Life Is Good For Most Of Us…


Bailey-18 (1)

“Life is good for most of us.”

I love that quote. I didn’t come up with it though. One of my kids did. She’s six. :-)

You know, it’s been a little while since I’ve written one of these things. It’s not that I don’t have anything on my mind. On the contrary. I think I may have too much on my mind to even sort into words.

Anyways, here goes…

Every year seems harder than the last. Seriously. If this trend continues until I’m an old man, I will be the most resilient S.O.B. you’ve ever met.

Yet every day, I am greeted at the door when I get home from work from two of the happiest little kids in the world. A few days a week I am greeted with big hugs (usually) from a couple other kids of mine. It makes me wonder when did it start to happen? When exactly did life hand me lemons? And why haven’t I made any lemonade yet?

I don’t remember too much about life before I started elementary school. I lived pretty close to the school, though, so I felt as if I owned a part of it. I played on the playground more than the other kids, I rode my bike across the freshly painted dodgeball circle before anyone else. Heck, in my yellow and black five-speed mountain bike, I popped a wheelie and drove the entire radius of said dodgeball circle before anyone else!

After school, I practiced hitting walnuts with my baseball bat from my front yard and I’d try to make them go over the garage at the end of the yard. Every time I did it? Man, you couldn’t tell me nothing! I was the s.h.i.t.

I had more game than Parker Brothers growing up (in my mind). *Note: If you fact-check me, an error message may appear on this last statement*

Either way, I thought I was smooth, man. My license plates didn’t say fresh, and there were no dice in my mirror. However, my license plates DID say BGDDYJ and there was a boombox strapped in with a seat belt on the front seat because my radio didn’t work. By the way the BGDDYJ stood for Big Daddy J, NOT Boogedy, like my dad thought. Sigh…

I had a basketball goal in the middle of my yard on a telephone pole. I had bushes to climb through, and trees to climb. My dog’s name was Alf. He was the coolest dog ever, except for when he had “special time” with my football.

Speaking of that football, I could throw it all the way into that basketball goal from the other side of the yard. Seriously. No, really. I did it multiple times. Come at me bro.

I had the BEST friends. If I would’ve known how much they meant to me back then, I would’ve never let them drift away. We had nicknames. Oh yes, Big Daddy J was mine. But there was also a Bobby K, a K-Dog, a J-Smooth. There was the kid who I played with in the creek all the time. The kid who let me play his Nintendo if I did his homework for him first. Man, we thought we ran our town.

School was cool, too. I had multiple crushes, none of which liked me back. I didn’t care though. OK, maybe. Sometimes. OK, sometimes I cared, but not all the time. Geez…

School? Easy. Schoolwork? Easy. Life? Easy. I got a job…Life was even more easy.

So, what the hell happened???

Oh yeah, now I remember…

A girl liked me back. Somebody actually liked me. Like, we went out. We went on dates. We became a couple. It didn’t work out. That confidence boost landed me in another failed relationship. Then another. Dating was fun. Dating was stupid. Dating was fun again. Then it was stupid again.

Girls. Girls. Girls. THAT was my problem!

You know what will probably never stop being said to me when I mention to them that “yeah, all four of them are girls…?”

“Wow, you must be getting payback for something! Ha ha ha ha ha!”

So, I think back to all the times I was wronged, and all the times I was uhhh, righted? Is that even a word? It is today.

Anyways, I think maybe they could be on to something. I think maybe I can teach these kids a thing or two about a thing or two. I can teach them to play catch with a football. I can teach them to spin a basketball on their fingertips (I got mad globetrotter skills, bro). I can teach them to do sweet jumps on their Barbie bikes.

I can help with their homework, I can read them books. I can show them that men can fold laundry too, and that boys know how to vacuum. I can show them that boys can care about a girl, and try really hard not to hurt her feelings. I can show them that boys shouldn’t be too proud to apologize and definitely shouldn’t be too proud to cry.

