LETTER’S TO RYDER
year is 2021
I got a notice in the mail saying that my dad was taking me onto the Dr. Phil show and I wasn’t really sure why. We had just gotten back from the competition where we won first place and I was being pounded with this. The show wasn’t for another few months so I had time to prepare but why was he taking me to the show?
*FEW MONTHS LATER 30 WEEKS PREGNANT*
I hadn’t seen my dad and I was actually really nervous to be on the show. Jared was here with me so that if I needed him. I was wearing a blue dress with stripes of white down it. I was wearing a pair of white heels. Thank god that the only part of me that wasn’t swollen were my feet. Everywhere else was huge.
“Let’s meet Marks daughter, Ryan.” I heard and the door opened before I walked out. I greeted my step mother, my father and Dr. Phil. “Do you have any idea why you are here?”
“No. No idea.” I answered looking at Dr. Phil.
“You’re father wants to talk to you about your problems.” I looked at him confused.
“My problems?” I asked leaning in a little thinking I had misheard what he had said.
“Yes. Your father here told me that you have depression and you might kill yourself.” He answered. “Is that true?” He asked and I shook my head laughing.
“I would never! He doesn’t know anything. I’ve barely talked to him.” I answered and it was his turn to look confused. “The last time I saw him I was telling him I was pregnant. I haven’t spoken to him since.”
“I see. And before you told him that?”
“My high school graduation.” I answered. “And before that, at the batting cages. He left me when I was around four.”
“That’s not true!” He shouted and I sat back a little. I was scared. I didn’t want him to hurt me.
“When did you divorce mom?” I asked him.
“2003.” He said.
“I was about to turn four. You left, you never came back.” Of course I saw him when it came to sports but only because he was there for my brother’s and how could he not be there for me?
“Okay, my producers asked you a few questions. I’m not going to show the video but I want you to answer them in person.” Dr. Phil said and I nodded my head. “Has your father ever mentally or physically abused you?” He asked and I nodded my head. “Which?”
“I played softball since I was five up until I was fifteen. He pushed me so hard. I had eating disorders. I was super skinny. And then my mother died and he didn’t really care. I had to make the decision to take my mother off those machines and I watched her die. He wasn’t there to take care of me.”
“Are you scared of him?”
“Very. I used to fear that he would get super drunk and he would beat me. When he just yelled at me I was afraid.” I answered.
“Because I don’t want him to hurt me.”
“You’re a slut! And a liar!” He shouted.
“How am I slut?” I asked. I was actually so mad.
“You’re pregnant and not married you must be a slut!” He shouted.
“How long have you been with this one?” I knew that he had been divorced many times and remarried many times so I assumed she was already my stepmother.
“Four months.” He answered.
“And are you married?”
“Yes.” I rolled my eyes.
“I’ve been with the same person for seven years. So what we got pregnant before getting married! I am engaged to him and we will be getting married next year! I stayed with him for seven years! You didn’t even stay with me for that long.” I said back to him. Dr. Phil let us fight it out.
“Are you calling me a slut?” The lady asked.
“Of course I am. Do you have any kids? How many men have you been with?” I asked her crossing my arms over my bump and staring at her right in the eye.
“I have two kids and another on the way.” She said and I nearly choked on my own spit. She looked young enough to have a kid but my dad was kinda old. Why would he do that? He was 65 years old. My child is going to have an aunt or uncle younger than them.
“You’re pregnant?” Dr. Phil asked and she nodded her head before holding her chin high. “How do you feel about this?” He asked me.
“I think it’s gross. He has three kids, probably more, that he has already left. I don’t see why she thinks he’s going to stay with her.”
“How old are you?” He asked me.
“I’m going to be 23 in a few months.” I answered.
“And how old are you two?” He asked my dad and the tramp.
“65.” My dad answered and I rolled my eyes. I didn’t want to hear the next answer.
“28.” She answered and I nearly choked. Is he serious? She was six when I was born. That’s disgusting. She’s older than my brothers.
“What the hell is a 28 year old doing with a 65 year old?” Dr. Phil asked raising his voice and I rolled my eyes. “Are you actually going to take care of this baby?” He asked my father who nodded his head. “Are you going to be part of the babies life?” He asked me and I just laughed.
“Hell no. I have a life of my own. One that I’m going to live right. I don’t need trouble in my life.” I had a pretty good life. I have a nice apartment, a great fiance. A baby on the way. A wedding to plan. I had an amazing writing job, a job that I have always wanted. I was living my life right I knew that for a fact. “I’m finally okay with every bad thing that has happened in my life and the only way I will let him back into my life is if hell freezes over.”
“Are you prepared for a baby?”
“I’ve never been more prepared for something in my life.” I answered and the crowd cheered. “How could you possibly not be ready for a baby? I’ve seen 16 year old’s do it better than 30 year old married women.”
“Are you prepared for the baby?” She wasn’t even showing but I knew that they weren’t going to be prepared.
“I’m only a few weeks so we have plenty of time.”
“When did you start preparing for this baby?” He asked.
