Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

I am currently burdened with this increasingly ticking clock looming over my head. I hear it every second of every day; sometimes it’s as soft as a pin drop, other times it’s so deafening it impedes on my ability to function. Loud or soft there is no escape it’s always there tick, tock, tick, tock. This metaphorical clock terrorizing my mind is the count down leading to the single most important decision I have had to make thus far in my life. Do I stay or do I go?

Regardless of how hard I try not to have this internal battle; I would question my humanity if I didn’t. I have spent 15 years of my life with this person, and raised three children with her. I would delusional to think, after 15 years there would be only happy times; that our relationship would be void of heartaches. I figure the best way to analyze this problem is through a Utilitarian view point. Which decisions creates the most happiness while simultaneously creating the least amount of sorrow. I have quickly learned that making a decision as a utilitarian when there are so many people involved is damn near impossible. What I have been doing is treating each situation as a single event. I observe how I feel inside; I try to imagine how those involved feel inside. I then proceed to estimate how many times such an event has happened in the past, and then apply the probability of this event happening in the future. This is the method I have been using to try and silence the ticking clock by making my final decision. Will this methodology sentence me to a life filled with tormenting regret, or will it be the key to unlock these shackles of hopelessness I have been chained to most of my life.

This week I plan on taking some of these single events; breaking them down as I have described above with the hope of discovering the answer to my question. Do I stay or do I go?

It has been over two years since my last post; in fact during this time I haven’t written anything. The reasons for this abrupt end are inconsequential at the moment, but will most definitely need to be examined in an attempt to uncover how and why my life has completely unraveled. The life I have known for the last fifteen years is about to come to an end; like all endings there is the inevitable re-birth. This is the saddest ending I have had to endure in my life, and the most terrifying beginning I have ever had to face. I am trying my best to understand and process all these intense emotions, but I find myself drowning unable to find the surface for a much needed breath of hope and understanding. For the last year or so I have been trapped in this painfully unsolvable riddle, and it has been eating me alive. I have experienced undeniable betrayal, but I have chosen to wrap myself in the comfort of lies. I want to believe the lies, so I don’t have to experience this gut wrenching sadness. In the end I was willing to suffer an eternity of sorrow just to hear the whole truth. I could at least begin to forgive and trust, unfortunately this was not the outcome. Ever the fool I would have stayed, but it was the unrelenting daily reminders of these lies and betrayal as if I was the guilty party that ultimately destroyed everything. I can’t sleep or eat, and I have been rotting away with each passing day. The only viable solution I can find to help me through the coming storm is to attempt to write again. I can say that a piece of me died when I stopped writing, yet ironically my writing also played a major role in some of the other pieces of my life to die. I need to return to this medium, because if I don’t I will never find the surface. Each day will continue to be more painful than the last; I need hope that tomorrow will one day hurt less than today. I believe this is my only chance of surviving this re-birth. My fear is discovering I have lost the ability to express myself.

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I finished my second “Dylan Thomas” book about eight months ago. I passed it off to my illustrator, and I was expecting a release date no later than two months from that date. I am sad to say that it has not been completed. I was going to send these two books to agents in hopes I can pick one up, and eventually get signed. My wife did a ton of research and she discovered that you need multiple manuscripts to show you are not a one and done. I found this out about six months ago, and I have been unable to write another one. I have tried and tried, but I could just not do it, until about three weeks ago. I am happy to say I have finally started rolling on the next book. I am currently entrenched in this next installment, and hopefully I can finish it within the next month. If I am able to hit this deadline, then I can start the final manuscript needed to start sending this series off to agents.

Until these next two installments are finished I am not going to say too much about them, but I will say the current manuscript I am working on, and the next one lined up will be my greatest triumph if I am able to pull them off. These two manuscripts will be the ones which get me signed by an agent, then shortly after by a publisher. I am usually a glass is empty sort of thinker, but when it comes to my newest ideas for the “Dylan Thomas” series, I can honestly say without a shadow of doubt that I have never been more certain about my success.

