I am struggling with the goals I sent last week. It has been a rough week in some ways. Missy is dealing with the changes to childcare the past few weeks. We are all ready to get her back on her regular old schedule.
M Bug turned EIGHT. Oh my. Hopefully more on that later. He is going through a bit of a growth spurt. Tough one. So much is happening in his world right now... when isn't it? And so I am working hard to be calm and speak softly to him. He is my extraordinarily sensitive soul who feels and see things that others do not seem to.
Spring keeps rearing its beautiful soft soul into our lives and then old man winter seemingly grumbles back to life and we are left with warm and cold moments. I do not mind them and yet I am ready for a consistent weather pattern.
Monday was 70, sunny, with a mild breeze. Missy and I spent our day riding bikes, coloring out on the front porch, swinging in the yard, enjoying the sunshine. I have already sadly counted the months till she will be five. Just three and a week or so.
We have gone back and forth about schooling. She is signed up full time for pre-school through the program M Bug attended that we loved and she is the school we wanted her to be. However, on Monday, she and I spent the morning at her "home" school filling out the petition and Kindergarten paperwork. Either way, our Mondays together will end after the summer. I have loved these days. I would not give them back for anything. There were moments but mostly they were soft sweet floating rolling days that I have felt lucky enough to enjoy. I always knew they would come to an end and so I cherished them over the past two years.
I looking forward to a focus again on my job. I love it as much as I often hate and the fact that I know I am good at what I do is a difference. I am a more confident person at work that I once was and so I am looking forward to applying that confidence.
Sadly I have had to step away from running a bit. Some new painful foot issue. I had big goals for Cincinnati and I still have those but I will be playing it more my ear. I have had to cut back on some training and muddle my way through the rest of it. I am excited to be done with half marathon training as I feel like this is the time to get healthy. The do no harm motto can be applied here. I have been interested to lose about ten pounds and get more lean in various areas but especially my tummy from my babies. I know if I give myself the time to get healthy and work on lean muscle mass I will have a chance to run some half marathons (or even just A marathon) in the fall.
Finally, we are still hemming and hawing over the flooring. We know what we want to do and with what materials but it is a matter of hiring the right person AND making the time to tear our house apart.
I am looking forward to our gardens this year. I neglected those last year as it got so hot to quickly. We are doing something different. Herbs and fun new veggies. I am planning to do some new flowers both from seed and starts. I missed gardening last year. Plus mulch. MULCH... Grrr... love/hate!
I have a goal to get the basement furnished by the end of the summer. I want to move the television/gaming systems/etc downstairs and take back that play area that is not really played in any more. We will complete the painting we started last summer... gaw. How awful to wait to so long! We will be staining the back deck and Kevin has some major repair work to do on the back patio plus I asked him to build in seating there since the drop is huge! I want to patch up some trim inside and out and actually hang the nine million pictures I have. I am excited to hit Ikea too.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. So so so much more... for now. I am off to bed.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I have said this before and I am quite certain I will say it again. This parenting business is hard. Or perhaps that is just me and others do not feel that sense of failure or doom or whatever negative feeling I can associate to parenting sometimes. This is not an always thing mind you. I feel an intense sense of pride in both kids because I know I am part of the good things they are doing in life. I feel I get plenty of positive comments about who they are and how great they are when they are not with us… what more can I ask for. I know that eventually I will send them off into this world to fend for themselves and I believe K and I have done/are doing/will continue to do a solid enough job of giving them great tools to use in their tool box. I suppose all of this comes to a point and that point is that parenting is hardest on the parent.
Parenting to me means being as present as possible. It is an introspective narrative of our internal beings. Who we are and who we were before we were parents, what we knew before children, how we react/act in a variety of situations, etcetera, etcetera… I find myself constantly telling myself to stop doing this or change that or else the kids will grow up and this will cause them trouble and pain their lives. I think I did this somewhat unconsciously until recently. I also know that the worst interior voice, the one that does the most damage to me as a parent, is the one that say “oh shit, this (behavior/activity/action/you name it) is going to fuck my kids up” and it makes me doubt and second guess everything I do as a parent. I have determined after a particularly heinous weekend of parenting that I need to focus on a few things to start to make changes that I want for them first and foremost and me and K next.
