…in the strangest of places. If this story about Jason McElwain doesn’t bring a lump to your throat, then I don’t know what can.
Every once in awhile, whether I’m bored in a meeting or just plain tired, I’ll just randomly blog about whatever pops into my head and then post it once I get home from work. I’m working on only about 5 1/2 hours of sleep, so consider this the over-tired ramblings of a Canadian bald guy…
- I can’t stop yawning. It’s brutal because I’m busy…I’ve been non-stop all day. But there are pros and cons to working in front of a computer screen and staring at numbers all day, and one of the cons is that when you get tired it doesn’t matter how busy you are…you’ll ALWAYS continue to be tired when you’re sitting in a chair, staring at a computer screen, and working with numbers all day. It’s one of the few times that I really wish I had more movement to my job.
- I miss my camera. The last one broke while on a business trip to Toronto (where I got to visit my daughter for an afternoon) and the new one I got for Christmas is absolutely brutal. I don’t want to say anything too disparaging….but the word “cheap” comes to mind. Repeatedly.
- I think, at 36 years old, I might be lactose intolerant. I need to look into that…
- I had a really good conversation with a friend at work who got switched to another department last year. We were joking back and forth about something and then she made a reference to my “normally complaining” nature. I had to correct her and tell her that acting like that just wasn’t *me* anymore. I told her about my near nervous breakdown last summer (another blog for another day) and how viewing the world in a more positive light and being able to look at myself objectively have turned my life around. My “inner demons” are not only at bay, but have been defeated. She seemed impressed…maybe not so much at the thought that I might actually be a different person, but at least from the sense that I appear to be a different person. It’s all about baby steps, I think.
- I’m a reality show junkie. Last night I finished watching the second episode of Sober House, which was shocking. If ever you wanted to find a reason to NOT become an addict, it’s a show like this one where former Guns’n’Roses drummer Steven Adler is just totally f*cked up on heroin. Just wow. When I think about my kids and what to do when they hit the age where drugs and alcohol will be a choice for them, I think watching a show like this does everything but glamorize just how insane addictions can be. I would hope that a couple of episodes would be all that’s required in order to think “No” was the only option.
- And I’m looking forward to all-new seasons of Survivor and The Amazing Race (both starting in February). I also have a guilty pleasure in Rock of Love 3 (a rock star’s excuse to get laid with as many hot and/or slutty women as possible…as if he even needed a reason). I’m also waiting on Big Brother. I cannot wait for that to start-up in the summer again. But the big one? The Deadliest Catch. I’m counting down the days until that show is back on the air for another season (in April!!…ugh).
- I wanted to really dislike the new Kelly Clarkson song, especially where the lyrics were just so cheesy (seriously…”my life would suck without you”???). But I can’t…I catch myself humming it at the most inopportune times. Heh.
- The latest blog post by MattLogelin.com is pretty compelling. Just to read his memories flood back as he visits Mexico with Madelin brings a lump to my throat. That guy is an inspiration not only to single fathers everywhere, but to any single parent trying to make his way in the world. I’m so glad MSM introduced me to him.
- Overall, things are good right now. Finances are tough, but they’re tough all over. I’ve got a roof over my head…I’ve got some food on the table…work is good…my children are awesome…my love life not only exists but is flourishing…so with the exception of the impending snowstorm tomorrow night, things aren’t too bad at all. I’m pleased to say I’m content with life. Yeah…life is good.
Wow…I really am going to go on a very long rant about the issues I’ve got with my father.
After years of being angry, I realized late last year the primary component of the anger that’s been plaguing me for so long. I finally understood the root of the evil feelings that have always jumped out at the most inopportune times throughout my life. I finally could admit to what I’ve really known all along is the reason why I’m constantly so unhappy with myself.
My insecurities…my self-doubt…my self-loathing…my self-contempt…my anger.
Let me stress, however, that I love my father. I love my father dearly. The issue…still ongoing…is just how he makes ME feel, not the way he feels. And that’s the key, isn’t it? It’s all about the interpretation.
