Suffice to say that my life began to move forward from that point. When you're faced with this situation, you have two choices: you let go and begin moving forward, or you spend all your time lamenting what has been. I could not lock into the past. No one would benefit by me trying to change or undo everything that had taken place.
I was determined to be a good father. I had found myself falling into a very unattractive stereotype. I had finally begun to achieve some success in my career; I had separated myself somewhat from the Pack down there on Wall Street. I was making good money, and yet, here I was: start getting successful, leave your marriage and family in the past.
I was absolutely hell-bent on not living that stereotype. Let me say here, right now, that I was in a situation that I did not ask for. That's not to say it wasn't my fault, or that I wasn't partially responsible for what took place. But I didn't want my life to be this way. I fought long and hard to keep it together. But truth be told, you cannot make someone love you. You cannot make someone want to be with you. It is what it is. Live with it and deal with it and make the best of it.
I furnished my apartment with the help of some good friends. I had some nice sleeping arrangements for the kids and me. I had a crib, I had 2 beds. I had a toybox and a big closet for their stuff. Life looked like it was going to start getting better. It's very cool how easy it is to impress kids.
Of course, the world has a sense of humor that I don't always appreciate. As we moved into the summer, my daughter was climbing one of the little apple trees on the property with a bunch of other kids. She lost her balance and fell out, in the process breaking her shoulder. Way to be a good Dad, pal.
It seemed to me that every time I had these children with me in my place, one of them would take sick. I couldn't do anything right. Now I know we can't control those things, but you do kind of think "Could You make it any more difficult?". And you know that she is sitting in judgment of your every move. And you make a lot of bad moves...albeit unwillingly.
But I did find my stride when the smoke cleared. I made it a point to make my home safe, inviting secure and fun. Meals were events with the kids and me. The best way to get the kids to eat right is to make wholesome meals that taste good. And I'm proud to blow my own horn here and say that at least in this area it was mission accomplished. The kids liked it here. My littlest one was very much enamored with the idea of having two homes. Two sets of toys, two special cups, plates and placemats. And I can be fun to play with. I like an excuse to play with toys and games. I felt as though I had clearly established the line between being a parent and being a friend.
Actions speak louder than words. Life was beginning to be good. The kids felt at home in my new home.
But Sunday nights were the worst. That's when they went home to their Mom. You never get used to that.