The most important aspect of this is to think about change as a whole and make steps to get to that whole. I am not good at baby steps. I think I am better a huge giant leaps which is just a made up belief because I actually really such at giant leaps and need to focus on the baby steps right now. The whole change I would like to make would be to have a more peaceful home. I did not come up with this idea on my own but of course I read about this subject on another blog. As soon as I saw the title of the other blog, I thought that is what I want work on achieving for our family. I really want this. And so I read the post and resonated with me so deeply that I felt I needed to consider how I could change things for myself to help us move in that direction.
I grew up mostly raised by my mother who in her infinite wisdom told me everything as if I was her girlfriend or sister. She would mumble and grumble out loud about every little thing that came into her head and she did this nearly 24/7. I used to shut my door and turn up the music to shut off that constant noise from her. However, confessional time, I do it to my kids especially when I am enraged/depressed/sad/scared/nervous/having a panic attack. Thank goodness I am not all of these things ALL of the time but still… I do what she did and it was a thing I dreaded/hated about her growing up from an early age till I moved far away from it. I need to shut off the external monologue. It just needs to stay where it belongs – inside my brain. This sounds so simple but after 21 years of listening to someone else pontificate on every subject and aspect of her life out loud, I have come to realize that it became a default for me. I talk my way through things out loud thus driving everyone else bat shit crazy around me. And I need to be aware and conscious of what I am saying and what is coming out (verbal diarrhea versus meaningful interactions) of my mouth in front the kids and K.
Next, I need to stop trying to change K. We both yell at the kids as our means of punishment if you will. I am always trying to correct him before he gets started which gets him even more angry and fired up and the fact is I am trying to control him when I cannot even control myself. I have told him that I hear him yelling and it gets me fired up and in the wrong place but why should he have so much control over my behavior. That is just plain silly. And so I need to let him work things out on his own and not interfere with him. I need to take care of my own internal yelling which eventually is external yelling and not worry so much about getting him to stop. I think this yelling and the constant talking out loud go hand in hand.
However my four old and almost eight year old do not understand that and so they are involved in our action/reaction situation. Sometimes we are yelling at them for everything and I can see they are simply deaf to the yelling. There is absolutely no response from either of them. If my Dad was angry he really let us know it but I can rarely in my mind’s eye see him really angry. Mostly he ignored things or he dealt with them when everyone else was calmer. If he was yelling, I knew he was pissed and I sat up to listen.
The blog where this idea of a more peaceful came from talked about yelling as an example in another post. While this blogger does not yell out loud per say he was getting internally angry and he was actually waiting for the moment when his daughter would set him off. Here is the post. The idea of trying to see that there is end to interaction was completely helpful to me. It is something I have been working on sometimes with great success and other times utter failure.
The good news is that I am working on it. Slowly but surely I am trying to do better for the kids and myself and K. I think if I can focus on two smaller things at a time and be aware of what I am doing and saying that will help. My goals for the next week will be to achieve a quieter voice outside of myself both the one that says everything that is in my head (especially when I am tired, stressed out, low on coping skills) and the one that yells at the kiddos. I want them to grow up with as many kind sweet memories of their childhood and I want them to have great tools in their toolbox that they can take with them into their relationships in the future. As important as that I want to make these changes for myself and K and our relationship. I want to take the evil little voice out of my head that automatically says negative things like you are doing to fuck these kids up… Small changes will make a big difference.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I caught a few words on NPR yesterday afternoon just after M Bug came home on his bus. We were working on his school work and I usually turn NPR down low because sometimes the news can frighten the kids but I heard them say ‘we will be updating and reporting on this all evening...’ ‘Tragedy again’, I thought and for a moment I thought no I refuse to look but then I did. I have honestly not stopped crying since I opened my phone to CCN and say the story. Boston. A Marathon. My heart dropped into my feet and I was stunned and saddened. At this event. At the one we all talk about. The one we say we would all like to try to experience one day or to shoot for to qualify for, one day.
I started running again nine months after Missy was born and I have never looked back. It has carried me through so much these five years.
I have run countless 5ks, a 10K, a 4 miles trail race, a half dozen half marathons and one marathon since I started to run again in 2009.
If I was running Boston in the same time I ran the Louisville marathon I would have been right at that spot, at that exact point where explosion one went off. I finished that race in 4:22 and some change.
The videos of the explosion and ensuing chaos are literally heart stopping. I have stood there after a race to cheer people I do not know on. I have had my FAMILY standing there at the end of the race cheering me on. My ALMOST EIGHT YEAR OLD and my FOUR YEAR old and my sweet husband and I cannot even fathom this happening to them let alone others whom I do not know.