I bring this up today because a phone conversation with him last night got me mad for the second time in eight months (the first time was last month with him, actually). Other than those two times, I haven’t been really upset in eight months…which is a big deal because I had a “meltdown” of sorts (another blog for another day) and had to do a lot of soul searching and therapy in order to become the better person that I am today. Since my “turn-around” (for lack of another term) I’ve dealt with grief and sadness and anger and happiness and have been living a life that’s been extremely mellow and content and fulfilling. From this new-found self-examination has come enlightenment, and I’m really a happy person these days and have found reasons to like myself, really like myself, for the first time ever.
I got into an argument with my dad last night and was made to feel like a total f*ck-up…yet again. And I hate that.
For the record, I’ve made a lot of changes to my life over the past eight+ months to become a better person. I don’t just blow up at the drop of a hat anymore. I don’t get mad over the smallest thing and then five minutes later forget why I was mad to begin with anymore. I don’t want to shun myself away from the world and refuse to open myself up to others anymore…
…until I talk to him.
Again, it’s the way I feel when he talks to me. The guilt trips…the constant lack of faith in myself…the wanting to not just be loved but be respected as an individual or even as a man. These are the feelings I get from him.
But I don’t hold it against him. In fact, I forgive him. He doesn’t do it on purpose. He doesn’t realize that’s how he makes me feel, nor does he really care. It’s my cross to bear. It’s my issue to deal with. And I am.
I’ve got a beautiful son that lights up the room every time I see him. I’ve got an amazing daughter that, while I don’t see enough and feel like I can’t spoil the way I want to, still loves me to death and would love to be with me all the time if given the opportunity. I’ve got an amazing girlfriend in my life that makes me feel like the world is at my doorstep and that anything is possible. I’ve got a good job that I enjoy and I’m actually good at. There are too many positives in my life right now…I simply refuse to revert back to the person I used to be.
The problem, though, is money (isn’t that always the issue?). He pulled my butt out of the fire after the separation from my wife. Where she decided on joint-legal custody where I would have visitation pretty much any time I wanted (currently it’s 3 nights a week and every other weekend), I assumed the debt and kept the house and the car. The problem, though, is that I very quickly realized just how difficult it was to go from two incomes to one…especially when the spouse was the one making all of the money.
I’ve got two children that I pay child support for. I’ve got ZERO problems with that, just to be clear. It’s not even a question about it being my “responsibilty”, rather it’s just something that needs to be done. Why in the world would I not want to support my children’s upbringing?? So the majority of my paycheck goes to them, and I have no issue with that. It doesn’t however, leave a lot leftover once bills are counted in.
So I sold my house to my dad over a year ago and rent from him. I let my car lease run out and assumed the lease of my mother’s car (paying through my father, of course) once she was diagnosed with a brain tumor because she wouldn’t be able to drive it herself. My father won’t let me forget either one of these things and uses them as ways to chastise or belittle.
The case last night? I got a phone call telling me that I got a parking ticket when I visited K a few weeks ago. I knew that and was planning on paying it. Of course, because the car is in my mom’s name that means the ticket goes to their mailbox. I told him that I was going to pay it and he told me that he already did.
“Well…thanks but I was going to do it.”
“So now you owe me $25. I don’t want any more parking tickets showing up.”
“Right. I don’t think that’s going to be an issue going forward.”
“So you owe me $25.”
“Okay…I’ll get it to you when I visit this weekend.”
Then came the chastising over driving to see K twice a month. Because the car is a lease and, as I’m constantly reminded, not mine he doesn’t want me “pouring on the miles”.
So now I’m in a dilemma. At 36 years old, I’m accepting help from my father in order to re-establish myself. But at the same time, I feel like I’m 16 because I’m constantly reminded how nothing is mine anymore and is actually all his. So do I continue along this path in my decent little house and my pretty reliable little car until I’m hopefully back on my feet in a decent time period, or do I venture out and rent a tiny little bachelor apartment and try to buy a little beater to drive around?
This is one reason why I don’t have hair anymore.
As per my Friday night ritual, I had B over for supper tonight. As the eating came to a close, he started to play. I found myself fascinated as I watched him play with some toys. He was absolutely enthralled with what he was doing…totally oblivious to the world around him (as boring as it was…heh).
