The Gift of Not Gifting

Over the course of time I have become enamored with the idea and action of gifting.  There are so many rewards to the heart with the act of giving.  What people tend to forget is that there are also so many potential setbacks.

Here’s an  image you are likely familiar with if you have been on the internet longer than five seconds.  It is a silly but accurate reminder of what I will be alluding to with this post.

free_candy_van

When my children were here with me over the summer, I wanted to do so much for them.  Any parent should understand how hard it is to be apart from their children even for a short time.  So, when the time came that they were finally here, I wanted more than anything to give them the world.  To get them here in the first place meant the world to me.  In that regard, I am thankful that I was privileged with the company of good friends to facilitate that visit happening including getting them here (despite my ex husband moving cross country without any notice so he could be with the newest woman he met in a video game) and even getting them to Disneyland.

While the material things themselves were wonderful, especially as I was beyond broke and having to tell my children that unfortunately I could not buy them everything, the act of it was far more meaningful to all of us.  Or… at least at that moment.

As more moments passed where my children have been distanced, I have began to abhor giving.  Not because I don’t want to… but because I see the little acts of bribery and compensating techniques that are actually happening.  Giving, especially to children, gives less when it is done all the time.

Both of my sons have had birthdays since my last postings.  I have found myself taken back with disgust for the reactions to giving and lack of giving done to them.

A little bit of a super personal background:

My oldest son is currently living with my father.  It was a decision made years ago as a temporary solution to my ex husband essentially leaving me in a very desolate space.  So desolate, in fact, that I am finally gaining the momentum to…

My younger son and daughter are living with their father.  That situation is extremely delicate and frustrating.  The man stole my children and ran off with them after emotionally and physically abusing me.  My last visit was the first one I had been able to get in YEARS as the man had: told them someone else was their mother, refused to take phone calls, and jumped states and cities several times while he leeched off some woman.  I have been working on this- without assistance- for a long time now.  As you may know, however, Los Angeles (and most of California in general) is a very difficult place to get on your feet.  I have suffered and learned so much from this grand place.

Since that visit, things have been progressively different.   My children know again that I am their mother.  They are very young and are starting to question the world around them.  This is something I have been encouraging and my ex has been discouraging.

(No guy like that wants to hear: Why did you keep me from a mommy that loves me so much and wants to be in my life?)

As the years and bits of time have passed, I have seen first hand how damaging both of the environments are for them.  One of the biggest reasons?  It’s the one thing that I haven’t been able to do a ton due to the lack of free flowing finances… as I have been working to recover from the financial shackles I allowed my ex husband.  Giving has been a cross to bear actually.

My younger son, when here, showed a major addiction to video games.  This is not completely surprising.  I met his father at a gaming company I worked for years ago.  His father has met two women in online gaming since me.  He is clearly focused on gaming…  it is… at a frightening level.  I fear that my son might…

A friend of mine loaned me a Game Boy for the plane ride and while they were here.  As my son didn’t have a portable gaming device, he was enamored with it and didn’t want to let go.  Combined with his learning and developmental problems, this only made me more nervous.  Near the end of the visit, I didn’t want him to have anything to do with the device.  He couldn’t handle the responsibility on even a sharing level and would break down when it was taken away.

As his birthday approached, he voiced to me on a webcam visit that he wanted a portable gaming device for his birthday.  I told him no.  I explained that he had not been able to handle it and, when and if he could show me differently, I would reconsider it.  At this point, he broke down.

“I don’t like you Mom.”

Can you guess what happened after that?  Yep his father and his latest girlfriend bought him one.  They had overheard the conversation.

It was one instance of many with regards to gifts that has bothered me.

When the calls were to initially start, and the kids had left here, the gifts and things I gave them were mysteriously lost.  I sent two cameras out to even get the visits.  They never arrived and there was an excuse for several weeks paired with talking down to me and telling me that my confirmation slips and testing of equipment were simply not true.

Something important given to my daughter also went missing.  One of my grandparents sends jewelry found at thrifts every so often. I found two butterfly pins in a bag of jewelry and decided to do something special for the two of us.

