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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Posted in confessions, coping mechanisms, Divorce, Ex Wife, expectations, Family, Family Time, Husband, Inspirational, love, Marriage, My Wedding, Relationships, responsibility, The Meaning of Life, Uncategorized

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!

Posted in Ashleigh, Audrey, confessions, coping mechanisms, dad, daddy, Divorce, Ella, empathy, expectations, Family, Family Time, fatherhood, Inspirational, jobs, Kids, love, memories, mommyhood, moving on, Parenting, Relationships, responsibility, Taralynn, The Meaning of Life, Uncategorized

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
Posted in coping mechanisms, Divorce, Ex Wife, expectations, failure, Family, Kids, losing, love, Marriage, memories, moving on, Parenting, Relationships, responsibility, Uncategorized

Ten Years Apart…


January 29th, 2004.

Although I was twenty-four years old, I look back now and realize just how childish I really was. A lot has happened in the past ten years. I guess that’s to be expected, really. Just wish things were different sometimes, that’s all.

Ten years ago, I stood in front of a judge. She stood next to me. Our youngest daughter was only eight months old at the time. TaraNot really looking towards the future was one of my biggest downfalls. Not realizing that every time she asked about us, there would BE no memory of US. Well, for her at least.

Our oldest daughter was barely more than three years old. She was full of questions that I had no “right” answer for. I made up plenty of things to appease her tiny mind. As she’s gotten older, she’s asked harder questions. AshI’ve yet to venture out and tell her just every stupid thing her dad has done in the past. I’ve yet to lay out in detail every harmful thing I said, and every stupid, childish reason I left.

As these past few years have gone by, our lives have taken dramatically different turns. Turns out that sometimes things are best seen from a distant lens. Looking back, in my memory, is the best lens I have now. Ten years is a long time, and every day that goes by makes my vision a little more blurry.

I DO, remember how we met, however. Without going into too many details, it involved a party. It involved a party that ended with leftover alcohol in my trunk. Halfway through the week, her friends figured out who had the alcohol, and I was called at my job with strict instructions to bring alcohol to a different address that following Friday night.

I remember her boyfriend walking out the front door right as I pulled up, and seeing her and her two best friends at the door. I had a bunch of alcohol in my backseat thinking it was for a party. Turns out it was for these three young ladies. Luckily, they allowed me to join them in their drinking shenanigans, while the parents were away.

Throughout the course of the evening, two of them left with a couple of guys, leaving her and I alone in the house. We talked about her boyfriend, and school, and how her prom was the next night. She told me she was going to break up with him probably the next week, but she couldn’t do it yet because he had already spent money for the dance, and she didn’t want to miss it.

Standing beside her in the kitchen that night, making ramen noodles together, I had no idea that we would fall in love. I had no idea that we would bring two of the most amazing people I’ve ever known into this world.

I do remember our first date being a double date. I remember playing miniature golf with her. I remember getting our first apartment together. I remember every single car we owned together. Every single place we lived. I remember how much my grandmother loved her. I remember so many good things about her, that sometimes I forget why I ever wanted a divorce.

It’s easy to find fault in others. For a long time, that’s what I did. Trust me, there are definitely reasons why we didn’t work, but I was to blame for almost every single one of them. I have blamed almost every hardship I’ve had financially on her, because that’s the easy way out. I put myself where I’m at.

I’ve tried to fall in love again. It’s not near as easy as you’d think when you already have one ex-wife and two kids. It’s not impossible, but it’s definitely not the ideal scenario either. Trust me, however, when I say having TWO ex-wives and FOUR kids, isn’t the most ideal situation either.

I have dated just about every single type of woman in this world, and I’d have to say that none of them have ever made me feel “complete.” I’ve been remarried, and I’ve been divorced a second time. Even the woman I’ve written this blog about never really made me feel complete. Maybe it’s me. I do know one thing, losing them sure does make me feel empty.