I found myself asking just what in the world was going through his head. I mean, he’s not talking yet (more on that in an upcoming post) so I wonder just what he’s telling himself. And where this was a big part in M’s development that I missed out on, I never truly knew the joy of watching her learn to think and create and use her imagination.
So then I whipped out a new toy…a little portable battery-operated keyboard that his grandparents picked up for him. I really, REALLY hope he develops the love of music that I have. I played piano as a child, trombone as a teenager, sang in the choir until my voice cracked during a solo (tramatic!!), became a bar DJ for years during the 90’s, and have always lived by my music…day in and day out.
I sing to B in the car…I dance with B when something fun comes on the television…I see his eyes light up when he creates sounds from the keys on his grandparents’ piano or on this keyboard. I’m just hoping he gets to truly enjoy music for what I believe it is…pure bliss.
But I digress…
B loved his new toy. He was quite intrigued by the different settings and buttons and played with it for quite awhile…
So after I took him back to his mother’s (it’s her weekend), I immediately called M to wish her a happy birthday.
At 10 years old, in addition to the awkwardness of living so far away, she had a hard time trying to think of something to say. When we’re around each other, the conversations are never-ending. Over the phone? Not so much. I started wondering what she’s thinking….what goes on in the mind of a 10-year old tomboy? I mean, I need to find ways to relate. I want to find ways to relate. I want to have discussions with her as she gets older. I know it’ll come…it’s just hard to sit there knowing your daughter wants to get off the phone.
So I wished her a happy birthday and told each other how much we were looking forward to her trip in March (“I wish I was already there, daddy”).
Soon, baby girl…very soon.
On a day where I’m missing M and her 10th birthday, I’m happy in the fact that my weekend plans have changed.
Now normally that’d be a pain in the butt. I hate it when plans change…especially when I’m totally looking forward to them. I was planning on sitting inside all weekend…no kids, no girlfriend…and just watching TV and movies and eating junk food and relaxing.
Then my girlfriend, who lives three hours away and I only get to see every couple of weeks (if that), told me yesterday that she’s moving into her new apartment this weekend and asked for my assistance.
HECK YEAH~!! Of course I’ll go. I love K and I’ll do what I can to see her and spend time with her. She’s got two beautiful daughters (3 and 5) who think I’m pretty cool so that’s a good thing. It would suck to date a single mother if her kids didn’t like me.
K has met my son, too…and where he’s only 28 months old, it’s not too shocking to his system at this point. But I’m definitely looking forward to M visiting in March and meeting K…and funny enough, K told me this morning that she had a dream about that very thing last night.
Anyway…probably no updates this weekend, but I’ll have a couple more this afternoon and this evening as there are things on my mind and I just GOTTA say them. Gotta. Got to.
In the meantime, I’m now distracted from the idea of spending the weekend with K. I’d take a night with her over a weekend of TV and movies any day of the week.
I wasn’t the best father to her when she was a baby.
I was immature and wasn’t ready for the responsibility…which isn’t an excuse, it just is what it is. I can admit to that now.
It’s been a long path from my immature 20’s to my slightly dorky late 30’s. I think that’s one thing I can attribute to my ex-wife…and that’s smartening me up when it came to how I was as a father.
Brief history lesson…
I split with her mom when she was 9 months old. I moved to Newfoundland shortly thereafter for a solid year…totally missing out on sooo much of her early development. It’s a shame, too…because she was a gorgeous girl.
Once I came back I really tried to reconnect with M, but it was a very long road. I could never get her to fall asleep in her crib…she hated spending time with me (although she was so young, it was really hard to know for sure)…and I just never felt a closeness with her. At all.
Like I said, I missed out on much of her early development…too much. Even when she got a bit older, when she stayed overnight, she cried for her mom. When she got sick, I didn’t know how to react or what to do…so I called her mom and took her home.
I was a bad father. At least that’s how I feel about it now. But I did try over time…and we began to form a bond over the years as she got older. It’s a bond that’s pretty darned strong now and I’m very, very grateful for it:
I thank my lucky stars every day that I’ve now got the relationship with her that I do. I love her to death and her impending visit in March really has me excited. It’s going to be a great week.
I can’t wait.