I gave my daughter a pink butterfly pin and I kept a green one. I told her where the butterfly came from. That it was from her great grandmother.  It would be a reminder of each other no matter how far away we were each time we wore it.  I told my daughter:

“No matter how far away we are, when we have these on especially, remember how much your mother loves you and that you are always with me, even if you’re not physically there.”

“You’re not just my mommy.  You’re my friend.”

It was a way to remember the love we shared no matter how much distance was between us.  It was nothing fancy material wise but it was a special bond between the two of us.

In addition to the butterfly pin, I gave her a jewelry box with other little costume jewelry. I told her to make sure she kept the pin safe in the box.

For a couple of weeks after the visit, it was a wonderful and special shared moment. She told me that she had worn the butterfly to her first day at the new school.  I wore it en route to a prospective client.  It was the magic and love of giving.

Not too long after she returned she told me that her father lost the pin.  We had talked about it on our phone calls prior.  He had to have known how special it was to us.  But there it was, coincidentally missing.

Another instance with my kids has been that the kids are always showing me gifts on my weekly webcam visits.  They then ask me when and if I will be sending them things.  It happens every single week.  Items are shoved in front of the camera.

“Mom look at what Tuffles got me.”

“Mom look at this [thing given by my ex husband & his girlfriend]”

It’s always something.  And it was always followed by:

“Mom when are you going to send us more things?”

I found myself responding more and more:

“Gifts are not the measurement of love.  I show you how I love you in ways beyond gifts.  Material things are  great but they’re not important.  Hearts and genuine love are what matters.  Those are the real gifts.”

My ex husband and his girlfriend didn’t like this very much… and the consistency has not faltered.  I await tomorrow’s gift.

Now back to California and my oldest son.  My oldest son knows I have an affinity for fish.  After some casualties, I found myself with an extra small tank.  I wanted to give him this tank and get him some betas.  There had been a whole economical discussion about it and some comical adventures with his siblings (to be written about in a future piece).  He told me that he couldn’t have fish because his grandfather said no.  The tank topic stopped and we went to birthday requests.

My son’s birthday present came from some great timing as I assisted my friends over at Loot Crate.  The box included a Ninja Turtle action figure amongst other geeky treats.  Since this son was named after one of these figures, it was absolutely perfect.  To add to it more, there was a blind box key chain from Futurama in there as well.  There is a very embarrassing story of when my son was a toddler that revolved around the character Bender.  We didn’t know it at the time, but Bender was in that blind box.

For several weeks leading up to his birthday I tried to coordinate something to assist with it.  I wanted to have a pizza party and make decorations with my Preval vFan Airbrush System and center the experience around that (albeit small) gift.  It didn’t happen.  My father wanted to do everything and spared no expense to get the biggest, most unnecessary amount of tokens and gaming for my son and his friends.   Oh and about the fish?  I arrived at my father’s house to find that my son now had a goldfish… and that my father had bought a big tank specifically him now.

My father gloated about all of it.  My son was happy, but ungrateful.  It was frustrating.  I couldn’t say anything until after the fact.  I wanted my son to have an enjoyable time with his friends.  I watched, but kept my distance.  I wanted to allow for some independence and freedom.

When I was to go back to Los Angeles, my son had an attitude about him.  He was unappreciative and showing it.  I explained to my father that this was part of the reason I didn’t want things to be so extravagant.  He didn’t agree.  He just kept gloating about how much he’d spent.

My son and I discussed his gifts when we got back to Los Angeles.  There had been talk of me taking things away as a form of discipline for him being ungrateful.  The talk helped a lot.  I saw my growing little boy in there.  After our talk, he apologized and went back to tell his grandfather that he didn’t like how he was treating his mother.  He remembered that gifts, while great, were not everything.

I have a stack of material things I wanted to give the kids.  I wanted to share some small things with them to show them that I think of them constantly.  But now?  I am now in a position where the act of giving has soured me from wanting to do it… at least in one way.

