Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why I Love Sundays - Being a "Single" Father

For one day each week, everything is perfect.  I don't feel the failures when I'm at the park.  There's no resentment or regret when we're reading.  It's impossible to feel sadness and shame when we're singing, or sliding, or swinging.  Playing with trains and Lego blocks replaces any pain.  Everything wrong is replaced with everything that's right.

Never in a million years could I imagine myself becoming a "single" parent.  I use quotations when saying I'm a "single" parent because I really feel more like a parent who happens to be single.  My sons mother is responsible for the majority of the parenting that's taken place since crashing into the world of co-parenting.  And she's doing it perfectly.

In no way am I raising this beautiful baby boy singularly. Not even mostly, not equally, and not good enough.  If seven days a week wasn't enough time for me to be with my son before, how could a small fraction of that even come close?

But what do you do when you're torn between rebuilding your life, while trying to spend time with your only reason for caring?  How do you discover the type of person you will be moving forward while being the father he deserves today?

When the separation first took place I seriously contemplated whether or not I should even bother trying to continue being the father he deserved now that I wasn't going to be in his life 100%.  How could I face his mother, leave our home, not kiss my son goodnight every night, miss out on many of the things we were going to learn together, yet still be as committed as I was the day he was born??

How do you go from CEO to a part-time temp, with enthusiasm??

These are the thoughts that probably race through the minds of some "single" parents when deciding to part ways.  But, in truth, I soon realized that he needed me now, more than ever.

Though our home may be broken, I refuse to be the reason his heart is as well.  All kids need a father as much as they need a mother.  And, if for only a few hours a week right now, I will be the absolute best father this little boy could ever ask for.  For that one day a week I'm whole, and he's with his daddy.

He taught me that I'm not a single parent, I'm his father.  Something I am always, every second of every day, for the rest of his life.  I love Sunday's, I love being a father - his father - and I love, most of all, that weekly reminder that he too loves his father.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Move On to Move Up

Most people are more comfortable with old problems than new solutions.  This, I believe, is true in many areas of life; relationships, health, profession, finances, etc. etc.

It's not always comfortable to walk away from a situation that we've learned to tolerate and survive in, into a world where we could possibly, maybe even probably, thrive in.

I'm starting to understand and appreciate the value of a closed door more than ever before.  They say that when one door closes, another opens.  I only partially agree with that statement.  The door that opens for us only matters when we actually decide to move on from the closed door, and walk through the new one.  Life is full of doors, windows and walls that we can walk or break through whenever we muster up enough courage.  Regardless of where we are currently, at any time, and at any moment in life.

The time will never be perfect to move on and move up, yet it's almost always the right thing to do.

Seth Godin proclaims that "Winners quit fast, quit often and quit without guilt". 

The bigger mistake is not that we decided to move on, but that we didn't move on sooner.  Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but did we honestly believe that our boss/spouse/health would improve by continuing to do and act the same way that created the mess in the first place?? Rather than Moving On and Moving Up, we committed ourselves to an exercise in futility.

Just quit.  Quit sooner.  And move on. The people and things that are meant to be with us will always find a way to root themselves into our lives.  No matter what.  The people and things that are not meant to be with us will always find a way to fade away.  No matter what.  Just quit, sooner.

Don't bother investing more time into a dead end.  Redirect that energy into more meaningful things - your family, your health, your finances and new relationships.  And if what you're doing isn't working, do something new, something different.  Close that door swiftly and deliberately.  And move to the next one.  It just might be the exact door you've been looking for this whole time.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Closest Stranger

It's amazing what happens when you mix love with life, or life with love.  It changes people.  Not necessarily for the worst, or the best.  It's just a change.  And the biggest problem with change....its never easy, and its never quite soon enough.

Reading through previous posts, it's amazing how someone who once occupied the largest space in my world, in such a short period of time, can become a stranger.  As corny as it sounds - I immediately hear Gotye's Sombody That I Used To Know streaming through my brain.

There comes a point where you go from being best friends to the most intimate of strangers. Imagine walking past someone on the street one day, and immediately knowing every single thing about them.  Their deepest desires, fears, insecurities. Remembering the moments when you two were the only two people that existed. Recalling, in an instant, every moment that changed your lives for the better.  And in the next instant, remembering the pain they caused that you pray one day will subside.

The same person that will forever hold a place in your life, and in your heart, you now walk right past, refusing to make eye contact with. And then they're gone. You turn a corner, they turn a corner, and you keep walking - running - from an encounter you hope doesn't happen again.  But that you know will.

I suppose its easier that way.  It's easier for us to carve that part of our lives out entirely and pretend that if it never was, it could never be again, it never happened to begin with, and therefore I can't feel it.  We start by flipping this switch inside, shutting off any positive feeling that drags a painful memory behind it.

I say, "Go ahead, flip that switch".....I know it wasn't all bad.  It doesn't change what I know.

When one says "I'm better without them", the other knows "I'm better because of them."
When one says "I deserved better", the other thinks "I wish my best was better."
When one says "I can't believe I stayed so long", the other one simply says "Not long enough".
When one says "I don't need them!", the other knows "I wouldn't have wanted to do it with anyone else."

Go ahead, flip that switch.

To viciously tear out a previous chapter in this novel of our life because it didn't end how we had hoped, seems....well.... foolish to me.  That chapter will just be a part of my life - full of drama, humor, happiness, sadness, disappointments, regret, pain and love.  A lot of love.

That chapter is over, and though it's not worth re-reading, it will always be a part of the story.  Again, it's over. But the rest of the story is just beginning....turn the page.