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In Ten Years

In Ten Years

As I reacted to the natural call of my offspring (“DAD!”) for the 1,528th time this weekend, I recognized that I was starting to sound annoyed in my responses. Annoyed. Annoyed with what? Being needed? Loved? Not alone?

Overall I consider myself to be a pretty good dad. But every once in a while I stop and see myself as being a complete ass. I allow my ever evolving, busy life to cloud my judgement and get in the way of valuing what’s really important. It’s the moments when I’m in the middle of something personal or maybe working from home (which I’m remarkably fortunate to be able to do from timeIMG_8576 to time), maybe typing an e-mail, that the adolescent piranha that can be my children, all seem to peck away at my aura simultaneously each with their own specific need, ie.”DAD can you make me a snack,” “Dad, my computer won’t work,” “Dad,where’s the remote?,”  “Dad I’m bored,” “DAD!, blankety blank didn’t flush,” “dad have you seen my … oh there it is.”

I’ve at times asked them to give me a minute so I can focus on the task in front of me assuring them that I’ll be with them in a minute. By the tenth time, I know I can come off somewhat rudely. Something about the same question being asked ten times within five minutes will cause that.

Yet, it’s those moments when I get made at myself for reacting that way. Because the truth is; in another ten years, I’ll miss the beckoning. I’ll long for just one, “DADDDD?!!!” And wish to God one of them would need me to find the brush their sister took without asking.

Remember, the days with our kids are limited. Embrace every moment, answer every question and once in a while, let the rest of the world wait and be the dad!

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2016 in choices, Uncategorized

 

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Pace Yourself

Those who stop by here regularly likely know that I’m an avid runner. It’s been a part of my regimen since I was probably seven. I think what started it was my sister telling me I should be a runner because runners have small butts. But whatever the reason, it stuck and now nearing fifty, it has helped keep me relatively healthy and mentally stable.

One thing I learned from running was the value of pacing myself. I remember one particular track meet my freshman year of college where this point was very well illustrated. We were running the 1500 meter on an indoor track which adds up to about 7 1/2 laps. When the gun went off one runner from a visiting school just took off at full speed. I mean the rest12038670_10154254531642908_511981866436531684_o of us looked at each other and were like, “He knows it’s a mile right?” By the end of the first lap he was sailing off well in front of the pack. By the fourth lap, he was on the infield holding his hamstring screaming in agony.

I pictured that guy this morning as I was making school lunches. If you think of each year like a mile of a marathon, I’m on mile five. And let me tell you, some days I think I may have come out of the gate a bit too fast because I’m already suckin’ wind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the run and for the most part the pace feels pretty good. But man, every once in a while I get a parenting cramp.

As divorced dads, we all pat ourselves on the back from time to time. We make dinners, do laundry, help a kid through a school project, coach a soccer game, make it to every recital, have good heart to heart talks, drive kids all over kingdom come for school events and
playdates, make dinners, do laundry; wait I lost myself for a second. What was I talking about? Oh yeah. “GO DAD!” Parents know it’s a lot. And some days just getting the kids to school on time feels like a victory lap is in order. But know this; it’s a long, freaking, run.

If you’ve ever run a marathon, you know those first few miles you’re like, “This is EASY! Not sure what all the fuss was about!” Then at mile 21 you’re on the curb puking your guts out while your left calf muscle keeps involuntarily flexing. That’s parenting. Every mile the breathing becomes more labored. The hills get steeper. The sun beats down a little harder. And your legs get a little heavier.

So pace yourself. Stop at every gatorade station you can find. And hell, walk a few hundred yards from time to time if you need to. It’s OK if your pace fluctuates from mile to mile. Not every lunch has to include all five food groups. Not every breakfast has to be eggs, sausage, toast and juice. Sometimes a pop-tart is OK. Trust me, they’ll live even if every once in a while their socks don’t match.

 

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Do You Know Where You’re Going To?

Don’t laugh, but I woke up this morning with the “Theme to Mahogany” playing in my head. If you’re unfamiliar with the Diana Ross hit, the first lines of the song go something like this:Mahogany-cover

“Do you know where you’re going to
Do you like the things that life is showing you
Where are you going to
Do you know”

I was always driven by goals and aspirations. I knew when I was in 8th grade that I would move to Los Angeles after college and work in the entertainment industry. It pushed me and gave me purpose and focus. It also kept me out of trouble for the most part. There were things I simply didn’t get involved in because they weren’t part of the dream. I knew exactly where I was going to and loved the things that life was showing me.

So when the sun rose this morning I reflected on the past week and the question resonated loudly, “where the hell am I going?” Because frankly it has felt like I’ve been going around in circles lately. And between you and me, I’m usually exhausted by the end of each cycle.

It’s easy to push for goals and dreams when you’re 23, single and completely focused. When you’re bringing a previous life along, youspinning-plate-1 can feel like one of those performers on Ed Sullivan who spun plates, constantly running back to make sure the first plates are still spinning as you add new ones.