“I believe more and more in the words I spoke to my children.  Of the importance of the heart and compassion that are far more material than any material possessions.  I struggle daily trying to get to the point where I can give them everything I dream they would want.  But perhaps, especially in this instance it’s for the best.  Perhaps the best gift for them is what I have been doing all along… the real one that they need the most…. and that’s holding back and not giving. 

The book of Jena-sis: What’s God got to do got to do with it

And now for a reading from the book of “Jena-sis:”

Once upon another life in a land far far away from where I currently reside, I grew up Catholic.  My parents would like to believe that things I was taught by this exposure to ten years of Catholic schooling would be the best thing that they ever did for me. Some may say that’s part of why there has been as much “wrong” with me.

Religion has been popping up all over in my daily endeavors as of late.  As the book of testament would tell you to “Keep Holy the Sabbath” I figured what better day than a Sunday to talk about it?

There are quite a few reasons why “my path has been led astray” from what my parents attempted to instill in me all those years ago.  Many of them are based within the foundations I was taught by said religion is the very reason as to why someone should be religious in the first place.

Religion taught me about the bad people do as hypocrisy ran rampant amongst those who attended or found themselves “at the house of the lord”… almost as much as it did the good that resides in people.  That is, not to say that there aren’t genuine hearts that attend religious functions. But, like the rest of the world, I have come to understand that there are fewer and farther in between.  And, more so, that those who do good for others generally have an agenda a majority of the time.

Religion taught me there was very little that was actually wrong.  It showed me ten important things that were to serve as life reminders of the correct path… but that following these ten important “laws” did not matter anyway as all of the wrong I did would be quickly excused in a matter of moments as long as I sat in a box and told a stranger who technically couldn’t tell anyone about it anyway.

Religion did teach me some wonderful things that I wonder where I would be had I not gone to all those aerobic Sunday meetings of sit, stand, kneel.

Catholicism taught me about the real life application of the world itself being a stage.  (This was later re-confirmed as I found myself with copies of Shakespeare books.)  “Fame” was something completely attainable.  I could stand up in front of an audience and force them to listen just by being in the right place at the right time.  It also taught me about elaborate storytelling as talks about a man being swallowed by a whale heightened my imagination as I saw that so many people can actually believe things to be facts no matter how ludicrous things are.  One could argue that I therefore learned about marketing, manipulation, charm, charisma…

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In other words, religion taught me sin and how to get away with it without the worry of actual recourse for my actions.  There was very little I could have learned from attending church on a Sunday and receiving a sacrament that I honestly didn’t understand at that age anyway, that I couldn’t have gotten had I had parents that showed me… books, the news (not just Fox News although my father regularly watches) on tv and taken me outside a bit to different diverse neighborhoods to expose me to world experiences.

Why, as a parent would I want my children to attend church to learn all these things rather than allow them to experience the world more naturally and learn these same lessons in the real world where they could then learn tangible approaches to these forms of people and… maybe actually learn that actions should always be accountable?

There are many other reasons as to why I’m opposed to the exposure of religion to youth.  I won’t dive into all of them with this entry as some items are…  a bit far away down the rabbit hole personal wise than I feel comfortable “confessing” in this box of text to strangers.  However, the main reason why I do not believe in following in my parents footsteps is that, with the knowledge I have obtained from personally going this path and seeing truth outside of it, it is that the mind is simply not developed enough to understand the complexity of a potential “higher being” whether its “God” or aliens, especially at that young of an age.

The word “God” is not a basic concept just as the word “love” is not.  Telling kids to read from the best selling book in the world and that these things are fact while a giant band plays on stage might make them excited and happy to attend but it doesn’t necessarily teach them things beyond using a scapegoat to get out of their actions the moment they do “wrong.”  Giving children material things or taking them to places like Disneyland (which I admittedly have done both of) doesn’t make or show a child the true meaning of “love.”  It is far more than that.

If anything religious could be said that could explain how I would even consider a religious context from a book being introduced to my children, it would be this passage found, ironically, in an interpreted version of suppressed text from the Gospel of Thomas, a text outside of the canon dictated by the Vatican:

“The Kingdom of God is inside/within you (and all about you), not in buildings/mansions of wood and stone. (When I am gone) Split a piece of wood and I am there, lift the/a stone and you will find me.”