I can wear my emotions on my sleeve, and let them see who the real me is. That little boy that they may relate to one day may be somebody just like me, or he may be somebody the complete opposite. But you can bet your ass I’m going to teach them about both versions.

Most importantly, I can teach them to treat others with respect. I can teach them to command respect in return. I can help them establish borders and guidelines with people they become close to both in the friend sense, and in the “other” kind of friend sense.

One thing that we parents forget sometimes is just how HARD life is as a kid. Sometimes, when we look back in our minds we block out all the bad stuff. Like I just did up there at the beginning of this blog. Like when I mentioned how easy school was.

What I failed to mention was that I was one of the smallest kids in my grade. The only guy shorter than me was the most popular kid. He was funny. He lived in a nice house. He was on Student Council. And ASPIRE (for the smart kids). The other short guy (me) lived in an old house. I had to take Speech class because of my stutter. I had gigantic buck teeth. In fact, they’re still kind of big. I had freckles. Lots of them. I had bifocals. In fact, I was Harry Potter before Harry Potter was ever in J.K. Rowlings imagination.

I failed to mention that when I entered seventh grade, in my first math class the teacher was calling roll-call, and it came to my name. When my name was called, three girls in unison sighed quite audibly. Funny, how twenty-three years later I can still remember who they were.

I failed to mention the back brace I wore for scoliosis, and how people called me Iron Man. Or how I had to wear it for 23 hours out of every day for a couple of years. I forgot to mention how I couldn’t play any sports growing up besides tee-ball in kindergarten because of my asthma and scoliosis. Oh, and it cost money, which wasn’t as readily available to my family as it was to others.

I forgot to mention the multiple failed attempts at a college education, because THAT is the very kind of these we adults try to forget about. We try to forge on in our every day lives, and make our selves better.

It is all of those years of experience, both the good and the bad that I have been trying to keep in mind every time my kid does something dumb. Something regrettable. Something awesome. Something funny. I remind myself of the little kid, then the teenage kid, then the adult kid that I was. I try to put myself in their shoes. I relive it a little in my head.

I think back to some of the things I did and just cringe. Then I think about the consequences I could have faced had I been caught doing those things. Then I think what consequences my children should face when they do something cringe-worthy.

All I know is I will be doing my best in reminding them of one very simple thing…

“Life is good for most of us.”

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“Words Alone Cannot Express…”


Words alone cannot express my feelings about certain things.  However, since I’m currently writing a blog, I thought I’d give it a try.  Don’t be too alarmed if you find a picture or two along the way though.

A few days ago, I had a little one on one time with one of my daughters.  As much as I’d like that kind of thing to happen more, to be honest, it just doesn’t happen very often.  It doesn’t matter which one of the four it is, when it does happen, I don’t take it for granted.

This particular kid is about to turn six years old next week.  She’s smart.  She’s not just smart for her age, but she’s pretty intelligent if she was about to turn 8 years old next week.  She talks “older.”  Does that make sense?  She’s still a kid, so of course she is still very inquisitive about things a six year-old doesn’t know yet.  However, she just seems to have a lot of intelligence about things they don’t necessarily teach in school.

At Panda Express

At Panda Express

So, there we were, eating our Chinese food when randomly she states “Dad, I’m glad you and mom aren’t divorced anymore.”

“You are?” I asked in return.

Smiling, she said “Yeah.  It’s a whole lot easier now that we don’t have to argue about which house we want to stay at.  Now we all just go to bed together in the same house, and we wake up together in the same house!”

Her facial expression changed from a big grin to a rather solemn one almost immediately after saying that, followed with a “I feel bad for my older sisters though.  They still have to argue about where to go sometimes.”

Swallowing hard, and looking into my kid’s eyes, I just felt like she “got it.”  It was almost like this kid understands something some adults never do.  Some adults are so damn stubborn, and some just don’t care, and some just up and leave when the going gets tough.  When that happens, some kids just “get it.”

