt tears trickle down my cheeks. I had to stop and process.
What I found surprised me. I wasn't sad.
I was overwhelmed with gratitude.
While it is utterly heart breaking to know he walked away and my children are left to miss him and wonder where he is or if they will ever see him again, I realized how incredibly blessed we are that God has given them a group of "other guys" in their lives.
I know, as do my children, that these men will never be a replacement or substitute for their dad. But, they are so fortunate to have these men in their lives, helping to show them their value, that they are wonderful, important people who are worthy of being loved. These men have chosen to step into my childrens' lives, or chosen to remain in their lives despite the fact that they could have walked away alongside their father because they were first connected to me through their father. There are also equally important men that are my family, who choose to love them so deeply and dearly as well. All of these men invest their hearts into my children, creating lasting, positive memories, hugging and holding them, helping them feel safe and secure, and letting them see what good men are like and how good men treat people.
And even if some day, for some reason, these men are no longer in our lives, the fact that they are here right now, and have been during such tribulations, and during the childrens' early formative years means the impact is significant enough to last a lifetime.
I have known these men love my children, and they love me, and they want us to be happy. I have known it, and I have felt it to be true.
But tonight, it shifted, and the impact is deeper and greater than I was able to comprehend or allow myself to feel before. Tonight, it overwhelmed me.
Thank you, other guys, for what you have given to me and my children by choosing to care so deeply. You know who you are, I hope.