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Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Unniversary

It was 16 years ago today that I said I do to my ex. As I look back on our wedding, marriage and subsequent divorce it would be easy to say, “what a mistake,” “wish I’d had known then what I know now,” etc. But the truth is, we were ready. We had the tools. We had what we needed to have a successful marriage. I think we simply didn’t know how to use them or failed to see the need to use them. We made a lot of assumptions and a lot of mistakes. Both of us.

Ultimately I grew from all three events. I can still see her entering the church and can still feel that moment of immense overwhelming emotional power. Daily I live through specific moments of the days that followed. Some victories. Some defeats. All steps forward in one way or another. Honestly, I think the important thing is that every day we reflect on our lives, not with regret, but with a goal of learningRING and recognizing what worked and what didn’t so that we grow as individuals from the sum of our experiences.

Each rep that a running back takes, is a step toward becoming a better back. You gain confidence through first downs and tackles for a loss, victories and defeats. Sometimes you miss the hole while other times you hit the seam and break it for a long gain. Each day is the same way. And unless we put ourselves in a position to take those reps, we’ll never learn. We’ll never get better.

I emerged from my divorce smarter, wiser, stronger and calmer. I see things very differently than I did on the day I said I do. I have an amazing family and despite the hardships, the pressures and the stress; I have a different outlook on life that keeps me moving forward. My children challenge me to be a better man and I thank God for them every moment of every day. And for that I’m eternally grateful. Sure I look at other families at times with envy or longing for what might have been. But that wasn’t meant for us. Dwelling on that fact isn’t healthy nor does it make any sense. I made my choices as did she and tomorrow I’ll make new ones. It’s how this works.

Whether you remember your anniversary or not I’m sure you have moments when you look back at what was and what could have been. But promise me you’ll never look back with regret. You made choices at the time that felt right. They felt right for a reason. And perhaps they were the right thing for you at the time. We have no way of knowing where life is going to take us. In a marriage, your life is directly affected by your partner. It’s part of the journey. You may not completely understand why, but chances are you followed your instincts. And at some point either you or your spouse followed your instincts to exit. In each case, you did the best you could with the information you had available to you. And each decision took you forward, never back. I believe that focusing too much attention on the past and dwelling on the why keeps you from moving forward. And that’s what you need to do. Put the past behind you and recognize that it helped shape who you are today.

You are where you are for a reason. Take the day. Take the rep. Look for the seam. Make your move. Don’t worry if you get caught in the backfield today. Tomorrow is another rep and another chance to find the hole and find your legs.

Bottom line; if you ask me if I look back on my wedding day with fondness, the simple answer is, “I do.”

 

 

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Sensible Shoes

As my son’s interest in basketball has officially taken flight, so has his interest in basketball shoes. Up until this point, we’d been able to survive on sales at Target & Academy Sports, typically spending under $25.00 for a basic generic pair on sneakers. A couple of months ago I even found a pair of Adidas running shoes that were on sale for $26 and he loved them. Once on his feet, it took him, and I’m not exaggerating, two months to destroy them. He came home yesterday with huge holes and tears in the clothe which is an important statistic to keep in mind as we continue. Lifespan of last pair of shoes = < 90 days.

As expected, one day he came home from school after seeing a friend of his and their new pair of Nike basketball shoes. He jumped on the computer and began searching. After about fifteen minutes we heard throughout the house, “I FOUND THEM!” The price tag? One Hundred & Seventy Five f’ing Dollars. I use profanity here because that was the first thought that went through my mind when I saw the price. I looked at him; his face all aglow with glee from the imagery of jumping ten feet in the air dunking the ball because of these magicScreenshot 2014-05-14 12.51.51 shoes. With as much love and affection as I could, I simply said, “hmmm – not likely.”

He informed me that his birthday was coming up and he would collect all of the money from his grandparents, aunts, uncles, mom, dad, neighbors, sisters etc. and buy them himself. I informed him that as his father I would not be able to allow him to spend $175 on a pair of shoes that would likely last him a couple of months at the rate he was going. Still, throughout the coming days I would find him looking at the shoes on-line as well as in drawings of him playing basketball and smiling at me every time he saw me notice.

While his torn up shoes were still usable, the proud parent in me couldn’t allow him to go to school wearing something that needed to be held together with duct tape (don’t think it didn’t cross my mind) and so I stopped on my way home from work to pick up something. And so I stopped at Academy sports and found a great pair of sneakers on sale for $16.00. And he accepted them with grace and appreciation, although he mentioned a disliking of the laces as they were a little harder to tie. But all told. I thought I was in the clear.

While the requests for basketball shoes died down, he kept showing them to his sisters and sharing his plan of purchasing them with his birthday money. To his credit, there was no whining, no pleading, but it was obvious this new phase of his childhood was here to stay. He was on a hunt and a new pair of basketball shoes was his first target. (no retail outlet pun intended).

Fast forward a bit. His sisters and I had just dropped him off for flag football practice and were headed to Target to get his oldest sister a new pair of sneakers, which coincidently had also began to come apart at the seams. Although in her defense, these had lasted over nine months. It was while looking for these that his other sister noticed the clearance rack of shoes. As our 2014-05-13 18.47.12grand bargain hunter, she appeared to have a nose for great deals and was often heard yelling through a store, “Dad look! Two Ninety NINE!!!”

As I was leaning over to find a pair of sneakers in my oldest daughter’s size I heard it; my bargain hound had found something. “DAD! COME HERE! QUICK!” As I got closer I saw what appeared to be a pair of basketball shoes. And sure enough there they were. Same color and basic style as the ones my son was looking at on line. They weren’t Nike, but wow. The price? $8.98. Nearly seventy-five percent off the original price. The ones she was holding were a size 1 which were too small. We began rummaging through the boxes of all the different clearance shoes, and found two more pair of the basketball shoes. A size five and as God is my witness; a two-and-a-half. My daughter was beside herself squealing with delight.