They get that divorce, or breaking up is hard.  They don’t always fully understand the “why it happened” usually, but they know that it sucks.  They know that they have feelings that sometimes aren’t being accounted for.  They know that sometimes one parent or maybe even both parents have feelings that aren’t being accounted for.  When you talk to different age groups of kids, I’m sure they will all give you a varied response about divorce.

Every single divorce is different.  Every circumstance in every divorce will never be the same as someone else’s.  Different people are in every one of our lives.  Some kids may have the best family in the world, and at the same time, be going to the worst school district in their state.  Some kids may have an amazing education, and nobody at home that even notices.

Bridging the gap between education, friends, family, necessary activities, and extracurricular activities is sometimes a huge integral part in helping children with divorced parents, or broken homes.  Some kids are expected to go to college because their parents did.  Some kids are expected to go to college because their parents did not.  Having a support team in place is vital in our children’s lives.  It’s crucial that we, as parents, recognize when their support team is lacking, or wavering.

My wife does not know her biological father.  I cannot even start to imagine what that feels like, yet she is far from alone in this world.  Having a divorced parent who has joint custody is a far cry from someone you never see. That being said, I can tell you sometimes it feels as if my older kids are on the other side of the ocean even though they’re usually in the next town.

At the bowling alley

At the bowling alley

I talk to my older kids a lot about more grown-up things, so it was a rare moment I shared with my younger daughter.  I was impressed by her words, and inspired by her wisdom.  Words alone cannot express the feeling I get when my kids share their thoughts, their feelings, and their real, honest opinions about things to me that mean a lot to them.

My youngest

My youngest

My oldest

My oldest

Daddy's Girl

Daddy’s Girl

I am super proud to be their dad.  I know they know that now, because I tell them on a regular basis.  I try to show them just as much.  Hopefully I’m on the right path, that well after I’m gone they’ll think to themselves “Words alone cannot express how much my father meant to me.”

Trust me, words alone cannot express just how much they mean to me.

Am I Missing Something?


Am I missing something?  Man, I don’t know what it is about getting older, but I almost always feel like I’m missing something, forgetting something, or just plain lost something.

That’s NOT what this blog is about.  No, this blog is actually about something that you can’t see.  It’s about something you can’t pick it up and grasp between your fingers.  You can’t bounce on it, push on it, pull on it, wear it, drive it, nothing like that.  Recently, I’ve been missing something a lot though.

There’s been a lot of time missing recently.  Time is a tricky thing, isn’t it?  You know what’s crazy about time?  It means something different for every single one of us.  Every one of us will live to be a certain age.  When our time is up, so are we.  Brutal, huh?

Some people seem like they have all the time in the world, while others rush around at an extraordinary pace on a daily basis.  Some people don’t seem to age at all, where others have more gray hair every single time you see them.  People work different hours, so some people spend more time than others during their daily commute.  Others may work a graveyard shift, and miss most of the traffic.  They have “extra” time, huh?

Not really.  That’s the answer to the above question.  We all have the same hours in the day.  We all have the same amount of minutes, and the same amount of seconds in every single day.  Well, until our time is up I suppose.

So, back to my original point about me missing something…

My kids are growing up.  There is a period of my life that seems to be missing.  It’s somewhere between the “Oh my God, we’re about to have a baby” to “Oh my God, I have four kids.  Four!”  Somehow, I have managed to change my kid’s diapers and I’ve managed to see them say their first words.  I’ve managed to watch them crawl for the first time and I’ve managed to watch them walk for the first time.  I’ve actually helped them all ride their bikes and dribble a basketball.  I’ve watched them learn to read.  I’ve managed to watch all four of them grow into beautiful little ladies.

For some reason, I still like I’m missing time with them.  I feel like I’m not there enough.  I’m divorced, so my oldest two spend half of their lives living with their mom.  I miss that.  I miss all of that.  Every second they’re there, they’re growing up.  They’re passing milestones.  They’re experiencing life without me. To be perfectly honest with you, it kind of sucks.

