Posted in confessions, coping mechanisms, death, Family, finding your way, growing up, Inspirational, life lessons, memories, moving on

Remember Me…


The other night, I took my four oldest daughters to see a movie. It was Thanksgiving, we were restless, and I did not want to go shopping. Since my youngest does not do that well in movies yet (she is a bit of a busybody), my wife stayed home, and I took the girls to see Disney/Pixar’s, CoCo.
Without giving any spoilers, the story involves an aspiring musician named Miguel, who, by chance, finds himself in the afterlife. In his quest to get back home to the “real world,” he searches for his great-great-grandfather. Like I said, I am not going to go into details here, because I think you should watch the movie yourself. However, the premise of the movie is that once your last living relative has forgotten you, you are truly gone forever. Nobody deserves to be forgotten, and if someone remembers you, then you still get a chance to come back and visit your family.
As a kid, I met older relatives, not really understanding who they were, how we were related, what they did for a living, etc. I never really knew them. You know? I have brief memories, flashbacks, if you will, of visiting my grandpa at the grocery store he worked in. I can still remember going to a work picnic at the factory my grandmother worked in. To this day, I still don’t know what they made at that factory.
My great-grandmother and great-grandfather used to live in a nursing home. When we visited, we never stayed long, but I usually left with a dollar I didn’t have when I got there. I remember my great-grandfather wearing overalls and glasses, and I remember his name. I do not know what he did for a living. I do not know what he was like as a person, who he aspired to be, and if he ever reached his goals.
My parents went through a lifetime of hard lessons raising my sister and me. There are some spotty memories, and some stick to me like paint on a wall. I know a lot more about my parents (not really that worried about forgetting them), than I do about my grandparents, my great-grandparents, and my great-great grandparents. In a way, I have forgotten them. I hope someone else in my family is taking the reins and remembering them for me, and showing their pictures to their children and grandchildren, so they will not be gone forever, and can still come and visit us.
Truth is, none of us really know what happens to a person when they are gone. It was kind of nice the other night, nonetheless, to think that my deceased family members come back to check on me and the rest of my family. I bet there were times when they were wondering when I would ever start to grow up. If life really is like that movie, I hope all my relatives come and visit me all the time now. Even if it is just once a year, I am okay with that.
I have heard a lot of names in my wife’s family, and many I have forgotten.
However, I know that I will never forget the nickname, “Apple.” From the stories my wife has told me of her grandfather, I know she loved him just as much as I loved my grandpa. Unfortunately, I never had an opportunity to meet him, and she never had a chance to meet my grandparents. However, I have had the pleasure of meeting her grandmother, and I could not be happier she is now a part of my life, too. She is just as big of a cheerleader for me as my own grandmother used to be, and for that I will always be grateful. PicsArt_11-25-08.27.06

Do not get me wrong, I am still a young man, but my kids seem to be growing up a little faster than I would like. Occasionally, I will throw out a random number, like “five years,” and see how old my children will be then. It puts things in perspective, because I keep getting older by that many years, too. Hypothetically, in five years, I could be a grandfather myself. I could have a kid about to graduate college, another in the middle of college, a couple in middle school, and another in elementary. I know one thing, in five years, “I” will be a college graduate, and if you had asked me about that five years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Life has a funny way of revealing itself to you, and the last year of my life has been eye-opening. Instead of looking at things on the surface, I pick them up, peek behind them, and dust them off before I put them back down. I have struggled with certain aspects of my life, and there are plenty of chapters in my life I wish had never been written. I still struggle attempting to turn a couple pages of the new chapters I strive to write. Despite that, I know there is still a lot of my book left to be written, but one day it is going to say, “The End.” When it does, and the book shuts one final time; I am going to tell you all the same thing I told my kids as we walked out of the theater the other night: You guys better remember me.

 

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Posted in Family, finding your way, life lessons, love

The Path…


There’s this path that I’ve been traveling on.  It’s pretty cool, I suppose.  It takes me this way and that way.  Sometimes it goes straight for a long time, other times it feels as if it goes around in a complete circle.  Either way, I’m not the only one doing this on a daily basis.  No, every single one of us is going down a path.