My dreams and aspirations continue to be many. Some are personal and others are focused on my kids/family. And I’m very much aware of the fact that some simply aren’t getting the time or attention they need or maybe not as much as I’d like to be giving them. I’m hoping this means they’ll simply take a little longer to bring to fruition and am determined to keep them moving forward. But the reality is, I’ve got a lot of freakin’ plates spinning and often find myself running around trying to keep them all going. It’s especially disappointing when you see one fall and recognize that the only reason it stopped spinning was because you were trying to keep too many spinning at once.

As Diana sings;

“Now looking back at all we’ve planned
We let so many dreams
Just slip through our hands”

Well, I’m determined to not let that happen.Need to spend a little time figuring out exactly where I’m “going to.” My kids need to see me achieve my goals as much as they see me supporting theirs. It may take a little longer, but one way or another, I’m going to get there. How about you?

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Divorced Status Update!

I noticed I haven’t been writing or posting as frequently of late. Trust me, it’s not for lack of topics or desire to write. I’ve simply been working through what I believe is a new level of understanding and acknowledgement. The last four years have taken a lot out of me. Keeping up the pace of a divorced dad has been draining. Maintaining our home, ensuring the kids get what they need from me, ensuringPeanuts
my work gets what it needs from me. Anyone living this life knows, it’s a lot. And don’t forget staying healthy and staying true to elements of myself that need to be maintained. All of it leaves very little left in the tank (both mine and my Jeep’s).

There are times I worry that I’m becoming complacent. Times when I wish I had more fight in me. But then I ask myself, what is it exactly that I’m fighting for? Where is my energy best spent? Perhaps I’m just mellowing in my old age (that’s a joke btw). But I’m finding myself less and less drawn toward any drama or angst. I just don’t have room for it. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Maybe I simply have less to prove and am ok with living a life devoted to raising three kids and forgoing some of the extras that, though they’d be nice to have, pull me away from my family’s true needs.

And then it hit me. Even in attempting to stay positive and approach divorce with a positive mind, even then, still I continue to focus on the negatives. Why haven’t I gotten farther financially? Why haven’t I gotten farther romantically? Why haven’t I gotten farther professionally? Constantly looking to get farther in all aspects of my life when the reality is, what I’ve managed to accomplish to this point is extraordinary and exactly where I need to be. Would it be nice to have more money? Yup. Would it be nice to be in a romantic relationship? Perhaps. Would it be nice to be the all being master of the universe? Not sure about that one. But the point is, what I’ve managed to maintain; our home; relationships I’ve built with my kids and what I’ve accomplished professionally despite the hurdles of being a single dad, is really something that gives me reason to believe I may be doing OK. There are times when I have to remind myself of that, especially when we’re going through a rough patch and I feel like I’m slipping again. As long as I focus on the foundation I’ve built, I know I can keep moving forward.

Through it all, my kids and I continue to grow and learn. They get a great deal of my focus, which sometimes means sacrificing in other areas. But I wouldn’t go back and skip a single moment I’ve spent on the kids’ behalf. Not one. In fact I wish I had more. I see the benefits of being there for them and them knowing I’m there for them whenever I can be. Even if it just means answering a text. They know I’ve got their back. I see their mom doing the same thing. All of us discovering what’s truly important.

From time to time I don’t write as much. But like you I’m still figuring it out. Even after four years, I’m still learning and gaining understanding in areas I thought I’d already come to terms with. With every stride I make learning about myself and growing as a man and a father, I recognize I’ve still got a long way to go. We all do.

So my apologies for not being there as much as I’d like to be for you. But know that I’m always on your side. I’m living through many of the same struggles you are. And working to be a better father just like you. Stay strong. Keep growing. And by all means stay positive!

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Just Stop Already!

Today I did something I haven’t done in, man, I can’t remember how long.

I just …              stopped.

Stopped working. Stopped creating. Stopped worrying. Stopped pushing. Just stopped. 2015-07-07 21.55.45

I mean, I straightened up the house a bit. Made myself a nice breakfast. Went for a run and grabbed a couple of things at the grocery store. But for the most part I took myself out of overdrive and just cruised in first gear for the day. I really didn’t think it would be that hard. And while for the most part it wasn’t difficult to actually slow down, mentally it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

There has been such momentum in my life lately. Serious momentum. Kids are back in school. Work has been busy and on a good course. New projects lining up. House work. Yard work. Song writing. Filming. Full time job. Getting in 3-4 miles a day. Stopping that momentum was like slamming into a brick wall. I feared that if I, (the electron), stopped; then my world, (the molecule), would collapse. Honestly, I think that.

But for whatever reason, this morning I woke up with no specific agenda. The kids were at their mom’s. And I just slept in.

I’ve always been told I’m an extravert. But honestly, I don’t think I am. If you want to know the truth, I don’t think anyone is completely an extravert or introvert. I think we each sway more one way or another, but inside whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, I think we all have moments when we need to just stop and recharge. Close out the world. And let our bodies and minds replenish themselves. Introverts don’t own that need. We all have it whether we’ll admit it or not.

Being a single parent can be remarkably draining. I could get into all of the reasons, but that’s a whole nother post. The point is, you’re bound to run out at some point. It’s inevitable that from time to time you’re simply going to need to stop. Stop and breath. Stop and think. Stop and recharge.

Give yourself that. Give yourself that and go the extra step and tell yourself that it’s OK. It’s OK to just, stop.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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