If my children want to seek out some “higher being” as a purpose for their lives, I want them to be wise enough and old enough that they can understand its complexity.  I also personally feel that they will not find these answers without questioning the world around them… outside of a church.  You may believe that all the answers you desire are found within those walls but, as I have found, the only answers that matter or should hold any sort of weight are the ones learned from the within the heart.

Simply (my interpretation)-

“To find the world and all its answers, find yourself first and you will have all that you need.  Nothing will ever fulfill you like yourself.”

My son, the Future Ferris Bueller

better than gym

Last night was absolutely amazing.  This week has just been a whirlwind as well.  I’m pretty boggled by how everything is just dropping into place.  Truly, there is magic in the air.

Yesterday I had the privilege of writing a piece for a new client that included both a reference to one of my favorite childhood cartoon characters, splashes of color and… the movie I looked to for years as the pinnacle of awesome.

I feel, quite frankly, almost as if I am cheating at this whole “adulthood” thing.  But that’s another story.

I didn’t know it earlier this week but all of this would eventually tie into its own sitcom like bubble in its own time.

I’m writing on a blog that looks like a chalkboard and writing about school… It’s….

Speaking of which- I spoke to Ethan about how he started school this week.  He’s not thrilled.  He’s ten years old.  He doesn’t understand why his artist punk rock mom would be envious of his time at school.  Of why I started to brim over when I was approached by a potential academic writing client for a university project…

Dad called me the day prior to ask me what I was up to. He was the catalyst to the last piece of ribbon on the present of my present (and subsequent story).

“Hi [embarrassing nickname] what are you doing tomorrow night?”

“I don’t know right now. It really depends on [redacted]. What’s going on tomorrow night?”

“I was wondering if you want to go to the baseball game.”

“Yes! I would love to go! When is it?”

“It’s tomorrow night at 7. Can you get to the stadium?”

“Yes. Or at least Union. Could we potentially meet up at Union? It’d probably be easier for me and the bus goes right to the stadium.”

“Ok.”

“Who are they playing anyway? Is it a promotional night?”

“Yes they are giving away bobble heads.”

“Oh that’s great! I want to get some people to go with me for Hello Kitty bobble head night on the 9th so I get a couple for me and Sakura. Who’s playing tomorrow?”

“You can only go if you promise not to root for the Dodgers…”

“So… who are they playing?”

” …the Cubs.”

“Tell you what pops… if you bring me a shirt to wear, I can do that.. maybe.”

“Do you want to go or not?”

When I got in the car, there was a shirt waiting for me.  I was told that it was too big for Ethan.  I didn’t actually expect that to happen.  I guess he didn’t want me to cheer for the Dodgers that much though.  I was in such a happy glowy mood that I ignored the potentially passive aggressive move and just played along.

“What are you doing tomorrow during the day?”

“I think I need to be on site to meet with someone, why?”

“I accidentally bought tickets to tomorrow and realized that they were during the day so Ethan can’t go since he’s in school.”

I then sat there and tried to urge my dad to let Ethan have a Ferris Bueller ditch day and go to the baseball game.  It was all the makings of it.. right down to the Cubs playing.  Nonetheless, he didn’t go for it.

“I never took you kids out of school when you were younger so why would I start with him?”

“Because you’re grandpa now and you’re supposed to let him get away with a few things that I would generally not say ok about.  That’s why.  Besides, it’s the first week of school.  Just say that he’s “sick.”  He’s not going to miss anything…”

And then it happened.

“Mom I don’t want to go to the ballgame.  I want to go to school.”

What the heck just happened? Did my kid seriously just tell me that he didn’t want to skip school to see a baseball game?  Suddenly I feel like I’m doing something wrong here.  When did I fail at showing my son the way to be cool?

“Ethan you can’t be serious.  You told me the past two days about how you didn’t like school and were complaining about having to go. Shut your mouth and let me help you get the day off here already so you can enjoy the ballgame…”

My dad was in the front with the biggest smirk on his face.