“The second I found out I was pregnant. We started making room in the house. Throwing away things that we knew would hurt the baby when she got older.” Yes we were having a girl and her name was going to Ryder Grace. We had decided on that name after a big fight if the middle name should be Marie or if it should be Grace. I didn’t want her middle name to be the same as mine but Jared did. After we let the team pick and mostly everyone voted for Grace so here we were with the name Ryder Grace.
“What was your childhood like?” He asked me.
“I spent most of it at friends houses. My mom was always drunk or out somewhere. I basically lived with other people up until I was about twelve when she met a guy named Paul. After that she got her act together and then she died when I was fifteen and I moved in with my boyfriend.”
“You were fifteen and living with your boyfriend?”
“I had nowhere else to go and our mother’s were friends. She took me in.”
“I’m sorry I just want to congratulate you on making to an adult before you got pregnant.” He said and I smiled. Of course we didn’t do it exactly right but we made it seven years without a mishap of getting pregnant. “Did you ever even have a scare?”
“Once. But it was stupid anyway.” I answered. We did have once scare but I think it was karma getting back at us for scaring Heather into thinking that we were pregnant when we really weren’t.
“How many scares have you had in the last four months?”
“At least three before we were actually pregnant.” She answered. I could tell Dr.Phil was done with these two. I was done with them to be honest.
“I’m just… I’m not even going to go there. What do you think of her Fiance?” He asked my dad and my dad just laughed.
“He’s a prick. He has tons of tattoos and piercings. He’s going to leave her and break her heart.” I rolled my eyes. Jared would never leave me here to raise this baby on my own unless he died even then, he would feel horrible about it. Of course we were not perfect and we had issues but we were there for each other when we needed each other.
“Is this true?” He asked.
“He no longer has piercings but he can’t really get rid of the tattoo’s.” I answered.
“Well, let’s bring him out because I’m sure he has some more intelligent words for you.” Jared came walking out and he looked very attractive. Maybe it was the hormones speaking but I could barely hold myself together looking at him. He sat next to me and didn’t even look at my father. “How many times have you met this man?” Dr. Phil asked him.
“And what did you think?”
“I knew to stay away and to protect Ryan from him.”
“Are you going to let him around your daughter?” He asked.
“No. I would never. He left Ryan alone and I believe that he would leave my daughter too. I saw what that did to Ryan and I’m never going to put my daughter through that.”
“So you would never leave your daughter?”
“Hell no! And even if something between me and Ryan happened and we split I would be there for every doctors appointment. I would be there when she was sick. For soccer games. I will be there for my little girl because that’s what dads are suppose to be there for.” He answered and I couldn’t help the tears that sprung in my eyes.
“What do you guys do? Where do you work?” Dr. Phil asked me and Jared and Jared nodded at me to answer first.
“I work for a writing company and in my free time I work for a cheerleading gym.” I answered. Jared was next to answer.
“I create and make skateboards and clothes and stuff like that.” He answered.
“How much money do you both make?”
“I make roughly 800 dollars a week.” It was true, I did. Jared made a little less than I did but he also had to get his work out there a little more but he was getting there. That isn’t even counting how much we make at the gym.
“How much do you make?”
“I just retired so I’m not making anything.”
“How could you possibly retire while you have a baby on the way?” He asked and my dad just sat there.
“I retired before I knew she was pregnant.” He answered.
“ I still don’t see why a 65 year old is with a 28 year old. It’s kinda gross.” He said and I laughed before it wasn’t gross! It was disgusting! There should be some type of law against that. “Did you know that he had a family that he left behind?”
“I did.” She answered.
“Why would you start a family knowing that he left behind three kids? Right three?” He looked over at me and I nodded. “How old are your brothers?”
“Alex is 33 and Austin is 30.”
“Do they have families?”
“No.” I answered. My brother’s still acted like they were 21. They were drunk every single weekend and even when I went to tell them I was pregnant they were drunk. They probably don’t even know. I wasn’t sure why I had such a messed up family. All anyone ever wants growing up is a family that is together but mine couldn’t be apart anymore than it already is.
I all of a sudden got very emotional and tears starting pouring out of my eyes and I couldn’t find a way to stop them. Dr. Phil handed me a few tissues but I knew I was going to need more. He called a commercial for me to calm down and the camera’s weren’t ever rolling but he asked me why I had cried.
“All anyone ever wants growing up is a happy family and I’m 22 and starting my own family and I still don’t have that happy family. I cannot picture my daughter ever living like that. I don’t want anyone to have to go through what I did.” I answered. I would never allow my little girl to be unhappy. Of course there was going to be times when she didn’t get what she wanted but I would never let a day go by where I didn’t tell her I loved her or that she was beautiful.
Growing up and in my teen years I thought I was fat and ugly. My dad may have been the root of that problem and then I met Jared and he called me beautiful every day and I finally began to believe it. It took me seven years to realize that I am beautiful. It will take my daughter three seconds to know that she is beautiful. She will not live the life that I lived.