Sparing you the details, I’ll cut to the end and tell you that we picked up my son from practice with the box sitting in his seat.  And he LOVED them. The fact that they weren’t exactly like the ones he was after wasn’t lost on anyone. But there was something about the fact that so many people in his life focused on helping him out that seemed to resonate with him. And they were on his feet before I could get the key in the ignition. Despite the fact that it was dark out by the time we got home, he had to test them out on the court (aka driveway) and subsequently made his first seven shots.

 

 

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A Fundamental Truth

Look guys. I know for some of you dealing with your ex is not a welcome moment. And Mother’s Day likely creates some stress and uncomfortable situations. Especially if you haven’t worked at your relationship with your ex-wife since the divorce. “But we’re divorced? Why should I work on my relationship with her?” Well. I’ll tell you why. Regardless of the kind of relationship you have with your ex-wife; if you had a family together, there is one fundamental truth that cannot be changed. She is the mother of your children and you both will always be a parenting team on some level. And no matter how you may personally feel about it, another truth is that your childrenimages need to have a connection with their mom.

I say this because no matter how you feel about your ex, part of your responsibility as a father is to ensure that your kids have a good relationship with their mom. Inside, your children crave a relationship and a connection with each of you. They need to feel accepted and loved by both of you, especially when they’re trying to discover who they are. It’s one of the reasons it’s so important to put to the side your own feelings toward your ex, regardless of what they may be, and make an effort to help your children focus on the positive attributes of their mom.

As a divorced dad, you have a choice. Hold on to bitterness and create friction, tension and stress for you, your ex and your children, or recognize the value in a working relationship with your ex-wife that enables you both to benefit from helping each other as single parents. I’m not an idiot. I understand that it’s often easy to fall into the trap of pointing out the negatives. Especially when you’re at a point where you may be dealing with a disagreement. But remember, that works both ways. And your kids aren’t stupid. They’re actually quite perceptive and probably understand more than you may give them credit for. They know your ex-wife’s pitfalls, and trust me, they recognize yours just as well. It’s up to you to set the tone. You need to suck it up sometimes and recognize your kids will be much better off if they see the two of you backing each other up and creating at least some level of consistency as parents.

My ex wife and I have worked very hard these past few years ensuring that our kids know they can’t get away with things by playing us against each other. And trust me, they try. They know the buttons to push, the things to say and the way to put us against each other. But you can’t get sucked in. Listen, my relationship with my ex isn’t perfect by any means. We have our issues obviously. Hell we got divorced for a reason. And from time to time we lovemommobileboth find it very easy to say things or point out things about each other to the kids that we should probably keep to ourselves. But try to remind yourself, what good is it going to do to slam someone so important to your kids? There is a very good likelihood that they’re very much aware of anything you may bring up. Using it as a means of turning them against the other parent isn’t going to accomplish anything other than creating friction between all of you, including you and your kids.

I would also hope for you, that during your divorce you’ve had a chance to recognize that you both brought baggage to the table. That each of you hold some level of responsibility for your current situation and that you’ve grown from the experience. The goal should be to be growing and understanding what’s really important. And that is ensuring your kids have everything they need in life and one of the most important of those is a good relationship with their mom and dad.

Transferring your own personal beliefs about your ex to your children will do much more harm than good. Honestly, I don’t think they need help with that anyway. In fact it’s just the opposite. In their own relationships with each of you, they will likely experience the same things you and your ex did in your marriage. The reality is, you’re in a terrific position to help them navigate the negatives as you’ve already lived them and hopefully have learned from them. Rather than compound the problem by reenforcing the negative, help them do something you obviously weren’t able to do; acknowledge, accept and move on. If you can teach them tolerance, acceptance and understanding on a level even you weren’t capable of achieving during your marriage, you’ll be setting them up for success in their own relationships as they get older.

In the process you may actually learn a thing or two as well. Things that will allow you to see your ex differently and the hope would be for her to see you differently as you both grow as individuals. Will it be perfect? No. But it’s time to start letting go of some of the hurt. Recognize that the divorce does not mean you’ll never see your ex again. You will be in each others lives forever as parents to your kids. This mother’s day, give your kids something they desperately need. A positive relationship with their mom; you may find yourself finding a way to create one for yourself as well. And that is something that will benefit everyone.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Daily Life, Uncategorized

 

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“This is her father. Who’s this?”

Of course I answer my daughter’s cell phone. Why deprive a young man of that moment we all feared as boys when the girl’s dad answered with “This is her father. Who’s this?”

Getting privacy on the phone when I was a teen was simply not even an option. We had one phone upstairs in the hallway androtary-phone one downstairs in the foyer. That was it. No cordless, no cell, no freedom. And it was a family phone. So when someone called, they knew just about anyone could answer it.

The same was true of the girls I called. RARELY did she answer it. Typically it was a sister or brother who would yell my name out for their entire house to hear. Or even worse. You got the dad. “She’s busy. Who’s this? What do you want?”

This entire concept of kids having privacy at the age of 12 with their cell phone is lunacy if you ask me. The more I think about it and the more I catch my daughter upstairs in her room by herself for hours on her phone, the more I think back and realize this is a simple answer. “Yes, you can have a phone. But it stays downstairs and any of us can answer it for you.” Let their friends know we’re watching and paying attention and still in charge. And above all remind them that they’re part of a family who cares about them and who they hang out with.

 

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Divorce, Electronics, Uncategorized

 

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“Of course I answer my daughter’s cell phone. Why deprive a young man of that moment we all feared as boys when the girl’s dad answered with “This is her father. Who’s this?””

“Of course I an…

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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