“Mom I want to go to school.  I want to learn things tomorrow.”

Checkmate.

It may take a little while before he gets to the level of cool of his mother but… I’m confident that he will get there eventually.  But for now I’m going to just… go over here now.  I can’t really complain too much about it after all.  (But I’m totally going to…)

I failed

…because sometimes you just feel like this when stuff happens (sexy I know huh)

 

This weekend didn’t go quite as I’d expected.  It was supposed to go a lot more smoothly.  Today (or rather, now two days ago) you were supposed to come on here and find a brand new layout and all that.  It was supposed to be all shiny and pretty and full of zoom.

I failed.

I failed big time this week.

But sometimes when you lose, you win.

What is it about this city?  About this life?  About my choices that I fall in love and crash crash crash and then… find a way back to new plateaus of love even higher than I did before?

It’s… very Los Angeles.  The city and I… we are lovers and the best of friends and… the worst of enemies.  I think that’s part of why stubborn lil ‘ole me just won’t accept failure.

I totally still really failed this week.

I failed big time.

But sometimes when you lose, you win.

In full disclosure: I initially started this blog piece on July 15th.  And, while you can see that I have changed the layout (unless you are a new reader, in which case- welcome) at least, I haven’t really blogged personally in months like this post and some of my updates on my personal social media outlets would like to say to be ready for.  But that’s not the only thing that’s changed and, has essentially kept me from posting this before now.

Let’s go back to more of what I had drafted then though–

There are stories five years in the making that will be coming true  came true instead.  What I thought was potentially impossible was indeed possible.  They just aren’t weren’t ready to be going to be on a shiny new blog format… just yet.

As you might recall from a past blog, I mentioned that my ex husband had taken my kids and has done so much to keep them from me.  He believes this is for them, but unfortunately it seems otherwise.

As the visit has now passed with this latest edit, I wish that I could say that my initial thoughts on the subject are different.  They are not only not different but they are worse.  So much worse that I have committed my heart to push even harder for the cause: them.

So much has happened in these past weeks of not posting.  So many beautiful and wonderful things.  There are stories that cannot wait to be written… but will have to.  Rest assured your patience will not go without its reward.  I know that five years later through all of this, mine was most certainly not.

There is so much hope for today and tomorrow.  More hope and magic than I even imagined.  Things are happening.  It is a flood.  I want to both cry and shout out and humblebrag about it in thanks.

I’m trying to do little of either.

I totally still really failed this these past few week weeks.

I failed big time.

But sometimes when you lose, you win.

That said, I look forward to telling you more about my failures and accomplishments as the days come…

when I’m able to…

when I’m ready to…

and that’s just.. going to have to be ok.  Ok?

(Get used to it and love you all lots.  Thank you for reading. Happy Sunday.)

Point of No Return

Point of No Return by LastGlance

“I wanted to call you to tell you that I’m leaving LA today.  I won’t be coming back.”

He wasn’t leaving me.  I had left him months ago.  But his recent trip back here originally planned for work purposes turned personal and…

“I knew better in February.. but it was already too late. Interesting.” I’d tweeted a few days prior to that day.

None of this was a surprise.  None of it.  Even the bad things that transpired and came into light on that fateful night.  This had been unhealthy.  I had let it continue too long.  We both had.  And now the hurt had to… at least be put on pause.

“My dad cares about the baby.  He hasn’t been the same with me since you told him.  He’s been on my case about things.  He doesn’t like the situation.”

I had liked his parents.  We’d met briefly back in April on this two day excursion where they visited.  They had been very welcoming and had offered to help us a bit.  I didn’t tell them then I was pregnant.  He didn’t want me to.  But it had to come out a bit later.  After a phone call where he cried to me about how much he needed help (this was not the first time I had seen how he’d needed it but it was the first real time he admitted it) after I’d left that night.  I looked them up online and found the information.  He needed the intervention and I didn’t know who else I could turn to.