If you were to take a walk in your neighborhood, you may know what to expect on that path, but occasionally you may be surprised.  Say, for instance, a dog barking at you may take you aback.  A car backing up out of their driveway, maybe a police cruiser or ambulance speeding by may get your attention.

Just know, that you are not alone.  Nor am I.

I wonder about the path I’m on though.  I really do.  Am I taking an easier path than necessary?  Maybe I’m turning into the woods when I should be heading into that open field.  Trying to find things that make you happy in this world is necessary.  Nobody wants to be grumpy all the time.  Unless your name is Oscar.  If your name is Oscar, you have my permission to be grouch every once in a while.  I think happiness is an achievable feat.  I really do.

Finding that one thing, or maybe it’s multiple things that draws your heart to happiness eludes many of us.  Sometimes it’s elusive for many years.  When you do find it, sometimes we realize that our happiness acts like a drug to just ease our pain for a little while.  Thinking back to things that make me happy, I can think of many things that no longer would have that same effect on me if they occurred at this stage of my life.

I hate seeing people fail.  I really do.  I would never wish ill-will upon a person, even if I didn’t like them that much.  I may wish they’d do better, or be better perhaps.  In all honesty though, I want nothing but the best for most of us.  I’m not in a competition with anybody else, I’m just along for the same ride that they are.

I have a hard time judging people these days.  You never know what someone is going through.  You never know what may be burdening them, what may be tearing them up on the inside.  Many of us have become oblivious to the pain that we once used to feel and may not even realize all the bad vibes we may be giving off.

I try to remain positive throughout each and every day, and some days i succeed and other days I fail miserably.  Yesterday, was one of the latter days.  I had a bad day yesterday.  I questioned the path I’m on.  It’s not like I’ve never second or even third-guessed myself, buy yesterday was painfully obvious to me, and probably to most that was near me.

I’m not going to sugar-coat it.  Yesterday I was not at my best.  So far, today has been much better.  My oldest daughter yesterday could tell I was having a moment.  I cannot, and for the most part will not tell her every single thing that’s going right or wrong in my life.  She knew, however, that her dad was vulnerable for a little while.  I hate that.  I hate not being Superman when I need to be.  My other kids didn’t really seem to pick up that vibe, and by the end of the day my path was clear once again.

It really is a neat thing if you really think about it.  Just imagine, if you will, leaving your house one day and not getting in your car.  Imagine all of your neighbors just walking out of the house and onto their paths.  You look down and see your feet going one foot after another down yours.  Sometimes you’d have people to chat with on the way to where you were going, and other times you would have plenty of time to enjoy a little solitude.

What if your children, instead of walking to the bus stop, walked on their own little paths?  I like to think of that, and just imagine what is on each one of their paths.  I bet my oldest would pass by a lake, maybe a pool.  It’s probably filled with friends, money, and cute boys.  My next oldest one would pass by photography studios, the YouTube headquarters, friends, her family…oh, and probably cute boys.  Next in line, my six-year old’s path would probably be filled with butterflies, sweet dance moves, cooking shows, and plenty of paper to draw on.  My youngest daughter’s path, I imagine, would be filled with her family, her pretend “purple grandma,” her toys, my phone, and loud noises.

Then I think of my wife’s path and I imagine it being filled with her family.  All of them.  I know she misses them and doesn’t get to see them very often.  I think of her hopes and dreams, and I see her path being filled with a loving home.  It’s filled with all the expert DIYers and home flippers on HGTV, FYI, etc.  I see her in her wedding dress again, looking at me like “You better get it right this time, Mister.”  I envision her holding our new baby, and making sure our other kids are being taken care of.  On her path, I envision her being truly happy.

When I look down at my path it is filled with love.  Plain and simple.  I want love.  I want to feel loved.  I want other to feel like they are loved.  Even strangers.  I want us all to succeed in this life.  Not just my family.  I want certain member of my family to do better than they are of course.  I’m sure they wish the same of me.  I look down at my path and see a new home my wife and I can call “ours.”  I see me doing home renovations making it everything we want in a home.  I see smiles on my kid’s faces, and see them going through every stage of their lives.  And do you know what?  I sense myself on this path I’m carving enjoying every single second of it.

To anybody reading this, just know that there are empathetic people out there.  There are people who care about you, even those you may not even know.  Forge your own path people.  Find your happiness.  Hold onto it.

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