You know what?  I’m OK with that.  I think they’re OK with that too.  Choices were made in the past, that cannot be undone, and our situation is what it is.  That doesn’t mean I’m not missing something.

I got a new job a few months ago, and I finally stopped bartending.  So far, I couldn’t be happier with my decision.  Do you want to know why?  Time, that’s why.  Although I’m actually working more hours at this new job, I’m actually spending more time with each one of the kids.  When I get home from work, I get greeted at the door almost every day by two of the loveliest ladies ever (OK, sometimes three, if their mom is near).  I am finally to the point where I get to see my oldest two girls at least part of the day, four times a week.  I don’t know how I could describe just how incredibly important that is to me.

I know I can’t just magically make lost time reappear.  I know I have the same amount of time tomorrow as I did today.  What I can do, is relish the moments.  I can enjoy things that make me happy, things that make my lips curl into a smile.  Things I appreciate now, are appreciated ten-fold what they were even a year ago.  I am trying my hardest to forge a new path in my life.  It’s not easy.  I get sidetracked sometimes.  I have games on my phone.  I have an Instagram, a Facebook, and a Timehop.

Tonight, one of my daughters had a sleepover at a friend’s house.  When I got home my wife was folding laundry.  After changing out of my work clothes, I went into the living room where the kids had all gathered.  One of the kids asked for some music so they could dance.  I obliged, and they tried to pull me off the couch to dance with them.  I told them “no.”  I had a pretty tough day at work, I was tired, and my body ached.

After a few minutes of watching them dance, I thought to myself “What a wasted opportunity.”  It really was.

I got up, changed the upbeat music to some slower music, and I pulled them close, I spun them like tops, and I dipped them like the clumsy guy I am.  One of my daughters asked if I would dance a whole song with just her.  I cupped her little left hand into my right, put my left hand behind her back and swayed her back and forth.  Every time I looked down at her she was smiling up at me with the biggest grin, her eyes shining bright as ever.IMG_0206

When my youngest daughter asked to be next, I attempted to have that same connection, just on a slightly different level.  After a minute or so, she wanted to be done dancing like that, and for me to just spin her and twirl her.  The smile on her face let me know I was doing something right.

My oldest daughter, MacBook in her lap, iPhone in her hand, ignored us for the most part.  Occasionally she would say “Why do you keep playing these depressing songs?”  It’s been a long time since I had danced with this particular daughter, but tonight I wasn’t going to be missing any time.  I pulled her hand towards me until she had no choice but to get up.  She looked every bit of frightened as I’d imagined she’d be (and her friends weren’t even there watching).  About thirty seconds in, she was asking me to dip her as well, after I spun her around the living room a little bit.1422141609472

It may not seem like much to you, but it sure meant a heck of a lot to me.  And you know what?  Tonight, I didn’t really feel like I was missing something.

Can We Talk About Love?


Can we talk about love? Is that OK? I know some subjects may be a little taboo; and love may very well be one of those subjects, but I think we should talk about it. Cool with you? Good…

Love has a lot of stages doesn’t it? There are good days and bad days. There are so many different types of love that it would be impossible for me to hit on every single one. Let’s go over some of them though…

There’s the love you get from family. There’s the love you give to family. This type of love is usually there for a long time. Even when fights break out, arguments occur, divorces happen—usually “family love” is a pretty lasting feeling.

There’s the love you have for your friends, and that they have for you. This love feels pretty amazing usually. No matter what, your friends have your back, and you have theirs, right? Maybe…This type of love sadly does not stay forever in most of our lives. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely exceptions to this. I’m just saying, don’t automatically assume that when you have a friend in Kindergarten, that they will be crying at your funeral.

Then, there’s the love you have for certain things. Every single one of us loves something. Maybe it’s quiet time on the front porch watching traffic drive by. Maybe you love reading a certain author, or type of story. I have a kid that loves purple! She really does! Maybe you love a certain food, or a certain type of car. Maybe you love Taco Tuesdays. Maybe you love watching baseball. I love this kind of love! See what I did there?