I’m feeling sentimental, because ten years is a really long time to know somebody. The fact that we knew each other for years before that, means I’ve known her for a long time. We don’t normally knock on each other’s doors and ask to borrow a cup of milk, but when it comes to our children, we both have their best interests in mind.

There has been numerous times I have seceded a decision to her, because I just wasn’t sure what the right answer was. Likewise, there has been numerous times in which she has done the same. The kids are older, they both have figured each parent out, and they know what to expect from each one.

She has a very important job. Mine, gives me money, but not really that important. She has financial stability, whereas I am still searching high and wide for it. She sets rules, gives punishments, acts as a taxi, and is responsible for half of their smarts, and their adorable looks. I too, set rules, give punishments, act as a taxi, and am also responsible for their smarts and adorable looks.

However, it’s different. It’s different because of our individuality. I am very laid-back. I am definitely NOT as carefree as she may assume, but I have since had two children with someone else. I realize that some battles just aren’t worth the fight. I do not believe that I am a pushover dad, but I will agree that I am not the most strict parent in the world. I have very high expectations of my children when it comes to school, and life lessons are my favorite thing to teach to them.

She has been the perfect yin to my yang, so to speak. We are co-parenting without a handbook, and so far, things are going pretty good. She has since had another child as well (ALSO a girl), and we are all learning as we go.

She has been with the same man for about 8 years or so, and he too, has been a pretty stand-up guy. We’ve had words a couple of times a few years ago, but overall, we respect the boundaries that are there. It sucks that stupid mistakes I made years and years ago, helped him find his happiness, but…I digress.

A whole decade has separated the rings on our fingers. A whole ten years apart has taught me more things about her than I ever knew while living with her. Hopefully, those ten years have done the same for her about me.

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Posted in coping mechanisms, empathy, expectations, failure, fatherhood, Inspirational, jealousy, jobs, love, memories, mommyhood, Parenting, Raindrops, The Meaning of Life

Raindrops on a Windshield…


This afternoon, as I was driving home in the rain, I noticed something different about me. You know, it’s not too often when you actually have an “aha” moment about yourself. Learning new things about ourselves is actually a pretty important part of growing, and it can be very revealing sometimes.

When I very first learned to drive (almost twenty years ago), whenever it rained, I almost always turned my windshield wipers on immediately. Not only did I turn them on, but I turned them on as fast as they would go, because I didn’t want my vision impaired. I wanted, no needed to see the road. Little did I realize just how distracting those wipers were, going back and forth, back and forth, over and over again.

What I realized today, is somewhere along these past few years, I have learned to look through a lot of the raindrops before I reach to turn on the windshield wipers. Then, when I do reach down to turn them on, I almost always start at the very slowest setting. In fact, I enjoy watching the rain fall and bead up on my windshield. I still have my eyes on the road. I’m still focused. I understand there are lines drawn there, and those lines are my boundaries and my guidelines to get safely from one place to the next.

Looking through these raindrops today, as I had my “aha” moment, my moment of clarity if you will, I learned something about myself. I’m more confident than I used to be. I’m not more confident, because I think I can drive safe without using my wipers as much as I used to. No, I’m more confident as a person, because I have started looking through other obstacles in my life as well.

Keeping your eye on the prize, or what you want out of life is not always easy to do. In fact, it is extremely easy to get distracted, sometimes on a daily basis. Getting sidetracked by whatever distraction happens this day, or yesterday, or whatever may happen tomorrow happens to all of us at some point in our lives. What we do about it next, is what makes a real difference.

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First of all, you must remember that not all distractions are bad distractions. There are plenty of obstacles you will come across that will bless you ten-fold. There are some things that are just slightly annoying, but can be easily overlooked, or looked through, and you can keep moving in a forward, or more positive direction.