I am set to do readings at my sons’ school for all the kindergarten classes at the end of May. I currently have one book which is completely finished, and as I stated before my illustrator was supposed to have the second one illustrated months ago. I haven’t been pushing him much, but I finally told him I needed the second one completely finished by the end of April. We were supposed to meet two weeks ago to go over his progress, but he backed out. We then set up another meet last week, and I told him that there is not enough time to do any kind of revisions so just use what you have. I just really hope he hits the April 30th deadline. If he doesn’t I am thinking of letting him go. I feel confident that these manuscripts can stand on their own without the illustrations. It is my understanding that if the writer is signed, it is not always a guarantee the artist will be signed. I have texted him twice now with no response. Nothing irritates me more than someone not responding to a texts or e-mails.

On a side note I haven’t really been able to write poetry since I finished my last book “Trapped Within My Illness.” I sent this manuscript to a publishing company, and also to one of my readers whose father is in the business. I really do not think it will get published and I am totally fine with this. I have written only a handful of poems since I finished, but nothing like the flood of poems I write when I am in a funk.

I have also thought about revisiting my idea to write the book “The Life and Mind of No One Special.” I still think it would be a good idea to write a book based off my 100 best blog posts. I also have a few other ideas which I need to add to my website. I am not really going to focus on any other projects until I finish these two manuscripts. The overall scope of what I am trying to accomplish takes a shit load of time, which I do not have enough of. I just do not want these things to take four months to complete. I so badly want them in the agent’s hands so I can fully realize my dream.

I added a poll to this site awhile back asking my readers to help me with a tattoo idea I had. I truly appreciate all those who took the time to answer. I am going to add another poll on this site asking my readers to decide if “The Life and Mind of No One Special” is a viable idea, or possibly even a book based on my “Philosophy of Quotes.” If this is helpful I may place my other ideas out there to be judged by you guys. This survey will be up by tomorrow afternoon, so please take the time to vote, so I can get a sense of if this idea has merit.

We have a highly intelligent but unmotivated fifteen year old boy, and getting him to take school seriously is damn near impossible. No matter how many times we try to sit him down and explain the far reaching consequences of not taking school seriously, he just won’t hear it. The sad part, as I mentioned before, is he is highly intelligent and if he were to just buckle down and try he would be pulling in straight A’s. I think if I knew he was not all that bright I could handle the grades he is bringing home now. The question is how do we motivate him, and get him to see that his actions now will affect him many years down the road?

We have asked him several times what he wants to do when he gets older, and he has said since the age of seven he wants to be in the military, beyond that he has no real career goals.  I am sure this is normal, but you would think he could at least throw out a few different ideas. He seems to only be interested in football, working out, video games, and television/movies. I do consider us lucky that he is into these things, and not doing the horrible things I was doing at his age, but I know he can accomplish so much more than his mom and I ever could have.

We have talked to him about joining the ROTC program, where he goes to boot camp over the summer and is officially enlisted at the age of sixteen. This way he is already two years in before he even graduates. Apparently the way the program works he is able to go to college without ever being deployed. If he enjoys the service he could become a lifer and retire with full military pension and benefits. I think this could be his best road to success. If it were up to me all my kids would join the service before they head off to college.

I want the best for my children, and the last thing I want for them is to endure the struggle and stress that we have to go through due to our poor decision making. I do not want them to be thirty years old living with regrets of missed opportunities. He is only fifteen and completely unable to see the big picture which I am sure is very normal. We have tried almost everything to punish him for his poor grades, but he just adapts to the punishment and waits it out. When his grades in math and science began to slip in 7th grade, we took his games away it motivated him the first few times but after awhile it didn’t do anything. What seems to light a fire under his ass is when we do not allow him to go to weight training. We hate to use this because this is one of his healthy activities. Like most parents I just wish our words would get through to him. You always want your kids to learn from your mistakes, to take your words of wisdom to heart and believe and trust you enough that they listen so intently and perfectly. Getting a teenage boy to see how his Algebra 2 and science grades now, can affect his status and financial life in ten years is not possible.

