Friday, February 27, 2009


I thought about what I wrote yesterday with the whole "flying" thing and all. It brought to mind something else I wish was possible.

There's really no hope of a really quick fix for what ails us all in this country, and I'm sad to think of the hundreds, if not thousands, of us who probably haven't finished with the pain. We're expected to band together, suck it up and come out of this as a nation, yet so much of the trouble was created by people who don't identify, nor even care about what the many people who have been hurt by irresponsible, borderline stupid, behavior.

Wouldn't it be nice, if even for a few minutes, we could find a magic spring somewhere, and each and every one of us could just dive in for a minute or two, and wash away all the hurt? Just leave it behind for those few moments and feel good again.

Unfortunately, we all know there's no such remedy for this kind of pain. It's going to take a lot more work and sacrifice.

But it would be nice, right?

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I always thought about being able to fly. I knew that it wasn't possible to do, at least not in the way I imagined (yes, we can board a plane, but it's not the same thing!), but I always thought about what it would be like to actually leave the ground and go aloft.

I can't put a word to the feeling you get when you have to accept some reality or another. It's a nice sentiment, "You can do anything you set your mind to," but in reality, there are some things you can't do, no matter how much brain power you apply.

I think about the way my life has changed, and how certain things left my control. You can't make someone love you, no matter what. You can't have a job that doesn't exist any more, and you can't make yourself love someone either.

For the most part, I try to look at those situations in order to find something positive in them. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end, as the song goes.

I wouldn't so much say that I'm mournful for some of the things I've lost, because I did my best in one case, and I had no say in another instance. No regrets, right? Time for a new path.

But there are other things that I still imagine happpening, that I know won't happen, or shouldn't happen. I have no place taking the field in the NFL. There isn't a movie bad enough to have me in the starring role. But while I can't be the next Bill Gates, there are little compromises you can make and find happiness as a result.

I have some awesome, lifelong friendships with some wonderfully beautiful women because I was able to "just be friends" with them and not pursue anything more. That's hardly a compromise. I've become physically handicapped in the last couple of years; this brought my sports "careers" to and end. But, that has allowed me to experience some incredible kindess and consideration from others. Hardly something to be sad about, because kindness doesn't always come from the direction we assume.

There are a few things I really want in my life, but just can't have. It's that simple. But I put that aside and just enjoy imagining what it would be like. Besides, with my fear of heights, flying might not be so great.

Did this make sense?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I don't believe that people who do bad things are always consciously aware of what they are doing. I'm not talking about criminal behavior, I'm talking about the day-to-day not-niceties that people inflict on each other.

Part of my life's philosophy includes the notion, "You can't blame a dog for being a dog." Kids generally goof up until they're taught proper social behavior; a poorly timed burp might require some manners updates, and now the kid knows it's not acceptable to let fly at will.

We receive guidance from the day we're born, at home (at least if the parents have any sense at all, a huge assumption to make these days), in school, etc. But there isn't always a rulebook for adult social behavior. We take our cues from those we admire, or want to emulate.

There are a couple of people from whom I receive good tips for different aspects of my life. I've always been big on trying to be respectful, but there were a few things I did, ideas I had, that weren't exactly on target until I heard stories from these people in which something upset them. I would think to myself, "Wow, I did that once," or "Oh man, you mean that's wrong?" Behavior that I thought was very polite was in actuality quite the opposite.

In two instances, I've cited lessons I was "taught" by the words written by these people I consider role models, and was met with odd looks. The thing I'm curious about is this: Do any other grown-ups out there still have role models they look up to? I know I do, and I try to "behave" because I know these folks wouldn't approve if I didn't; in other words, I try to live up to the standards they set because I believe I'm a better person for it.

What's your take? Do you have role models still?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

True Friendship

We all need something to make us smile occasionally, don't we? I mean, yeah, I know, life gives us reasons to smile every day, but sometimes, someone really does something that matters. A person will step forward and do something for us without any agenda other than to make us feel good.

