Dear Toby, (8/31/13)

Dear Toby, (8/31/13)

Hey son. I hope that when you are reading this you are doing well. If not, you’ll be ok. You’re a tough kid. I’ve seen your toughness in your eyes when you’ve fallen down and wiped the dirt off your knees or the flashes of defiance in your eyes when you don’t want to give up on something. You were a tough kid, you’ll be a tough young man and then a man.

I was looking at pictures of you. It’s insane to me how fast you have grown up in just a short amount of time. There was a time when you were pretty much just a little bowling ball that rolled around and couldn’t do much.

I came to pick you up at daycare the other day and I notice something was wrong with your feet. You had your shoes on the wrong feet and your socks inside out. My first reaction was to get mad at your teachers for doing this. Then one of the teachers said this is the way you wanted it. Quickly I realized that it was one of those moments when you were trying to grow up, trying something on your own. Chances are you gave the teacher that look of defiance, wanting to do it yourself. I know the look. I’ve seen it. Given it. You keep growing up. Just not too fast.

Love,
Friend Dad

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My rules

There is a common “getting to know you” question that pops up from time to time. It’s a question I love and hate. I love it because it has to do with food. Hate it because it almost always messes with how you view food. The question is “if you only had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?”
Seriously? I think that any food, no matter how good it is or how well it’s prepared would get old after awhile. You would eventually get sick of it. That at some point you would probably learn to hate it. I love fried chicken. If it was the only good I ate for the rest of my life chances are I would either die of a heart attack or starve because I would get sick of it.
Too much of one thing can be bad. You get overloaded. The “thing” loses it’s effectiveness. If you are a football team and you run the ball over and over and over and never pass, well eventually the defense will just play to stop the run. It’s the chance of a pass on any given play that makes the run game effective.
Another example is apologies. For me, too many apologies just lose their effectiveness. If you apologize a hundred times over and over, it doesn’t make you more sincere. I would much rather have you apologize once and mean it, than apologize a hundred times and kinda mean it. Constant apologizing makes me wonder, why? Why are you apologizing again? Did you not mean it the first 99 times and some how this 100th time is suppose to make a difference?
I personally don’t apologize much. Mostly because I believe if you are going to apologize then you should mean if. If you don’t mean it, don’t apologize. I hate when individuals apologize because it’s “the right thing to do”. Honestly, I kinda see it as a form of lying. You are saying something you don’t really mean.
The final issue I have with apologize is a lack of change. If you are apologizing over and over for the same things then it brings into question how sincere are you? It seems pointless to apologize or accept someone’s realize that this all seems very cynical and ridged but I think that there should be rules for apologizing and doing it correctly. Maybe there are rules, I dunno. Regardless of what else is out there here are my rules:
1. Apologize once
2. When you apologize, mean it.
3. If you don’t mean it, don’t apologize.
4. Make an effort to change.
Maybe it’s just me and wanting rules and guidelines. Maybe apologize are too complex to have rules. Maybe none of this makes sense, but these are my rules.

Get through the day…

So it’s 12:25am. Am I asleep? Hecks no! I’m laying here, on my phone, clicking this post out to you all. There is seriously something wrong with me. Why can’t I be inspired to post when Toby is watching “Sleeping Beauty” for the 12th time in two days? Why can’t I think of something while I am watching “Hell on Wheels”?? (Great show by the way, 3rd season just started, seasons 1 and 2 can be found on Netflix). Seriously though. This is insane.

Ok, now that that’s out of my system. So tomorrow is a big day. It’s our yearly inspection at work. It’s when the state of Pennsylvania comes in and makes sure that the facility is following all the rules and regulations and that everything is running smooth. Needless to day, it’s a pain in the ass. Not because of the people coming to do the inspection but because of the people worried about the inspection!