My wife and I disagree on what steps we should take to try and rectify this problem. I believe if he continues to bring home bad grades, and continues to show an “I don’t give an F” attitude towards school, we need to bring the hammer down on him. I remember reading or listening to a show one time on parenting. The speaker was saying when you run into major issues with your children you need to “show” them all the things they have that they do not need. When you take these things away such as TV, internet, and video game privileges they will be motivated to rectify the problem so they can get their privileges back. As I mentioned earlier we have taken away his games, and this motivated him, but he quickly learned if we take the video games away he still has the television, iPod Touch, and internet. He uses these as substitutes when one is taken away. In my opinion the only way to drive the message home is to cut him off from all of these things, until he is able to right the ship. Our goal is to get him to spend more time studying so his grades can improve, but if he is allowed to continue to have these distracters in his life, he will never make it a priority to do these things.

My wife on the other hand believes that if we resort to such tactics, it will set off a chain reaction of rebellion. She also feels that even if we took these things away, because of his stubbornness he will accept the punishment, and still refuse to do the work needed. I sure I did not properly convey her exact feelings, which I hope she will clarify in the comments section.

Nicole has always taught him since a very young age, to be proud of whom you are, to not worry about pleasing others, but to stick to what you believe to be right and wrong, and to stand true to yourself. These are all wonderful lessons, but this has backfired on us, as he sure does stand true to what he believes in, “I will never use any of this stupid stuff anyway so what’s the point” damn kid.

As everyone is aware, I sent an e-mail to Satan last week (not the one I posted.) In this letter I clearly stated that Satan is to no longer use B’s sisters as bargaining chips to get B to see FF, and that under no circumstances is she allowed speaking to or seeing FF. I had this feeling all week that when Satan picked B up for their semi-monthly visit yesterday that Satan would surprised her by brining her to see FF and her sisters. So B left for her visit, and at 7pm I receive a text from Satan saying “just wanted to let you know that I brought FF and the girls to see B, and everything went fine.” The minute I read this I was consumed with such hatred and anger. I shouted out “I f’ing knew it!” I went and showed my wife the text, and we were both heated.

When B got home we asked her to come talk to us. We asked her if she knew FF was going to be there and she said no. We inquired further and asked how this whole thing came about. She said that Satan and her grandma picked her up and headed off to the Eden Prairie mall. When they got into the parking lot they told B that FF and the girls are inside and asked her if she wanted to go in and see them. At first Satan said that her grandma would take the sisters while she and FF talked to B, and that she might get to see her sisters. My daughter sat out there for 45 minutes and finally agreed as long as she was able to see her sisters the whole time, and that there is to be no talk of the past. After Satan asked FF for is permission on this, she agreed and off they went.

I am just really at a loss with this whole situation. I made it crystal clear to Satan that B is not allowed to see FF, and I feel like she did this out of spite and too show me that she can do whatever she wants. The last time I told her that B is not allowed seeing or speaking to FF; she told me “you can’t tell me what I can and can’t do on my visits.” I should have listened to my gut and just told her that B is no longer going to be allowed to go with her on visits anymore, and then we could deal with it in court. There are so many things about this situation which pisses me off, but the worst is that Satan and her grandma put B in a lose lose situation. All B wants is to see her sisters, she is sitting in the parking lot with her mom and grandma watching her waiting for her response, and her sisters are right inside. How do you put an 11 yr old child, your own daughter, in such a manipulative situation?

I am proud of B, that she told Satan that she wouldn’t go in unless she could see her sisters the whole time and that the past is not to be brought up, but she should never have been put into this situation to begin with. I am happy for B that after two and a half years she was finally able to see her sisters.

My wife thinks it is my job to stop this, to enforce my beliefs of B’s well being as her sole custody provider. She thinks I should contact the courts to find out what rights I have to enforce B not seeing FF. I think now that FF has seen B that I have nothing left to do but sit back and allow the FF/Satan family to do as they please with my daughter twice a month. This is only the beginning, now two Sunday’s a month will be spent at Satan house with FF, then it will be asking for B to spend the night Saturday nights prior to her scheduled Sunday’s , then it will be can we have B for a weekend. Then it will be Satan back in court asking for her parenting time back to every other weekend spent at their house. My wife thinks if we do not stop it now, and B has spent many of times with FF that we will have no ground to stand on. But if we stop it now we may be able to stop the snowball from rolling down the hill.