That's when you realize how great it is to have friends who care.

I was given an award last night. It was given to me by someone who has been so much more of a friend to me than I could ever be to her, but yet she took the time to say to me, "You are a good friend." How can you not smile after something like that?

People sometimes question the value of an "online" friendship. I won't debate it with anyone because it's an intensely personal matter to me, and I can honestly say that some of the very best friendships I have in my life have their roots in online initial contact.

Those friendships include people I have never actually met in person, yet they've brought so much value to my life. Suffice to say that I wouldn't trade those friendships for a million dollars. My life is so much better because I took the time to get to know those people. And that's a sincere statement.

So, while it was a difficult process for me to select only four people to share the award with, I decided, "my blog, my rules" and went ahead and passed this award to a few extra people.

I am sharing this award first with Cassie. Once in a while, we really get lucky in life. I say that because we sometimes encounter good fortune without doing anything to deserve it; it's like a reward for something we haven't done yet. I don't question good fortune, I simply express my gratitude and enjoy the benefit. My friendship with Cassie is something I will always consider a high point in my life. She has literally carried me through some of the worst times of my life, but has also shared some of the best times I've ever had. Her Blog is private at the moment, so I'm not sharing a link, but I am sharing the fact that my life would not be the same without her. She has been blogging with me since way back in the AOL Journals days, and I'm glad she's still writing, and still my friend.

Emily, or "Ms. Emily" as I love to call her, is another friend who has certainly been witness to a lot herself, but who also has always managed to be the kind of friend to me that a lot of other people can only hope for. Emily is another one whose friendship comes with no strings, she's just there all the time.Another fun thing about Ms. Emily is that she never gets tired of kicking my butt in card games. She's just great, it's as simple as that!

Her blog isn't private, although she needs to write more: One Step at a Time.

I think about people who lend a hand in other ways as well. I have a friend who has seen through to the spiritual emptiness that was plaguing me. Kristen is someone who had the wisdom to figure out part of the reason why I was hurting, and recognized that nothing would be right in my life if I didn't have peace with God. She has worked tirelessly to help my find my way back home. I'm almost there, and I'm so grateful to have this friend in my life. You have to realize that, since you know me, dealing with me isn't always easy. She's shown enormous patience and kindness to me. That's a gift that never gets worn out. Thank you, Kristen. I don't want to publish a link to her Blog without permission, but if that works out, I'll gladly share that with you all.

My friend, whom I affectionately call "Mamma" is another person who has helped light my spiritual trail. When I think about all the stories I've ever heard about people lending kindness simply for the sake of being kind, I realize how fortunate I am to have someone like her as a friend. Again, the patience required when dealing with me has to be enormous, and she exemplifies the pure spirit of human kindness with every word she shares with me. This is another case where I am truly blessed. Mamma's blog is located here

Some friends seem as though they have been a part of your life forever. Now I know that this is not the case with my online friends, but it feels good just the same. One of those people is my good friend Nancy, with whom I go way back. If you want to know of someone who really has enormous patience, this is the person to talk to. She has been there before, and I know she'll be there again and again. Her blog is wonderful, and she has an incredible talent for photography that she shares so willingly with us. Come look at the Blog here

I figure I've taken enough of your time for this. I tend to get a little bit gushy when I talk about those people who are so very important. I hope you'll indulge me for today.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

About The Giving

My friend Mary has continued a tradition that began back in the AOL Journals days. It's a way for the community to show its heart to the world. The Blog is called "Give...a Hand Up" and it can be found here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

And So It Goes...

I liked my life again. I came to grips with the fact that the life I had was gone, and lamenting it would simply stop me from enjoying the days I still had coming.

That sounds like it was an easy choice. It wasn't. There were a lot of lonely nights out there waiting for me, but they were nights during which I did a lot of learning. And a lot of missing. I realized how much better my life was with the kids in it. I was determined not to be the "fun" Dad, who made every weekend a party. I was determined to be the kind of parent that I'd seen in every single Mom I'd ever admired. Those women weren't living a crusade. Those women were molding good children. I wanted to live that way too.