Ok, I should probably clarify some things. See the inspectors are suppose to find things wrong. It’s their job! They are going to find something wrong. I have a feeling if an inspector came back and said that there was nothing wrong with our place they would immediately get fired! No, it’s the people that worry about the inspection because its a bunch of catch-up! No, not the stuff you put on fries, but literally catching up on all the crap that should have happened throughout the year. It turns into “who is the biggest chicken with their head cut off” contest, but not nearly as bloody… Well…

Anyways, I was having a discussion with a caseworker the other day. We were talking about the role that government plays and how we are essentially taking away individuals reasons for working if we keep giving them hand outs. It was an interesting talk because we both work in a field that is essentially paid for by the government, to parent kids because either their parents can’t parent them or they have too many problems for a parent to parent. So, I brought up the point that the government steps in because they don’t trust the people. The caseworker replied that she doesn’t trust the government, which I found highly ironic because she works for the state and well in many cases is the “government”. We ended the conversation agreeing that no matter how you look at it, things are pretty messed up and not a whole lot we can do about. I honestly don’t know what this story has to do with the post itself but I thought it was funny that a caseworker essentially said she didn’t trust herself.

So back to this whole inspection. This is probably the most important event that will happen all year. It’s insane because the entire time leading up to the event you feel so unprepared, the day is coming, there will be problems, you can’t stop them and the best you are hoping for is to just get through the day. We’ve all experienced this sensation in one form or another. Weddings are best examples I can think of. If you have ever been married or been in a wedding you know that no matter how many hours that have been put into planning the event you never really ever feel completely prepared. And yet… It still happens. You get through the day. Are problems here or there? Sure. In the end though, you get through the day.

I think sometimes in life we want to be prepared for everything. We want to have all the t’s crossed and i’s dotted. I know I do. Then there are times when you can’t prepare anymore. That time has run out and life is happening whether you like it or not. The inspectors are coming, the bride is walking down the isle, the kids are walking across a stage. It’s happening. We do the best we can. In the end sometimes all we can hope for is to just get through the day.

So dumb and so relieved

Ok so I know it’s like 12:28am! Jeez. For some odd reason I get inspired around this time. Maybe it was the kettle jalapeño chips I had. Very tasty by the way!

Well I’m not here to talk about chips, I already had that conversation with a friend. It got intense. Words like sea salt, baked and sour cream were thrown around.

No, tonight is about getting lost. I’ve posted on this subject quite a few times. I think I have documented a decent amount about how much I hate being lost! Let’s face it, once you are abandon on a train you tend to want to know where you are going at all times. This is a different kind of lost. You know those friends that dive head first into a relationship? That dive so deep that they just disappear? As in you go from seeing them everyday to not seeing them for months at a time? It’s that kind of lost that I am talking about, people who get lost in relationships.

The thing about being lost is that you have a tendency to lose perspective. Funny story about a time I lost perspective in New York. My ex and I went to New York city years ago, back on college. It was honestly a great trip. We walked around, ate great food, had a blast.

We drove into the city earlier in the day. We paid a crazy amount of money for all day parking at a parking garage. At some point the thought of the parking garage closing crept into one of our minds. We pulled out the ticket to see that the ticket said it closed at 9pm. We were on the other side of the city. It was around 8:30pm. Crap.

I don’t know why but we had this thought that the parking garage closing meant that our car was going to be locked inside. So we hurried as fast as we could go get to the other side of the city. We get to the garage a little after 9. The gate is down. Crap. The ex, starts crying. I start to panic. I keep it together long enough to see that there was a random door bell/intercom system. I press the button. A man with a thick accent replies, asking what I want. Panicking, I tell him my car is locked inside the parking garage and I need in to leave!

After what felt like an eternity, two men come down out this side door. I ask them for help. Completely dumbfounded they look at me for a moment. Then they motion for me to follow them. We go to the other side of the building. The gate is up.

Yeah, the garage closed at 9pm. That meant they were not allowing anymore cars in. The exit gate was open. In that moment I felt so dumb and so relieved. I lost perspective. It took two complete strangers who thought that I was a complete idiot to help me see what was right in front of my face.

In relationship there is a tendency to dive in deep. So deep you get lost. You lose perspective. You cut ties with good friends, friends that can help keep you grounded. Friends that can help give you that perspective you might need. We do it with family too. Just get lost and lose all touch. Too often we go caving into a relationship but we cut off the guide wire and then we can’t find our way back.

I’m happy to say a friend has found their way back. I missed you. Next time though, try and not get so lost.

I wake up suddenly…

I wake up suddenly to noises in the house. My heart begins to race a little bit. The fight or flight begins to take over. I feel my body forcing itself to wake up. The noises sound like someone stumbling. I hear feet shuffle across my hard wood floor. They hit the step and tumble down. They are getting closer. I pull the covers off. I hear them trip over toys. Then there is a cry of frustration as they step on something. They get closer. Suddenly they pop in the doorway. His little head first. Followed by his shuffling feet.