When you first see your newborn child, and you zone out, and just look and stare at them…That’s an amazing love. That kind of love is reserved for your older years. When a kid sees their newborn sibling, or another baby at the store—they usually think “Aww, that baby is so cute!” They don’t normally immediately start thinking about where that kid will be in twenty years, what they’ll look like, what job they’ll have, how many babies they’re going to produce, etc…

When we go to school and start meeting other kids, sometimes we get a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Sometimes your age, a lack of maturity, or naivety play a part in making us think we’re in love at a very young age. Nothing I can say to my kids will ever truly make them understand that, and that’s OK. My job as a parent is to guide them by example, teach them right from wrong, and trust that they will make good choices along the way.

The next kind of love I want to talk about is the grown-up kind. The kind of love that makes you willing to do almost anything, sacrifice almost anything, to ensure their happiness in life. This kind of love unfortunately doesn’t reach every soul. Life happens, death happens, and sadly but truly sometimes love ends because of that. Temptation is a word I wished didn’t exist, because without it I’m sure a lot more “love” would last a little longer.

Grown-up love is pretty cool. By the time you fall in love the grown-up way, you’re usually mature enough to realize it. You hope/assume that the other individual in the mix is mature enough to realize it as well. Now, you guys know I’ve been divorced from my older kid’s mother for almost eleven years now. We got married pretty young, and if either one of us knew what grown-up love was yet, it sure wasn’t apparent. By the time either of us figured that part out of life, we had long since parted ways.

When I met the woman I’m with now, I had no idea that over eight years later we’d still be acquaintances, let alone be husband and wife. Sometimes it’s like that. When I used to tell the story of meeting her, I used to say it playfully, and I got into way too many details. Nobody wanted to hear that. Not for real. Maybe they did kind of want to hear that, because they hadn’t found that grown-up love yet, and they think that I hadn’t either.

Somewhere along this road of life I’ve been traveling these past thirty-five years, I found her. I found my grown-up love. She is amazing. I really do love her. Not only would I do almost anything, or sacrifice almost anything to ensure her happiness in life, I made a vow to her a long time ago to love her, to cherish her, in sickness and in health. I meant it.

A couple of years ago, my wife and I separated. We spent a lot of time apart from each other, and we ended up filing for a divorce. Being divorced is not the end of the world. However, when you love someone…like really love someone, it’s pretty hard to forget. There were many days I would literally have tears in my eyes almost the entire drive home after dropping our children off to her for the night. However, I wasn’t the only one who had fallen into that grown-up love. Luckily, she had too.

Realizing that we still loved each other after every argument, after every disagreement, after every hurt word said—was one of the happiest feelings I had in a very long time. I started asking her to “hang out” with the kids and I for lunch, or the movies. I thought I was being slick, and honestly not very sure in myself if my plan was even going to work. Winning your wife back is hard work people. It’s not like you can just divorce someone, act like you don’t care about them anymore, because they started acting like they didn’t care about you anymore, and then think they’ll just come running back into your arms like nothing happened. That’s not how life works, and that’s definitely not how love works.

Love is earned. Period. You earn love, or you don’t. You prove yourself, or you don’t. You be the man/woman he/she needs you to be for you and the family, or you don’t. You put in the time, or you don’t. You put in the effort, or you don’t. You make them feel special, or you don’t. You help them succeed, or you don’t. You become one entity, or you don’t. You make a pact, you raise a family, and you love each other the way you want to be loved—or you don’t.

My wife is beautiful. She is smart. She has a very dismissing attitude towards some people, and she does not take kindly to people who pry too deep into our life. Our lives have been exposed through this blog, and through our “BaileyLiving” YouTube Channel many years now. She can sing very well, and she can cop a mean attitude even better. She loves our children we have made together, and more importantly, she loves my oldest two daughters just as much. She is an excellent mom, my very best friend that I’ve ever had, and I grown-up love her.