Since then he made a point to make them seem like they didn’t care about anything and that the whole thing between us/going on/his issues were just… something they’d rather not deal with.  My heart was very broken about it.  In particular after a conversation with his father where… things had gone particularly out of left field from a previous conversation where he not only agreed that his son had needed help but they had essentially given up on him since “he’s done this for 20 years”, he’d “done this before and will likely do it again”, and “had been given help in the past but that hadn’t been enough to change it.”  I thought that his family did not care at all about the baby.  Hearing Bear talk about otherwise was bittersweet.

I essentially heard the words “hopeless cause” and… it really tore my heart out.  I can’t imagine how hard that was for Bear to hear.  I can’t imagine how hard it is daily for him.  I… too wish I had been able to save him but at the end of everything, I couldn’t.

He’d left me a message on my phone apologizing after five missed phone calls the night prior, a suicide threat and 911 calls a few nights prior to that, and an introduction and talks with another woman whom he had not mentioned prior but had a brief “affair” with back in December while we were together and… was currently with again previously unbeknownst that dreadful drunken somber night.

After.

After.

After.

Alas this was the “after” after the “Happily” and “Ever” portion of our relationship.  It was sad and broken beyond repair.  All hope had gone beyond lost.  And months later, I was still obliterated.

Rewind to a week prior-

I got the ultrasound and had found out the sex of the baby. He seemed “back”.  He was eager and happy to be a dad.  He didn’t want me to have an abortion.

“Don’t you dare kill my son.”

It was a complete 180.

But things changed. Just as instantly as that picture had touched him and he’d felt connected, he disconnected again.  And even last week before he left he was finding him again trying to pressure me into getting an abortion.

I nearly considered it and I felt terrible at even the thought.

” I won’t be coming back.  What reason do I have to?  What reason do I have to stay at all?”

I shouldn’t have had to answer that.

It was wrong.

So very very wrong.

He doesn’t see what he did.  He doesn’t acknowledge the cheating.  He doesn’t care about getting mental help or quitting the drinking or “living higher than the poverty line”.  He only cares about himself… and protecting trying to salvage the relationship with the other woman who he had been with for six years prior to arriving in Los Angeles… a woman that… he had taken full advantage of her kindness and… loneliness.

(Another blog.  Another time.)

“I want you to be nice to me and I want to be nice to you. I am scared. I want to put my hand on your belly and feel the boy punch my hand with his little fist.”

I didn’t see him while he was here.  There had been talks about it but nothing had happened.

“Why did you tell me that if you didn’t want to see me?  Why did you tell me all the rest of those things if you didn’t want to work on things and come back?”

“I was drunk.”

“I wanted to call you to tell you that I’m leaving LA today.  I won’t be coming back.” he told me when I called him back after that message.

Here stands the official point of no return.  As of 22 weeks, Planned Parenthood will not perform an abortion on you in the state of California.  Last week was the last official time I could potentially go through with the procedure.  I think about how much has happened from that first message, ages ago when he told me he loved me.  From all the terrible correspondence that has transpired after many bouts with his erratic behaviors.  With my struggles to keep myself as composed as possible while going through everyday.  With…

There is no more returning to that sadness anymore.  That life is gone and a new one is officially going to be here in a few short months.  I don’t have much more time to prepare but… that’s too bad.  Life doesn’t stop even if your heart does… at least this way.

Editor’s note: I recently made a completely dedicated audio blog.  From there you can listen to voice mails left from Bear to me (for purposes of this entry) as well as found sounds and other miscellaneous dialogue from my adventures in the big city.

He knows- My grandfather’s brave struggle with Alzheimer’s

This morning I woke up physically ill to the point where I had to push back a meeting originally scheduled for this morning to tomorrow thereby making tomorrow’s task list.. a doozy to say the least.  But at least a lot got accomplished and is in process.  Life is an ever evolving (hopefully) series of self processes.

After I went back to bed I woke up only a few minutes later to a phone call from my father:

“Do you want to talk to your grandfather?”

At not even 8am I knew that dad must have finally made his vacation to visit them.  Despite the illness, I obliged… always ready and happy to hear anything I can from my grandparents especially at this most delicate time.