I am not sure what the proper next step to take is. I don’t know if I should not allow B to see her mom anymore. As I stated above the issue has always been that Satan was manipulating B and consistently hurting her. No matter how many times B told Satan that she wants to see her sisters, but not FF, Satan kept pushing, and dangling that carrot in front of her. Now that she has seen FF and her sisters then what am I trying to prevent? FF is going to always be on his best behavior until he realizes he can go back to mistreating her. I disagree with my wife on stopping the visits, because I would have no legs to stand on in court. It’s shitty that Satan put B into this tough situation, but I am also happy she was finally able to see her sisters. Maybe this is what I should be focusing on.

Satan,

I feel we need to put to rest the issue of our daughter (B,) her sisters, and F**k Face (FF). When B was in therapy, she opened up her true feelings. She has not worrying what she would say to us or to you. From those sessions the child psychologist gave her recommendation that B should not have anything to do with FF. When we sat in front of the referee in court and he asked you what future you saw with B, you indicated you wanted to work toward more time with her and you wanted her to be part of your family including FF. Referee M clearly stated that you need to focus much of your energy on you and B, on B and her sisters, but seeing FF was not an important piece to that, furthermore referee M indicated that if you wanted to create a better relationship with B it would be in your best interest to find a therapist that specializes in reunification, then down the line possibly FF could be involved, and only if B herself ever felt comfortable.

It is unfortunate that you feel you need to control B by using one of the worst times of her life against her by forcing her to have to “patch things up” with the person who caused her so much fear and pain that she no longer wanted to live in your home. If FF had beaten her, would you still feel she should work things out with him in order to see her sisters? If FF had raped her, would you still feel she should work things out with him in order to see her sisters? But because the pain he caused her was emotional and mental, that should simply be forgotten and swept away in order to please your and FF’s wants? By telling B that she will not see her sisters until they are 18, if she does not work things out with FF, is manipulative and just as emotionally hurtful to her as the original harm. You are simply de-validating her hurt and feelings by forcing her to be around someone she truly does not want to. What if you could only see B if my wife (N) and I were there with you the whole time, would you feel comfortable with that? Or you can see B once the three of us have sat down together worked out all our differences and all became best friends, then you could see her with us there, would that feel like a good compromise for you?

I wish B had the courage to tell you her truest of feelings, but she doesn’t. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell her she can be honest with you, she has made it clear she won’t do it. She told me about her phone conversation with you on Monday, and then her talk with FF. I have made it clear to you several times that she is to have no contact with FF. B Has made it clear she wants nothing to do with FF, yet you corner her in a situation where she has no choice but to speak with him. She fears that if she told you no that you would stop coming to see her. When we were talking to B she said well I guess it kind of makes sense a little if mom wants me to see her and FF first. Hear that “IF MOM WANTS ME” not what B wants, not her needs first. If in fact FF, and you, have changed why is it still what FF wants before your daughter? If in fact he has changed so much, what exactly is the harm in B seeing her sisters once a month for 4 hours? If he in fact changed and was sorry and loved her so much why would he still keep her away from her sisters? This does not sound like a man who has changed, or a man that loves her.

The things you BOTH are doing to B does not show remorse or love, it shows something so far from those things, yet you both still do it. Letting her see her sisters is not a separation of FF and his daughters that is the reality that you have a daughter that leads a separate life, should you choose to be a part of her life, then it is HER life you are entering it is not her entering YOUR life. You may want your whole family together Satan, but in reality that is not what B wants. After I quietly listened to B tell me the whole conversation with you and then with FF I asked her one thing, I said if your sisters did not exist would you WANT to see and work things out with FF. She looked at me, smiled a bit and said well NO. I find it funny how the minute I mention taking you to court you all of a sudden want a relationship with B, after you had just written her off. I find it funny that once child support became a reality all of a sudden FF wants to talk to B. My personal opinion is if it were not for child support FF would still not want anything to do with B, and I am sure you would still be out of her life. One of my theories for why you are manipulating her in this way has nothing to do with FF being “sorry” and “loving” B, but has everything to do with child support. I have a serious question to ask you; if I agreed to no longer collect child support from you in exchange for you never seeing B again would you take it? Or if I changed it and said I will suspend child support in exchange for B being able to see her sisters, and a guarantee she would never see FF again, would you take that? This is an honest serious proposition.   