I firmly resisted the invitations to date, to have relationships with anyone other than my kids. I didn't want to be a boyfriend, a date, a husband, to anyone else. I wanted to be Daddy. And I wanted to be good at it.

I didn't strive to be "perfect," mind you. Being a perfect parent is something I believe is impossible, and striving to be the "perfect" parent has the side effect of making one forget to actually be the parent because perfection takes up too much attention. Make sense?

Somewhere in late 2003 I was set free by the counselors. I was given a virtual gold star rating. But the rating wasn't for being a perfect Dad. The rating was for being someone who was just trying as hard as he could, and staying committed to being the best parent I could be. I could expect a lot of mistakes in my "career", and I could either keep trying, or drop the ball completely.

I was ready to find out what the world was going to do to me. I was also ready to find out what the world was ready to do for me. Single Dads do get a lot of help, ya know.

It's been a good ride so far, at least as far as my relationship with my kids goes. The older two are teenagers now, and, believe it or not, they still talk to me. They don't tell me everything, (I'm not that naive), but they still talk out problems with me. And my nine year old girl still wants to hang out with me. She cooked dinner with me Sunday.

It's not perfect. It's cool, though. It feels good not to be a bad guy. It feels better being a good guy.

I think I'll keep trying to just be a good guy and let the chips fall where they may.

And now back to my regularly scheduled program. I hope this helps anyone who might want the unenviable task of trying to figure out what makes me tick.

Thanks to anyone who took this little side trip with me and still wants to come back to talk to me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Sidestep...

I was thinking about being a kid. I had a sister and three brothers, and a host of playmates when I was growing up.

Inevitably, there would be arguments. It really was more like "bickering" than arguing; something silly would set off these little spats. And the funny thing, most of them were unwinnable, but that never stopped us. We'd battle it out until the frustration peaked. Sooner or later it would come to something like this:

Oh yeah...oh YEAH? Well..well you're just a STUPIDHEAD!

That got me thinking today.

There are unwinnable arguments and bickering that I still engage in. And I was thinking about how, despite being grownups, we still eventually get to those "Oh YEAH?!!" moments, right?

With grownups, though, it's at least a little more relevant...sometimes. "OH YEAH? Well your family is nothing but idiots anyway..." or "OH YEAH? Well, you're just like your FATHER!" You know what I mean.

So, what's your "OH YEAH? moment? Something irrational that you may have blurted out recently, something you knew was dumb the minute you let it fly? C'mon...'fess up. We're all guilty...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Out From Under The Glass

The counseling went pretty much according to script. The counselors laid out a game plan that would dictate our course of treatment. As I said, there was no upside to me refusing to participate, and I found that there was a lot of good that would come of our sessions. One week, I would go alone. The next, I would go with the three kids. Then one kid at a time, then the family as a whole. The same would apply to her.

What I got out of it was this: being a "single dad" was a misnomer. There was no "single" effort on my part. I had a lot to learn about being a Dad all over again. Being solely responsible for the welfare of three kids really begged for a lot of help. I was making mistakes, and I was being taught that, while no one lives a life mistake-free, the best job I could do would be to make the best efforts not to repeat any of them.

It was great actually. I went in fully expecting to be completely crucified, hearing a long litany of things I did wrong. It truth, it wasn't the case at all. The kids were comfortable with the counselors, and they spoke freely. Much to my surprise the kids, young as they were, appreciated and understood the effort I was making. I had them over my place every Friday through Sunday, and six weeks during the year for my vacation time. I was doing my part, and I was fulfilling my desire to be 100% involved in their lives.

Sure, I got chastized for some of things I thought I was doing right, and given tips on how to improve things overall. While I'd always been a bit of a night owl, it didn't take much to work on that. I would go to bed earlier, get up earlier and make more of the time together.

I wasn't a bad dad. And now I had "professional" backing for that statement. It was a pleasant surprise for a lot of us.