“Dadda!”

“Come on little man”

12:37am

Well it’s 12:37am. One of those nights where it seems like everything and nothing is on your mind at the same time. Various scenarios roll through your head like a movies spliced together by a second rate editor. Thoughts about work blend into thoughts about Toby and his future. Scenarios of different relationships roll through, all seemingly ending like a Shakespearean tragedy.

Then comes the what ifs… The what if I would have said no.. Or what if I would have said yes… Or what if I would have turned left… Or taken the red pill… Ok the last one never happened… Or did it? Anyways, these roll through like a huge snow ball that you are pushing around your yard, it gets bigger and bigger. Each turn it weighs more. Weighing heavily on your mind.

The whole thing begins to spins. The what ifs mix in with the tragic scenarios which turn into a monster of questioning every choice you made, going back to those choices and then projecting what life could have been had you made other choices. Which inevitably roll into more choices but then you begin thinking about those choices but they aren’t real because now you questioning yourself on choices based upon an alternate reality and the next thing you know, your alarm goes off and you feel more tired than when you went to bed.

Stumbling forward

Sometimes I feel lost. First, I should say is I hate being lost. You know the feeling where you aren’t sure which way to turn? When you look left, right, ahead and behind but none of them seem to be right? I know there some people out there who love to be lost. Who love driving for hours with no map or GPS. Who can walk around a city and not even see the “important” sites. That’s not me. I like to know where I’m going and how long it should take to get there and what I’m going to do when we get there.

I did get lost about a month ago. Went for a drive with a friend. Just drove and drove and drove. No idea where we were going or how to get home. Only one time did I think we might be in danger but it passed. It was interesting because I still felt uneasy. I still felt lost, but I felt safe. I felt that even though I was lost, it wasn’t a big deal. It was at the very least interesting.

Recently I’ve caught myself thinking about where I am. What I’m doing and what’s going on. One of the hardest things to do in this life is gain a sense of belonging. It’s been interesting being back in my “hometown”. Seeing random people that I know, knew. I feel an awkward disconnect because I don’t know who they are and they really don’t know who I am.

One of the things I try and get my students to understand is accepting. Accepting where you are in life. It’s an odd paradox that we as humans strive so hard to find acceptance but we fight accepting people, circumstances, our own lives.

It’s been an interesting journey with all of you who have been reading. I think that you have seen me go through some critical stages and its been reflected in my writing. I think the stage I am currently in is borderline accepting and yet still feeling things out. I feel a little bit all over the place tonight. Kinda like being lost. It’s an odd and uneasy feeling but it’s not a bad or dangerous feeling. I picture myself like Toby when he first learned to walk. He knew he could but he just couldn’t get the footing down. He would bobble back and forth until got enough momentum and stumbled forward. I suppose I am stumbling along but at least I think I’m stumbling forward.

Do Something!

Just over a month ago, my buddy Jeremy did a one month challenge where he committed to working out everyday for a month. He did a vlog and posted on a Facebook site: http://facebook.com/just1month . At first I thought that a month seems like forever! And everyday? Come on, you need a break once on awhile right? Then of course I got to thinking … It’s just a month. And I do need to get into shape.

So I talked to a buddy at old man bball. He suggested I jump rope. I don’t have to go anywhere. The workouts are quick and really challenging but at the same time I can go at my pace. I took him up on his advice. I went to my local Walmart and bought a cheap $3 jump rope, a arm band for my phone and downloaded a jump rope app.

I’ve jumped roped for 3 out of 5 days… Two of those days I played softball and basketball. My goal is to Do Something for the next 30 days. Either jump rope, run, play bball, softball, or just SOMETHING!

Now here is the problem, I am tired. My legs are sore, my butt cheeks are sore… Yeah I said it, my ankle hurts, and I really really don’t want to jump rope tonight. I know I should. I know if I give up now… There is a good chance I won’t start back up again. That this will be just another failed experiment. I’m just about ready to tap out, toss in the towel, to raise the white flag. Then I think about why I am doing this. I’m doing this to be healthier. To live longer. To have more energy when I play with Toby. To be able to push myself a little harder in softball and bball. These are the things that are propelling me. So… My goal is 550 jumps tonight. I may not reach that. But at least I’ll DO SOMETHING!