B simply wants to know her sisters, I can not for the life of me, understand how you can feel it is right to keep that form her, dangle them in front of her to entice her to like your husband, that Satan is yet another example of why we are so very protective of B when it comes to all of this.

As her father and her sole physical guardian at this point in B’s life I am put in a position to make a decision, I don’t like to do this, I want B to feel like she has choices and learns how to make the right choices, but she is so easily manipulated by you and so badly wants to see her sisters that she is stuffing away all those hurt, sad, angry feelings in order to achieve this. I know this because she lets all those stuffed away feelings out to us, and we are the ones holding her for two hours while she sobs, and hurts, and hates you, and hates all of this, and worst of all hates that she was ever honest about FF, because if she had just taken it from him then none of this would have ever happened and she could see her sisters. She said something to me on Sunday that will stick with me for a very long time. She told me she hated her life. As a parent this is the worst thing you can hear coming from your child’s mouth. To me this broke my heart, but you will read this and think nothing of it, because you have only shown that you and your husband’s feelings come first and B’s last. You wonder why I have so much “hate in my heart” towards you, it is because your and FF’s actions has caused my daughter unspeakable pain. I love my children, and as a result I can hold no respect for somebody who has caused them so much suffering. As her parent I have to step in at this point and put a stop to this.

B is not allowed to be around FF at this point. Until either she attends some therapy, or we see that she and her feelings are being put first, and she is more emotionally stable on the situation. I will determine when that is based on what B shows us. It would be a very big gesture of change and love for B to be able to see her sisters once a month for 4 hours; this in no way will cause any damage to your daughter’s relationship with FF. I would assume the girls know they have a sister that lives with her dad, so seeing their sister once in a while is not some crazy emotionally harmful event; many many kids out there have the same type of family structure. If you decide that she can see the girls, please give us advanced warning of when you will bring them. If you decide that you still believe she should not see them then we will deal with that as B expresses her feelings about it. And if you decide she can not see them then I ask you, for B sake, do not discuss her sisters with her anymore, as she always comes home very upset after those discussions.

B is NOT allowed to speak to FF. You should have run that by me before you did it. If that happens again, or you continue to hang her sisters over her head in order to manipulate her, we will be going back to supervised phone conversations. If you continue to manipulate her using her sisters to see FF, then I will cut off all communication between you and her. Yes you were awarded to see B two Sundays a month and you can take me back to court, but I am sure Referee M will see your tactics for what they are. I wonder what he would think about you not letting her see her sisters for two years, after he chastised you for that very same decision. I wonder what he will say when you use her sisters as a manipulative bargaining chip in order for her to see FF, who is the last person she ever wants to see, and who her therapist and family members have stated she shouldn’t see him. I wonder what he will think when B asks you what if she doesn’t want to see FF, and your response is she will have to wait until they are 18. When she said she doesn’t want to see FF your response is “well you will just need to wait?”  I no longer want to continue this merry-go-round subject, make your decision and then let’s be done with this.

As for mothers day Satan, just because you are her biological mom doesn’t mean you are the “mom” in her life. N has and always will be the mom she turns to for anything and everything. You really need to earn that title, because you tossed that away long ago when you tossed aside your daughter like trash. You know very little about her life or who she is. You are not the one holding her when she is hurting; in fact you are the one causing these hurt feelings. N has been there for all those things, and N is the one along with me who needs to console her pain caused by her own mother. N knows everything about B in every way. This is what makes a mom, and sorry but you haven’t cut it for many years. The B you see for 8 hours a month is NOT the real B.

Finally you and FF claim to be religious, but what would Jesus or God think of what you are doing to your daughter which according to things you have said or wrote was in His name. Would God/Jesus approve of your and FF’s behavior??

I was going to write about my oldest son today, but I am just filled with to much internal conflict, and yucky emotions. My daughter (B) had one of her monthly visits with her mom yesterday, and as usual it didn’t go to well. I am disturbed over this whole situation. I know I have written about this several times, but just writing about it eases some of my intense emotions over this subject. I am also frustrated over the next “Dylan Thomas” book I am writing, which is causing me to feel torn over what I want to do with this blog. I think I may need to take a step back and focus on this book, but I have a hard time letting this blog go.

