Ryan and I talk all the time, so what in the world could I ask him that I didn't already know the answer to?
Somehow I found new questions to ask and Ryan shared new information, like his first impression of me. Heartwarming?? Yeah right.
Ryan shared quite openly what it was like to date a single mom and his relationship with Austin and Ryanne today. He also shared the challenges of being the spouse of someone who's struggling with grief.
Ryan's a great man who can be a little more on the private side, so it is my pleasure to share a glimpse of the Ryan I am blessed to know and love.
Jill: You read my blogs, right?
Jill: What blogs have been your favorite?
Ryan: I like anytime you talk about your feelings and issues you are facing, whether that’s dealing with grief, with Ryanne or Austin or any of these other challenges. It seems like you use your blog as a means by which you talk through your feelings. I also liked your blog when you had your tribute to Kimmy for her birthday.
Jill: So honey, our anniversary is coming up. How many years will it be?
Ryan: It will be our third official anniversary. Austin was six or seven on our first official date, so I think it’s been eleven or twelve years we’ve been together.
Jill: I think it’s been eleven years.
Ryan: So yes, eleven years.
Jill: Do you remember when we first met?
Ryan: I do.
Jill: When did we first meet?
Ryan: When you interviewed me in Jeff’s Bellevue office in the front conference room.
Jill: What did you think of me when we first met?
Ryan: I don’t really remember having an impression of you, per se.
Jill: That’s not very nice. You didn’t think I was awesome?
Ryan: I thought you were perfectly nice.
Jill: While we were in that interview did you think we’d be married one day?
Ryan: Heck no!
Jill: So what if I had asked you in the interview, “Do you like kids? Do you like dogs?” what would you have said?
Ryan: This is the weirdest interview I’ve ever been on.
Jill: It was several years of working together before we even started to think of dating.
Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. I knew you as one of my major client’s sisters. I wasn’t thinking of you as potential dating material.
Jill: So why did it take you so long to commit to being with me?
Ryan: That’s a good question. It wasn’t that I was reluctant, I was hesitant. I knew that I couldn’t casually date you. I knew that you had kids. You had an established life.
We were at different points in our life. You had been married. You had kids. I was single. I wasn’t thinking immediately about children. My apprehension stemmed from, here’s this woman with this life who’s going along on this particular path, and I wasn’t exactly sure how I would mesh into that lifestyle and path. None of this had to do with you or the impressions you gave me. It was more me working through my own issues of what it would mean to have a serious relationship with a single mom.
Jill: But I reeled you in.
Ryan: Yeah you did.
Jill: I put my hooks in you.
Ryan: Yes, your wireless kept mysteriously breaking.
Jill: Yeah, that was pretty mischievous.
Jill: We heard from the kids how they experienced the divorce, but what was your experience dating a single mom with two young kids?
Ryan: A few things. Number one, like I said, I wasn’t exactly sure how I would be able to fit into a preexisting family. You and the kids were this familial unit already.
Then, of course, you hear of difficulties with divorced families and splitting time between the parents and how all that works out. Trying to determine what’s best for the kids, where your priorities would be with your relationship with me, your relationship with the kids, relationships with the exes; those were all big question marks in my mind. I didn’t have any idea how those things would work themselves out. I really didn’t.
Jill: How is your relationship with the kids today?
Ryan: For a long time when you and I first started dating I saw the kids as little extensions of you. They were this different aspect of you. I didn’t really see them as individuals. I saw them as offshoots of you. They were Jill’s kids who did this, or Jill’s kids who did that.
That changed and it has continued to change as the kids have developed really unique and distinct personalities. I couldn’t love them any more than I do. I’m so proud of the things they’ve been able to accomplish. I’m REALLY excited for Austin to go to college and have all those experiences. I’m super excited for Ryanne and her adventures with all of her skills with singing and acting. Each of them has so much talent. It’s really really fun to watch them blossom and grow. That’s not necessarily changed my love, but it’s definitely added richness to my relationship with them.
Jill: I was hesitant and unsure how you would fit in as well.
Jill: But you have far exceeded any expectations I had for you to be their dad. I couldn’t be happier with what kind of father you are to them.
Ryan: Ahh…that’s nice of you to say.
Jill: Did you ever imagine loving a dog as much as you love Milo?
Ryan: That one I can easily say ‘no’. I’ve always liked animals but I never really thought of myself as a dog person.
Jill: You don’t just love Milo; you love dogs.
Jill: Tell me about your favorite charity and why they are important to you.
Ryan: I don’t remember how I found out about Old Dog Haven. It might have been a random Facebook post, but the more I found out about them the more I appreciated what they do.
Old Dog Haven is a charity that supports elderly dogs, dogs who may, for whatever reason, come to a shelter and might not be adoptable because of their age or have significant medical issues that require costly surgeries. There’s any number of reasons these dogs wind up where they do. Old Dog Haven takes these dogs out of shelters, sets them up with foster and final refuge homes. The homes work with Old Dog Haven and are experienced to help the elderly dogs and dogs who require special care.
Old Dog Haven will cover all medical fees which run upwards of $40,000-$50,000 per month. They cover this either through donations or donated time from veterinarians. Yeah, Old Dog Haven is my favorite charity and I have a huge soft spot for them.
Jill: Me too. I love that these dogs get to spend their final days in a loving home versus on a cold cement floor.
Ryan: Sometimes their stay isn’t that long. These are elderly dogs and sometimes they are only in a final refuge home for a few weeks or even a few days. They do get to be in a home full of love and warmth with someone who loves and cares for them.
Jill: That is one of the ways in which you’ve changed since we started dating. I’ve made you a dog lover.
Ryan: Yes, yes you have.