Sometimes, a distraction can bring your life to an absolute dead halt. These obstructions in our life can be detrimental to how we feel, how we behave, how we treat others in life. You must be very careful when dealing with these things. If you know of someone going through what can only be characterized as a monumental distraction, you must deal with them accordingly. Every one of us behaves differently, because we are wired differently. We have different DNA. Some people deal with a small amount of stress with no problem at all. Some people flip out if the mailman is seven minutes later than their “usual” time.

If you are having a monumental distraction in your life, it is important to turn on your windshield wipers, if you will. In fact, sometimes not only do you need to turn them on at full-speed, but you may also need to pull over to the side of the road and wait it out. By waiting it out, it may mean to lean on a friend. Lean on a co-worker. Pray about it. Maybe no matter what, you can’t find an answer to why it is why you’re going through something. Whatever it is, just know that unless you’re living in a tropical rain forest somewhere, that the rain will stop eventually. The sun will rise again, and you will be able to move forward. The progression may not be in the same direction. In fact, the progression may actually be a regression because you were going about something the wrong way.

Life doesn’t have easy answers. Life is NOT fair. If it was, we’d all be sipping pina coladas on a beach somewhere.

However, there are plenty of times in our lives, where we may panic, we may put our wipers on full-speed, and we don’t need to. Sometimes, obstacles are a great way to learn new things, new ideas, and maybe even learn about other people. Maybe a particular person, is now a very particular obstacle. If so, try to find the good in that person. Weigh it, along with the bad, and see if it evens out. If not, well, it’s up to you on what to do. Like I said, we’re all wired differently. If your job is your obstacle, still go to work. It’s the responsible thing to do. Really, it is. Going to work at a dead-end job, or one that you may feel is “beneath” you, is in fact the opposite of what it may feel like. It should give you POWER, to know that you are doing something uncomfortable, for the benefit of you and your FAMILY. Do it. Look elsewhere, educate yourself, and get that better job when you can.

Until then, look through the raindrops, watch the lines in the road, and slowly reach down to occasionally move the rain out of the way. Just remember, no matter what you believe in, who you believe in, that there are people in this world that are counting on you. There always are. You may not know them, you may not ever even meet them, but they may very well look up to you. Show them that you are every bit of the person that they think you are. Be your own windshield wiper, wipe away the bad, and concentrate on your lane. You do that, my friends, and weights will be lifted off of your shoulders, and the rain will slowly start to disappear…

Posted in confessions, coping mechanisms, dad, daddy, Ex Wife, expectations, failure, Family, Family Time, fatherhood, Husband, Kids, losing, love, Marriage, moving on, Relationships, responsibility, Uncategorized

Coming to Terms…


COME TO TERMS: To confront squarely and come to understand fully and objectively. 526655_10152532066420611_1465192365_n

I’ve been meaning to do this for some time now, this “coming to terms.” There’s a lot of things going on all at once in my life that is forcing me to do this very thing.

By the way, before I get too far into this blog, I would like to point at that I have not one, but two children in my lap. One is being quiet with her blanket on her lap. The other is crawling all around, making a bunch of noise, shaking my arms back and forth, and talking non-stop. So, forgive me if half of this doesn’t make much sense. Then again, because of these kids, is possibly why it will make that much more sense.555929_959032310225_235572427_n

I am looking down at my hands as I type and notice my almost 4 year-old’s hand laying squarely on top of mine. She is very curious as to what I’m doing. Her inquisitive mind is asking questions about what I’m doing, and her fingers are lined up perfectly with mine. I would take a picture, but my phone is on the charger on the other side of the room. At any rate, it’s quite possibly one of the cutest things I have ever seen. It is times like these I can truly appreciate being a father…559975_958943084035_1831013832_n

OK, back to this whole “coming to terms” thing I was talking about. I know I have written about my impending divorce before, but there is just so much more to say. I have so many more feelings I need to portray. I know I don’t owe any of you an explanation, but typing these things out helps my mental health. So, here goes.