Last night when B was dropped off from her visit with her mom, she ended up crying for over two hours, because she was so upset and hurt over her moms’ refusal to let her see her sisters. I am not really sure how the conversation over this came up, perhaps B just asked her mom again why she can’t see them. When her mom started seeing her again she told B that she wouldn’t be allowed to see her sisters until she agreed to see her step-father (Fuck Face.) B wants nothing to do with FF because of all the shit he has done to her. The excuse she gave B last night was she can’t see her sisters because she doesn’t want to “separate” FF from their two girls. This probably means the same thing, just worded differently, but that is not how B understood it.

B told her again that she doesn’t want to see FF, so does this mean that she can’t see her sisters until they are 18. Her mothers’ response was “well looks like you will just have to wait then.” She couldn’t stop crying, she said she doesn’t even know what they look like, and if she saw them walking on the street, she wouldn’t even recognize them. She said she doesn’t understand why her mom is doing this to her, and she can’t deal with how painful this is. She then uttered a phrase I had hoped none of my children would ever say; she said that she hates her life. I know pre-teen and teenagers utter that phrase often, but I could tell by her pain that she truly meant it.

Needless to say this caused me to see red. I am very protective of my children, and the fact that someone is causing my little princess deep emotional pain, just doesn’t sit well with me. I have grown so sick and tired over how much agony her mother has caused her over the past six years. I just simply can’t understand how her mother can so easily hurt her without even a second thought. B has been put through tremendous pain over this situation, but I have never seen her cry and hurt so much as I did last night. I was enraged over this; I did the impulse thing and texted her mom. I told her “I hoped I was wrong about religion, because I know there is a special place in hell for sick twisted people such as yourself, and hell is exactly where you belong.”

It is bad enough that her mom shows no interest in her life beyond there two four hour visits a month, but not allowing her to see her sisters is just plain evil. B is so sick with depression she didn’t even want to get out of bed this morning and felt so sick she didn’t even want to go to school. I am waiting for a call from the nurse to come pick her up. I really should have just let her stay home. I feel so powerless over this, and I want to fix this for her, so she doesn’t need to hurt so much.

I am also torn and frustrated over the “Dylan Thomas” book I am working on. I had already decided to not write a blog post everyday so I had more time to work on this book, but I am finding this is not curing the problem. Writing these books is rather difficult, and requires much more time then I have. The problem here is, if I have time and I can’t find the magic then I end up just staring at the computer. I need this magic to write these damn things, and it frustrates me that I cannot just summon this magic at will. I am only four pages in and even this has taken me four hours. The “Dylan Thomas” format is written in four or more line stanza’s where the last word always rhymes. Writing a learning book in this style is very difficult. I captured the magic yesterday, but lost it in short order. I was devastated over this, because I have been trying to conjure up this magic for over a month. To have it, and then lose it is tearing me apart.

I am thinking I may need to put my blog aside, so I have more time to work on this book. I will still try to write posts when they come to me, but I am not going to make this a priority right now. This makes me a bit sad, but I need to get these books off to an agent. I have a better chance of success with the DT series than I do with this blog. I apologize to my regular readers, but I promise I will write at least one post a week.

I am a Staffing Coordinator at a nursing home in Minnesota. My main job function is to ensure we are fully staffed twenty-four hours a day. One of my many other responsibilities is managing our lodge employee program. Lodge employees are people who work at the nursing home and live in one of the lodges on our campus. This lodge is a housing unit for people in recovery, many of which are homeless. These individuals, after their first thirty days of sobriety, are then allowed to come up and work at the nursing home as monitors. I can name about a dozen people who are here for a few months, try to go out on their own, then relapse and come right back. Then there are the guys who I see once and never see them again. I feel for these people, and the lives they have chosen. I grow fond of some of them, and try to be there for support, and tell them about my own personal recovery. I root for them hoping they can beat their addictions and enter back into society with a place to live. I look at their lives and it makes me grateful for who I am and what I have accomplished in my life thus far.

