To my beautiful, precious children, Amara and Timothy...
It is the night before Amara's third birthday. I remember my third birthday well; my parents, big sister, and my best friends, an older couple who were our neighbors came over to our house to celebrate. The fire truck I received as a gift that year is something I still have, though a little battered at this point, 24 years later. I remember this night one year ago well, too. Your daddy and I stayed up very, very late, putting together a wooden kitchen set for you. We wrapped it in paper and took photos of you as you came out to the living room in your footed jammies the next morning, saying "wow! wow!" in your big two-year-old way. It is a memory I cherish.
Tonight, Timmy is sleeping in his bed and Amara is snuggled into my bed, waiting for mommy as she sleeps. Tomorrow, you will both wake up, and Mommy will sing "happy birthday" in an over-exuberant, ridiculously happy way, and we will spend the day smiling and giggling and having a great time together, celebrating the life of Amara. But tonight, I am sitting at the computer, and there are tears running down my face. You both have improved so much--your behavior, your peacefulness, your joyfulness, since daddy stopped living here. The transition to a "split family" home has been beyond easy for us three, but I still worry about both of you. I know that a few birthdays from now, you will begin to ask questions, and I will need to have answers. These are discussions that I never thought I would have to have with my children, because divorce was never something I even thought remotely possible in my life. But here we are. And I want this to continue to be a positive thing for you and to never, ever become a negative thing. I believe that is possible. God is our Abba Father, our Daddy, and he is a wonderful, good, and trustworthy father. He will take care of us, and we will let him.
So, my darling children, tonight I write some answers for you.
First, know that you are extremely important to both mommy and daddy. If we thought it would be better for you that we are together, we would be together. Always know that we will never make a decision that does not affect you in a positive way. You are our first priority. You were a big factor in my decision to pack us three up and leave, in fact. There were a lot of bad things going on that scared you, and that I didn't want you to see or experience. It weighed very heavy on my heart, every day, that I was allowing my precious babies to be in a home that was, at that time, so unhealthy. There were a lot of anger problems, and a lot of problems stemming from your daddy not knowing how to love. It wasn't that he didn't love you or me, it's that he didn't really know how, I don't think. He does love you, and I don't want you to ever doubt that.
I prayed a lot about leaving, and God told me that morning that it was time and we were to go. Even after that day, daddy and I tried to "fix" things. So far, many things have changed, and some I'm not sure ever will. Even if it ever did change completely though, there were things that happened that hurt me very, very deeply, and because of that, mommy and daddy aren't able to be married. You deserve and need to see a positive marriage and relationship. We are working hard to model a positive relationship for you, and if God chooses (and I really think he will), you will also be able to see a healthy marriage in the future between me and the man God picks to be a second father to you, too. Don't worry, God only chooses the best, and I am listening to him 100%. You will never be second best.
Over time, you will probably begin to hear and understand what happened before Amara was 27 months old and Timothy 7 months old, for that is when we left. I don't want you to hate your father for this. I want you to understand that I do not hate him for these things. What matters is how much he loves you and how he treats us now. What matters is that he is thrilled to be your daddy right now, and nothing is ever going to take that away. When you hear these things, know that God allowed this to happen, and that while people are responsible for their choices, they hurt other people out of their own pain. It is ok to be sad when you hear these things, but you need to also have joy. Without having gone through these things, I wouldn't be the mother I am to you, and your daddy wouldn't be the father he is to you. There are many, many good things that came out of this whole thing, and the first is that you two were born. You make every moment entirely worth it. I cannot be sad or regret marrying your father, because I am so in love with both of you, and that marriage really shaped who I am. Your parents not being together was not only a good thing for you and me, but it was the best thing that may have ever happened to your daddy. Extremely difficult, but it entirely changed how he is as a father and as a person. I am proud of him.
You don't need to ever feel like you're in the middle, or that you have a horrible life because your parents aren't "together". Divorce is never God's first plan, but sometimes sin happens and it destroys God's first plan. The AWESOME news is that God can create a second plan that is just as good if not better than the first plan, and that is what He is going to do in our lives! He loves us so much, and when he doesn't choose to restore relationships, it's because he has something better for EVERYONE involved who is obeying him! God ONLY gives good gifts to his children who are obeying him. Trust that, my dear ones.
I love you. Period. And I will protect you and raise you up to be warriors for God and lovers of people. Amara and Timothy, you are so precious in the sight of God and your parents. God has blessed our family so very much in the last almost nine months, and he will continue to do so. Trust me when I say that this is the best thing that could have happened in our situation...you are both smiling again, and you are not going to hurt again.
I love you to the moon and back, and thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much,