I hadn’t truly realized how much I meant to her until she proposed to me. Yes, you read that right. She proposed to me the second time around. She sang to me, she was sincere with me, and I absolutely loved the proposal. She started working on wedding arrangements almost immediately. I swear, it was like a day or two later, and she had already planned the entire thing. Just typing this out right now makes me smile so big thinking back to her voice on the phone telling me all about it while I drove home from work one night.

November 20th, 2014 I married my best friend again.

US!

US!

There wasn’t a lot of people there. There wasn’t a lot of hoopla about the event. We went to Las Vegas, we saw friends and family, and we got married. When we came home, life is just life now. It seems a lot better now. I like looking down at my ring on my finger. I look at it a lot and feel a sense of relief come over me.My Family

Love fixed my broken family, and made me feel whole again. I freaking love that!

You Can Judge Me…


You can judge me…after I’m dead.

After my life has finished here on earth, by all means, judge away. However, I don’t want you to judge me by my accolades. Don’t judge me by the amount of trophies I won, or the amount of certifications I earned. Don’t judge me by my social status. Don’t judge me by my place of employment. Don’t judge me by the amount of hair left on my head, nor by the changed color of it.

After I’m dead, and you start your judgement, don’t judge me on whether or not I went to church. Don’t judge me on whether or not I finished college. Don’t judge me by the type of car I drove, or the house I lived in. Don’t judge me because I thought differently than you. Don’t judge me because our politics didn’t align. Don’t judge me because I talked differently than you. Don’t judge me because I got divorced. Don’t judge me for falling in love. Don’t judge me for falling out of love. Don’t judge me because I didn’t understand.

Don’t judge me because you’ve seen me drink in excess. Don’t judge me because you’ve seen me places I shouldn’t have been. Don’t judge me because I didn’t have as much money as others. Don’t judge me because I had more money than others. Don’t you dare judge me because of the way I looked. Don’t judge me because of the way I looked at you. Don’t judge me because I didn’t ask, and don’t judge me because I did.

This may seem like a fairly long list, and rest assured, it should definitely be a little more lengthy. However, the list is there for a reason. It’s there because like every one of you, I have a side that is not the prettiest. It’s not the most insightful. It’s not the most handsome. It’s still me, don’t get me wrong. Just be sure to understand, that it is not the only side of me.

As I’ve gotten older, and the years go by, I’ve learned a lot. That, you can be sure of. I’m still a work in progress as are each and every one of you reading this right now. I do have many things I’m proud of. Some of them are accomplishments. Some things I’m proud of are intangibles. You may not be able to see every side of me at once. In fact, you should consider yourself lucky if you catch the majority of them as I pass by your lives.

As far as accolades and trophies, you’re right—there’s not that many. I’ve earned a diploma, sure, and I’ve even received a few certifications in a few things after that. I’m not a wealthy individual, but I do work (a couple of jobs) to ensure I’m not in poverty. I’ve actually worked lots of jobs over the years, and I don’t regret a single one of them. I may not go to church every Sunday, but that does not mean I do not strive for what’s morally right in most cases. There have been times I’ve been fortunate enough to have a pretty decent car, and other times that I went months without one. There’s been times when I’ve lived in a nice house, and others where I was fortunate people cared enough to take me in.

I’ve fallen in love at last count at least 145 times—and that was just the first year of high school! I married young, divorced young, and didn’t learn a thing from it. I married a little older, divorced a little older, and learned lots from it. Am I happier now? Yeah, most of the time. I have been drunk. I have thrown up all over the side of a couple of my friend’s cars because of it. I’ve thrown up in my house because of it. Some of those times I was younger and thought nothing could phase me. The other times I was older and thought nothing could phase me.