“I” am far from perfect. I am full of mistakes, from head to toe. I have made bad decision after bad decision for much of my life. I feel as if I have let so many people down, but at the same time, I know I have proved many wrong.

I am coming to terms with being a single father again. I am coming to terms with allowing myself to care about other people again. I am coming to terms with me not being the person I thought I was. I am coming to terms with my potential. I know for a fact, there are very big things ahead for me and my family.

I am coming to terms that change is inevitable. I am coming to terms that people aren’t always who they portray themselves to be. Sometimes your best friend, is the one who brings you down to size. I am coming to terms that telling the truth is a lot easier than trying to remember a lie. I am coming to terms with the fact that another man has been helping raise a couple of my kids. 181468_10151781129120611_1704243337_nIn fact, he has been with my ex-wife for seven years. I am coming to terms with the fact that although I am still their dad, he is their step-dad and my kids love him too.

I am coming to terms that my children are getting older. Likewise, so am I. I am coming to terms that life has not gone how I initially planned, by I am hopeful that my life will still go on as I am trying to plan it now. I am coming to terms that important things in one person’s life isn’t always important in another person’s life.

I am coming to terms, that my youngest kid will be 3 in two months, and my oldest will be a teenager in 7 months. I was forced to come to terms with my kids getting older this week, because my oldest got braces. I am coming to terms with me not being the nicest guy in the world. I am sorry, to those who have learned this the hard way. I am coming to terms that I have been hurt by people who love(d) me. I am coming to terms that I allowed that to happen. Although I think I know what’s best for me and my family, I have come to terms that me knowing what’s best, is not always what’s best.

I have come to terms with still wanting a family. I still want to wake up every morning next to someone who loves me, supports me, supports us, and does their best for “us.” I want that person, in turn, to force me to want to love them, support them, and forces me to want to do my best for “us.” I have come to terms that I have been a push-over for way too long.

I have come to terms that I really can control my own life. I have come to terms that some things aren’t worth waiting for, and some really are. I have come to terms that people really can change, but sometimes that change brings out the worst in them.

I have come to terms I have not been the best husband. I have come to terms with the fact that I am not the best friend. I am not the best dad I could be. I’m coming to terms with things by typing them out right now for one reason and one reason only. Coming to terms with things sometimes makes you want to do better. Doing better is a good thing. Trust me, I’ve come to terms with that already.

Posted in daddy, expectations, failure, Family, Family Time, fatherhood, Kids, losing, love, memories, mommyhood, school, Uncategorized

Spelling Bee Champ…


It was the year 1990. Or maybe it was the year 1991. I was sitting in my sixth grade class, feeling like I was going to puke. In just a few minutes, I would be sitting in a folding chair, next to a handful of other students. We would be on stage, staring out into a sea of fellow students, teachers, faculty members, and parents. We were about to start the Spelling Bee.

As we went backstage, behind the black curtain, my heart was beating fast. I felt alone. My sister had moved on to bigger and better things (seventh grade), and she couldn’t be there to support me. My mom had to work. My dad had to work. I wondered if anybody would be there that actually came to cheer me on. As the curtains slid to the side, I looked out into the vast audience…and felt alone.

Looking back, it’s definitely a blurred recollection. I remember words being said, students fumbling to repeat them, and students asking the origins of said words. Sometimes, they asked to use them in a sentence. I don’t recall exactly, but I think I just stood there, gazing up at the microphone, repeating the word, visualizing the word, and spelling it right.

One by one they went down. Soon, it was just me and one other person. I wish I could remember the word that I won on, but in reality, that doesn’t matter. I won. It felt good. It was an amazing feeling that I wish I would have shared with my mom, my dad, my sister, my grandparents. Instead, after I received my trophy, I looked back out into the crowd and saw a face I recognized. It was Sister Warren. My pastor’s wife came to support me. The look of pride in her eyes wasn’t quite the same as what my family’s would’ve been—but it still felt good.