I had one of my lodge employees come talk to me over the winter. This guy has been one of the best employees I have had in over three years. He came to me one day to ask me for advice. His dilemma was whether he should leave the lodge and grab his fiancé from another sobriety/homeless shelter in Minneapolis, take the money he has made working here, and go back to St. Cloud to live in a motel. Being that it was winter, he was concerned about what he would do when he ran out of money. He told me it would be almost impossible to find a homeless shelter to live in up there. He said he felt content and safe at the lodge and is going on two years of sobriety. His fiancé, on the other hand, was staying somewhere in Minneapolis where they will hold a bed for her as long as she volenteers as a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army. She does not like where she is and is trying to pressure this guy to leave. He wants to stay here until springtime because he says it’s a lot easier to be homeless when the weather is nice. I offered some programs he could check into but I really wanted to shake this guy and tell him there are so many options out there for him, he doesn’t need to be homeless. I advised him to stay where he was at and encourage his fiancé to do the same.  

This got me thinking of my own life and how truly lucky I am. I have a beautiful, healthy, and wonderful family. I have a stable job, although not what I dreamed I would become; it pays the bills. I live in a beautiful home, there are times I just stop and take a step back in awe seeing all that I have. There is always food on the table and we feel blessed knowing our kids will never starve. Although I do not place a high value on possessions, we have many things people only dream of. We are able to spoil our kids for Christmas and even though we live check to check, we manage to survive month in and month out. These are all blessings I have been given, which I am sure any of the guy at the lodge would give anything to have. The problem is, I don’t always realize how truly blessed I am, it is as if, I almost forget how great I have it (this is usually when ego takes over.) I will at times take for granted the life I have and the people within it. I just grow comfortable with my situation, I do not take the time or energy to realize and reflect on what I am thankful for. In this situation I  take for granted the things and people I have in my life. I do not express enough how grateful I am to have everything that I do.

Considering my severe mental illness, and my personal battles with addiction, I could realistically be any of these guys over at the lodge, or perhaps even much worse. I wish I could take all the credit for this, but my beautiful wife has been my guiding light. Even in my darkest hours her love, compassion, and just plain giving a shit, has always lead my way home. She has always seen me for the man I can become, even though I have shown her the opposite. My children give me the motivation to become a better father than I have ever had. I have wonderful mother, supportive siblings, regular readers, a killer children’s book series, a great home,  cool shit I never thought I would have. I have kids who love and think the world of me, a great dog (not my first choice but I have grown to love him) and I am one of the few people out there who can say they found and married their soul mate. I may not always see it, but I love my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  

As for the gentleman I mentioned earlier; sadly he did not take my advice. He left two days after we had our conversation, and I haven’t seen or heard from him since. Wherever he is, I hope he can find the same happiness I know today.

As a father, I have always wanted my boys to be just as I was as a child. I want them to prosper on my good qualities, and be absent of my bad. I had so many fun experiences as a child, and I want the same for my kids. I was the type of child who loved sports; I would play football and baseball outside for hours with the neighbor kids. There really was nothing as exhilarating; like a pick-up game of no pads tackle football. I would never do this now mind you; I am far too old and way out of shape. If we were not playing sports I was playing G.I. Joes with my best friend Andrew, we could play G.I. Joes outside for hours upon hours, but for some reason our “wars” always ended up in a fight. If we were not doing these things, we were just outside exploring the neighborhood, and playing miscellaneous games. The funny thing is, as much as I want them to have a childhood like I did; I do not let my kids do half the things I did as a child, in fear for their safety. There is no way I would let them play tackle football without any pads, and I would never allow them to wander and explore the neighborhood like I did as a child.

When I became a father to Austin, he was 3 years old. I wanted him to love football and action figures just as I did, but he really wasn’t into it very much. He also was not big on playing outside with his friends. He is more of a home body, but I am very proud of him, for his intense dedication to football and working out. I must note I am perfectly fine with him being a home body. I think about what I was doing at fifteen, and I can tell you I was out doing very bad things. I felt sad, because I thought he was missing out on all the fun I had as a child. I was confused, because I figured all kids would act and live the way I did when I was a young. My youngest son Dylan, on the other hand is a spitting image of me as a child. This fills me with such joy and such fear.