I’ve been in numerous places I probably shouldn’t have been. If you saw me there, then before you judge, let me hold the mirror up for you. Sometimes I thought I was rich, when really I wasn’t. Sometimes I thought I was poor, when really I wasn’t. Either way, money is overrated, and I hate that we have to use it to get things. I’m all for going back to bartering for stuff. Sometimes in life, I’ve taken good photos. Like, really good ones. Ones that made me take a second glance, because that model looked a lot like me. Other times, I’ve taken some not so flattering ones. Especially recently. Maybe it’s because I’m gaining weight. Maybe it’s because my hairline is retreating inland like a hurricane is on its way in. Maybe it’s because now when I look at a picture it’s just “me.” That’s what I look like now. Life, in general, has made me look like this. “This,” by the way, is NOT like a model.

Anyways, back to this judgement people like to pass on towards others so much…Here’s what I’d like you to judge me on:

thegirls

My kids. Judge me by THEM. Judge me by their kids. Rest assured, my life at some point in the last few years went from “me, me, me, me, me” to “I have to protect them, love them, be there for them, love them some more, study with them, teach them about boys (trust me, their moms don’t know the half of it like I do), and love them even more.

TARA

TARA

I have to teach them every single thing I know, both good and bad. I have to teach them to trust themselves, believe in themselves, and to be GOOD people. I have to teach them to reach inside their souls and find something, anything that they have a strong passion for, and to follow their dreams.
ELLA

ELLA

It’s such a thin line, we as parents toe each day, as we strive to LIVE through them. Watching them grow, watching them play, watching them learn, watching them argue, debate, cry, laugh, whatever it is.
AUDREY

AUDREY

It is my life. They are my life. They truly are my everything. And I guarantee that by the time you decide to judge me, after I’m gone…You’ll see that I did OK. I am so freaking proud of my children in everything they do. I delight in the smallest things. They make me laugh like you would not believe.
ASH

ASH

They give my life a purpose. Because of them and their acceptance of me, as their dad, I will never worry again what others think about me.

Go ahead, you can judge me…after I’m dead.

And He Loves You

And He Loves You

The Best Things in Life are Free…


“The best things in life are free.” It’s such a simple statement. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who is not familiar with that quote, or something very similar to it. It was a song, then another song. It is the title of a movie, and is the subject of many popular “feel good” images here on the internet.

It really is a lovely statement. If you think about it, and I do mean really think about it, it rings absolutely true.

In forty-five short minutes, one of my children will turn eleven years old. Although it is only forty-five minutes away, this kid has yet to really ask me for anything for her birthday. She gave me a little list to give to my mother and sister, because they insist on lists for birthdays. As for me, her father, however, I get nothing.

I have taken her to numerous stores, mentioned her upcoming birthday to her a few times, and still I get no hints. I get asked for nothing of financial value from her. No, she asked me to make her a lunch tomorrow of nothing but junk food. She wants donuts, cookies, pop, the works; just as long as it’s not healthy. She insists it’s only for one meal out of one day, and for that one day she’s going to be the star of the lunchroom.

When her oldest sister turned five years-old, I took her sister to Branson, MO and Silver Dollar City (just the two of us). For years now, she has reminded me that I took a vacation with her older sister, and not with her. She has come to realize that her dad is by no means a wealthy man, and has not only accepted it, but tries to live in a more humble manner because of it. She knows I have three other children, and she has trained herself to be more wary of my finances than I am sometimes.

For example, if we go out to eat, she almost always orders last. She listens to what everyone else has ordered, and then almost always orders something way cheaper than everyone else. If her sister orders an overpriced drink, she asks for a kid’s meal that comes with a drink usually, or she asks for water. Every time we discuss where to eat, I can hear her have a discussion with her oldest sibling on where it will be cheaper for dad.

I’m not poor, mind you. Like I said, I’m also not wealthy. This child of mine has taught me more about believing in myself than just about anybody I’ve ever met. She’s taught me to love my surroundings and be grateful for everything that I have. She believes that one day, the grass on our side of the fence will be greener, and I hope know that she is absolutely correct.