I literally love to run but what I love about running is not just the fitness, endurance, and solitude I need and get from the sport but the community involved with running. Every race I go to I meet new people. Runners are giving. They cheer for those they do not know. They want to share stories and experiences. They offer up solutions to problems and when pressed training tips. It is exciting for every person who runs from the person who finishes first with the fastest times to the very last person who runs across that finish line who has never run before or tackled something difficult to get them across that line.
Big races or small, the end is a mix of excitement, euphoria, happy desperation, exhaustion, and confusion. Where are my friends and family? Oh a water? Yes please. A medal why of course that was hard work and thank you! A sandwich, a granola bar, and a banana – I would not pass any of you up as I have been eating gummy bears for miles and miles and now! REAL LIVE FOOD! Sometimes a beer ticket or a winter hat. Odds and ends that make the end of each race a fun, happy, or silly memory. Runners with their odd attire, blindingly bright shoes, shorts that are sometimes too short, head bands (80s anyone), ear buds, some times a tutu (on a man!?) or an Elvis pushing a jog stroller with a boom box playing music. We are a strange crew made up people of all shapes and forms. Lawyers, doctors, workers, trainers, physician freaking recruiters… you name it we can all do it and we are all a little strange for being runners. This is a compliment of course!
This past half marathon, I ran with one ear bud in, one out. I was so glad I did. I never noticed that my headphones hang down and make a funny scrapping sound on my bib so I tucked the wires away in my shirt. Then I listened to the sounds of feet patting on the ground, birds chirping, cheers from people who do not know me but are just there to be of good cheer, heavy breathing, cars passing, thank you’s being offered up to volunteers and policemen a like. The scrape of bibs even without the head phones hanging down! I was enthralled with the noise of it all and in the midst of it all I realized something. This was my place, my happy, grateful, far away from the anxiety and depression that I normally do battle with place.
This one hit “my community”, my little happy running world. I never thought about the throngs of runners milling about for a race as a scary place. Nerve wracking. Exciting. Even smelly. But not scary. Not for me or my family. Yesterday changed my view point. It made me even more determined to run more and be stronger and more dedicated. I will not allow an act like this to determine our sport’s fate.
My heart goes out to everyone who was in Boston yesterday. I am sending healing thoughts and prayers to all of the runners who raced yesterday. I pray that we can heal together at the next race, and the next one and the next…
Friday, April 12, 2013
Missy will be five on August 2nd this year. One day past the cut off for Kindergarten in our state.
I was completely determined to hold her back until next year to start school. I have various and sundry reasons why I would hold her back. First and foremost, M Bug was right around five and half when he started Kindergarten and we thought the perfect age for it!
We followed a traditional path with him and he did a full year of half day pre-K through our local public school system (that we loved btw!) That was easy to do because we had a full time Nanny at the time who could take him to the class and we picked him up in the afternoon. He hated that he had to leave early as he wanted to stay and do what the rest of the class was doing. That part was hard on all of us. Of course up until then he had so much supplemental work from home that we did not feel so bad about doing half day. When we initially signed him up for Kindergarten we did half day too but quickly switched when we learned it was M Bug and one other child doing half days out of 80 kids in four Kindergarten classes that year. He was happy about doing full time and while I was initially nervous, he did amazingly well with it.
While M Bug was most definitely ready for Kindergarten academically speaking but we felt he struggled a bit with the social and emotional side of things. The hardest part was that parents have taken to holding their kids back until they are older than M Bug’s more traditional (mid) five year old age. M Bug was bored out of his skull in Kindergarten on top of that so it did not help. I observed children older than M Bug who did not know their colors or numbers and could not sit still through a simple story being read while he would be done with his work and staring at the wall in boredom. That is another story for another time.
My concern is that it is becoming the norm for kids to be older in Kindergarten. Word’s out that this is better though I believe this to be false because I know the kids in M Bug’s Star group and those kids are mostly the traditional aged children like M Bug was.
Missy is ready for school. She is super amazing at sitting and doing work. She wants to do the work. She knows well above the Kindergarten level of work. She wants to have friends and a teacher and a structure to her life. And most importantly she wants to go to school like M Bug. She is smart like M Bug was and I fear that if we hold her back till she is six (2014-2015) she will be in a worse place than M Bug was in that she will be bored out of her skull too.
I guess in terms of having her in K this year, she would be in school with M Bug while he still on the side of the building with the lower grades this year. If we wait another year, he will be in grade 4 and in a different part of the building all together. They could ride the bus together which would happen regardless of what grade M Bug’s in (well up till grade six anyway).