A couple weeks later the District Spelling Bee was held at my school. Once again, nerves built up, but classmates went down one by one. Soon, I was the last man standing. Just like the time before, however, I felt alone. My mom had to work. My dad had to work. My sister hadn’t been kicked out of seventh grade yet.

A month or so later, I was a participant in the Jackson County Spelling Bee. The winner of this particular contest went on to participate in the Missouri State Spelling Bee, and that winner went on to the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. Needless to say, my confidence was high.

This time, my mom went. My dad went. My sister went. My grandma and grandpa went. Like I said, my confidence was high. This was my chance to prove to them that I was as awesome as I pretended to be. This was my chance to prove to my classmates, that I was just as awesome as I pretended to be. In fact, maybe, just maybe, if I won the Jackson County Spelling Bee, I could land me a new girlfriend. After all, who wouldn’t want the shortest kid in sixth grade with buck teeth, freckles, and Harry Potter glasses?

The announcer pronounced the words, the students stood in front of that lone microphone, and stared out into the audience. Thinking to myself “I know that. I know that one. That one. That one.”

Finally, my turn. I walk up to the microphone, spy the row my family was on, swallow down the spit ball I had been nervously swishing back in forth in my mouth. The word came out the announcer’s mouth, hit my eardrum, and…it didn’t ring a bell. Seriously. I had never heard it before. Never. Once again, I felt alone. Mortified. I stammered out a “What was the word again?” It was repeated, and I was still stumped.

I spelled the word wrong. My very first round of only the most important day of my life at that point. I failed. As I was led off stage, I went straight to my grandpa, and threw my head in his lap and sobbed. It was the worst I had ever felt. My grandma and grandpa drove an hour and a half to watch me win. Not to fail.

Somewhere along the way, I have misplaced my trophy. The plaque kept falling down off of the wood it was on, and eventually thrown away. I hadn’t really thought about that old spelling bee business until the past couple of years.

*January, 2012*

My oldest daughter is in fifth grade. She is a participant in her school spelling bee. I make SURE I am there. Her mom is there. My wife was there. Win or lose, I make sure she knows we care. Of course I want her to win. I want her to feel that same happiness I felt. The contest is now different. Students use dry-erase boards to spell out words. One by one, they still go down. My daughter makes it through the first few rounds before finally, “reckless” was spelled “wreckless” on her board. My face cringed, and so did hers as she saw the correct spelling cross across her mind. Nonetheless, I am proud. An old friend of mine’s son ended up winning. I am proud of him, too.

Fast forward to December 2012. My oldest daughters have switched schools, and my oldest is in the new school’s Spelling Bee. The week before, my old friend’s son won his school spelling bee again. My daughter, fully aware of this, and somewhat in competition with herself and him, has her confidence on high. In fact, she made a t-shirt with puffy paint that said “Spelling Champ.” Every one else on stage was wearing regular clothes, and my daughter has to go and make a t-shirt.

Once again, I was there. Her mom and little sister watched as students struggled with the microphone, and stumbled over words. A couple of the words, even I wasn’t sure about. Her confidence remained on high, she kept a smile on her face, didn’t act nervous, and she killed it. IMG_20121207_102639Twenty something years after her daddy did it, she pulled off becoming her school’s Spelling Bee Champ! I was so incredibly proud of her, and tears were definitely in my eyes as we made eye contact. Afterwards, we took pictures, her mom and I talked about what a good job we’re doing, and my daughter’s shirt made sense.IMG_20121207_102556

This coming Saturday is the Jackson County Spelling Bee. She will be competing against lots of talented kids. I don’t have a clue what some of the words she’s been practicing even means. All I know, is that I will be there, her mom will be there for her, and no matter what—we will be proud of her. I have a feeling she will accomplish many things in life that we will be proud of. The fact that she won her school’s spelling bee was awesome enough. Just like her daddy, she’s always going to be a Spelling Bee Champ…PicsArt_1358525382486