She’s beautiful from the bottom of her tippy toes all the way up to her lightly freckled, bright, blue-eyed face. Her inner beauty is truly a work of art, it really is. I’ll never be able to fully communicate just how much she means to me, but I hope she realizes what a vital role she plays in my life. She is just one of four, and they are all four very special to me in their own unique ways. Her sense of selflessness is one of her best traits, and she probably doesn’t even realize it yet.

photo (8)She is a comedian, no doubt, and she loves to be the center of attention. She is definitely in the top two for the backseat dancing awards in my family. The kid simply puts a smile on my face every time I see her face. She loves me more than I could have ever hoped she would, and I appreciate her more than she ever thought she could be appreciated. I hope she continues to shine bright wherever she decides to go with her life.

Today at the park, while her older sister and her friend played, she and I took a walk around the trail. Near the end of the trail she made us stop, pick a dandelion, and make a wish as we blew them into the wind. She then crossed them on top of one another, and placed them back intertwined together back into a hole in the ground. She placed grass on top of them, and it was probably the most sincere I’ve ever wished on a dandelion.

I won’t state what my wish was, because I believe that might break the “dandelion-wishing code of honor,” but I do know that my wish was very heart-felt.

I hope she knows, I want her to laugh more. I want her to give people second chances. I want her to learn to be patient with others. I hope she knows every day won’t be a good hair day, but some of them will be. I want her to be trustworthy, and I want her to be open-minded to other people and their ways of thinking. I want her to think for herself, and be the amazing person I know she is capable of being. I want her to find her purpose in life, and use her talents to bring it to fruition. I want her to appreciate the little things, but be willing to work for the bigger things. I want her to be happy beyond her wildest imagination. I want her to respect others, and I want her to earn other’s respect. A good reputation, a happy home, and a happy, trustworthy personality are all very good things in this life to have.

Everything you may ever want in this world, may not come to life, but plenty of it will if you just work hard, play hard, and enjoy the best things in life. After all, they really are free.

I Saw the Most Beautiful Smile Last Night…


I saw the most beautiful smile last night. No really, I did. Its curves made her cheekbones ball up into little spheres right below her sparkling brown eyes. Her whole face lit up, and you could just “see” the happiness overflowing out of her.

You see, last night was Kindergarten Roundup. Although it was my third one attending(fourth if you include mine), it was her first. She was anxious, nervous, excited, happy, and who knows what other emotions she was feeling.

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We sat on the front row for the initial presentation, and then it was off to tour the school. We stepped into one classroom, then off to the next. We looked at the desks, the chairs, the engaging posters on the walls. We looked at the games, the laptops, the massive amount of crayons the children get to use. We noticed her school mascot is a Wildcat, which also used to be my mascot when I was in elementary school.

My ex-wife and I admired the creative spelling children use as we walked through the halls and recognized just how much potential this place carries inside of it each and every day. I imagined kids from every walk of life roaming the halls, checking out books from the library, standing in lines, learning new rules. A set schedule, boundaries, discipline, a caring support group is what every child needs and deserves.

Sometimes we think as parents we can do it all. Heck, some parents DO it all. That is not the route that we are taking, but I admire those that do. We are entrusting our children to a collective group of people to nurture, teach, and care for our kids while we ourselves tend to our daily duties, be it work, play, or a little of both.

Letting go of our children into the big scary world of public schooling, does not mean we are not doing our part. Getting a little help is sometimes all that we need to restore peace and order to our very own lives. That help can come from numerous places, from different people, and from various circumstances.

I’m at such a different place right now emotionally than where I was five years and seven years ago. I am so done going through the motions of being a parent. Now, I am enjoying each and every single moment of it. There are plenty of bad moments to go with the good. However, teachable moments are everywhere around us. Take those moments and learn from them, and you and your children will be better for it.

I am so freaking excited for my daughter starting school this summer. Although she isn’t technically a Kindergartner until August, she is being allowed to start summer school in June. She is already brilliant, talented, and an extremely fast learner, so I know we have nothing to worry about. Over these past few years of getting to know her, I know that this is a huge deal to her.

I can’t wait to do it again next year with my youngest daughter, so maybe I’ll have a chance to see that beautiful smile once again.