Once Dylan puts on his football pads and jersey, he will have me set the timer for sixty minutes, and he proceeds to play a complete imaginary football game. He throws the ball around, and catches it; if he is tackled he violently throws himself to the ground. During his imaginary game he does his own play- by-play. He loves it when you sit and watch him, while he plays out this pretend game. When football season is over he turns his attention over to baseball. This kid is amazing, because at the age of six he watches entire baseball or football games. He sits and watches how players pitch or hit, and tries to emulate their movements, just as I did as a child. He is great at reading offenses and defenses during football games. He is also good at calling balls or strikes during baseball games. When I pitch to him he is able to identify the movement on my pitches. He sits and plays entire games of Madden with such joy. I am so proud of him for his intense interest in sports.

He also just recently got into action figures. This Christmas he received a ton of G.I. Joes, and loves to sit and play with them. I am taken down memory lane every time I sit down and play with him. I remember all the characters from my youth, but I am a bit disappointed with how they changed their design. I also don’t understand why they don’t offer more characters. It seems to me they just keep making the same ones with different looks. When I watch him do his thing I see myself playing twenty-three years ago. Like I said earlier this fills me with joy, but I have not yet touched on my fears.  

I was a really naughty kid, and a handful as a teenager. Dylan already shows signs of anxiety and ADHD behavior. My daughter Brianna is also showing signs of anxiety. If they are not properly stimulated they get out of control. I look at Austin, and I am filled with hope; except for his lack of interest in school he is the perfect kid. I am a bit fearful of how Brianna or Dylan will be when they hit their teenage years. I worry if they are not properly stimulated; they will end up going down the path I took when I was younger. I suppose it is karma; if they are a handful. I am sure I deserve it considering what I put my mother through. I just worry about my kids overall quality of life, and the repercussions of my actions and my DNA will be the downfall of my kids. I do not think this is fair. Why should they suffer for my bad karma?

My daughter is in the sixth grade, and she has now started to “date” boys. Nicole thinks she is way too young to be having boyfriends, where I feel it is normal and harmless behavior. I remember when I was in sixth grade, I had girlfriends and it seemed to be, a normal practice at this time. Sixth grade is just a time where boyfriends/girlfriends are just the in thing to have. She has taken the next step in life, and this is part of that next step. The question I pose today, is if she is too young to have a boyfriend?

I think the whole thing, is all innocent at this time in her life. The biggest events, which seem to happen, when you are boyfriend and girlfriend at this age, is hugging and holding hands. She did have one boyfriend, this year who wanted to take that next step and kiss, but she was not ready to do that, so he broke up with her. I am happy that my daughter knows her own comfort level and boundaries enough to say no. I have noticed, that they tend to throw the word “I love you” around the day they start to date, which at first bothered me, but then I thought back to when I was young, and that word was thrown around all to casually. These kids have no concept of relationship love, so I am not really concerned over them using the word, because it means nothing.

I also think, dating must be normal at this age, because they have started doing school dances. I again, think back to when we started doing school dances, and one of the thrills was asking girls to go to dances with you, which is what they are doing today. You would think as her father, I would be freaking out over all this, but I am really okay with the whole thing. It is not, that I am not protective of her, because papa bear syndrome runs rampant with all my children. I guess, I just see this as normal innocent behavior for a sixth grader. When I think back I was actually “dating” in the fifth grade, and I am sure things have not changed much from then to today.

I am sure as time goes by, I will be less and less okay with her having boyfriends, considering as how things progress physically as they age. I was a bit nervous, but excited when she had her first kiss, but I will not feel the same when it comes to her first French kiss. Anything after the French kiss completely terrifies me. I think I may get her a chastity belt when she turns thirteen. I may think this behavior is all innocent and fine now, but I can guarantee you as she gets older I will become the dad who holds a shotgun the first time I meet with her boyfriends.

So, which one is it, should she be allowed to date, because it is a normal right of passage at her age, or is this completely inappropriate? As I have said, in looking back at my childhood, this was all normal behavior, thus I am totally okay with what she is doing.