“What are you doing right now?” my grandfather said.

“I’m in bed right now..”

“Is the sun shining?”

“I think so.  Pretty sure.  But I’m in bed right now what are you doing?”

“It’s early there huh?  You don’t sound well.  Are you sick?”

“I’ll live.  What are you guys up to?  When did dad get there?”

“We’re at a graveyard visiting people.  I don’t know when your dad got here.  I don’t remember..”

“You’re where?!”

I got frustrated.  What the hell was my father doing taking my dying grandparents to a graveyard?  I understand the desire to pay his respects to those lost and now in their plots back home but…

and my grandparents, as well as my dad, already have their spots waiting for them.  Potentially in that graveyard.  It made me feel more ill and upset when I even attempted to stomach it.

I would have to talk to my dad about it later.  Just another gap in a huge communication issue.  I couldn’t say anything about it to grandpa.    And even if I did, he probably wouldn’t be in a position to really hear it to understand.

“It’s sunny here and it stopped raining.  We’re just visiting people for a few minutes.  Do you remember Pat Cole?  She played the organ at church.  I remember that lady.  I don’t remember much these days but I remember her.  Or I think I do.”

Pat Cole was ancient when I was a kid.  What I remember was her house being a cluttered mess and always smelling of smoke and formaldehyde.  I remember as a kid that I used to joke that she was already a zombie.  I couldn’t tell grandpa that either though.  I didn’t want to come across as being rude.

“Now we’re in the car going to get your cousin some clothes.  She doesn’t have enough.  We’re going to get her some more…”

I could go onto a tangent about this cousin and that part of the family alone but that’s another one “for another blog”.  Let’s just keep things at my grandfather for now.

“How are you enjoying Ethan being there?”

Grandpa laughed.  You could hear his smile through the phone.  Ethan is his first grandson.  You can almost tell he has a special spot for him.

“He’s a really great kid.  Really really great kid.  Smart little bugger.”

“How are you and gram doing?  Is dad taking you to doctors and things?”

He then went down another path.

“My memory isn’t what it used to be.  I can tell.  I know that something just isn’t right.  I can’t remember what I used to remember easily.  I don’t know why but I just know it’s not right.  All I can do right now is try and make the most of what memories I have and hope these ones I’m making stay put.”

I think about the things my grandpa has told me over the past month over the phone.  Of the phone call I had when I was crying because I felt there was no one I could turn to that could get to my dad like they could… and him floating off into another world where he.. knows he’s barely here anymore.

I don’t know if all men or people in general go through that “knowing” period like he is.  There is a part of me that wonders if this will be my fate as well.  If all the magic that I learned about my grandparents was nothing compared to the magic and wisdom and honesty and compassion I am seeing coming from them in these, possibly their last years.

I don’t want to think about the visits to graveyards with end dates now placed on my grandparents’ headstone.  

I think about how much my grandfather seems to know what is happening and… how brave he is being throughout all of it.  Grandpa is known for being a bit of a cry baby at times… like when he was young and his semi truck got stuck going under the underpass and they had to let all the air out of the tires to get it through and he cried like a baby the whole time.

This wasn’t that guy.  This was… someone different.  Hell, maybe it was a guy who actually learned something throughout all of it.

Grandpa’s strength knowing this gives me hope.  Perhaps knowing and being scared isn’t as terrible as one may think.

Perhaps he already knows that he’s going to be immortal anyway…

Perhaps, because, he already is.

Midday musings: From the Eyes of a Child

A reader of my blog is a recovered alcoholic father.  I went to his blog and found an entry with the video below.  It touched my heart and I felt that I needed to pass it on here as well.

Yesterday I sent this to two important dads in my life… my own and the one of the future little man in my belly.

The message inside applies to more than just dads.  It applies to all parents.  Especially those who are facing their own inner battles.

There is a beacon of hope in a childs’ eyes that is far more magical and real than anything you will ever experience.  It is the greatest gift you will ever be able to give and receive.  It is worth the struggle.  It is worth the change.  It is worth opening your heart up and changing your ways.

Get your hankies and click.