She will be one of the youngest kids in her grade forever. Ack personal issues with that. I am fearful about her being young and impressionable. The school is a-mazing. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about it but it is a Title I school. There is often an element to that which is not the best and some of the kids come from rough homes. It was hard with M Bug that first year for me to work through that. I research private school two different times during that year! I know that being in the class room often made a difference so we knew who was who and which kids to kind of talk M Bug into hanging out with and which kids might not be these best in the class to spend time with. I know that sounds shitty but it is true. I guess our experiences really fuel that – M Bug had some negative experiences his first year. There was a crumby boy (whose parents we know to be kind of in la-la land) who was shoving kids down, being a bully. We had to help M Bug learn how to stand up to him and band together with some other “better” kids to avoid that behavior.
I do not want to push her too much just because it would be nice to have both kids at one place. It would lower the cost of child care (before care for the kids is next to nothing compared to what we’ve paid over the years for various forms of child care) and we would just have to drop both kids off in one place and have them come home on the same bus which would eliminate a lot of rushing around in the afternoons.
I think one of my “fears” for lack of a better word is that we push her to do it even though she feels she wants this and it is a bad situation for her. My other huge fear is going to sound like I do not want to my baby to grow up. And I don’t and I do of course. But there is a loss of innocence once your child goes to (public) school. Up till K, we had some control over what M Bug saw, read, and did. Once kids are in school it changes profoundly. Of course both kids have always been in some form of day care but we got to choose who took care of them and what they experienced in those child care settings for the most part. So I am on the fence and my determination to hold her back has wavered in the face of lower childcare, her level of readiness, and having to only go to one place for drop off/pick up. Age be damned.
I suppose, we can always move her back to a pre-k class if K does not work out. AND at the end of the day, we still need to petition to get her into school. A school notorious for large Kindergarten classes and limited space. All this fretting may be for naught!
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
I ran a half marathon this past week right in here in my sweet little town. Our town is a great place for running and runners and it is hilly as hell. I ran this same race last year as part of a training run for the marathon so we mostly just went easy but we ended up running close to my PR in a half at 1:53 (which I killed last fall in the ultra-flat Indianapolis Monumental half going 1:43!) I had no intentions of doing anything specific with this half this year. I decided that if I felt good, I would give it a go. If I felt eh I would just run the 13.1 and collect a medal all while not having to pack or get up early or stay in a hotel, etc…
I woke up the morning of the race by around 6:20 am after a pretty decent night of sleep which for me is a huge deal since I have some gnarly insomnia. The race was at 8 but I wanted to get there around 7-7:20 am. I ate breakfast, got ready for the race, and reassessed what I needed vs. what I’d laid out the night before. I stretched my foot and leg out. I am having a terrible bout of plantar fasciitis in my left foot and a newly developed shin splint on my right leg. I kissed all my little loves good-bye and I was at the race by about 7:20 am. I warmed up a bit running around the parking lot for maybe a mile of easy running. Then I got into the pack at around 10-12 minutes till the start time. It is definitely a smaller race. I saw somewhere that they had 3,300 participants but this is a combined 5k/half race. I think there was just over 700 who did the half. They set us off right at 8 and I got going. I felt good and so I went with it. I found a girl who I know from running 5ks. She’s fast so I got in right behind and trailed her. I felt good about sticking with her until about miles 3-4. Then she was out of there!
I saw friends cheering for us at various points. The earliest one felt like I was just waking up still so it was good to see them because I was like OH HEY there they are YAY I am happy and not tired yet. I was counting hills to keep myself entertained and I wore my iShuffle but only with one ear bud in so I could hear and see more. This worked out super well. I would definitely do that again. By about the 9th hill, I stopped counting in part because I forgot and partly because it was depressing! HA. Actually I was really in the zone a few times. Just going with my pace, staying in the moment.
I shed my gloves and gave them to the Myers. I was wearing sleeves and I peeled those down though I did end up putting them up and then down again. It was the perfect weather for a run, maybe even a tad warm!?
Being in the zone and cool went well until I decided to get a drink at around mile 6. They had water stations every two miles and I skipped the first two thinking I would try at 6. I slowed down to a pseudo walk and had a couple of sips. Worst mistake. It went it and made me tummy mad as hell. So I spent the next two miles trying to calm my tum tum down. At mile 8 I thought I will try more. The hell my stomach said?! Like it was trying to say stop this lady it flipped and flopped and was wicked mad at me for a good three miles after.
So up till mile 6-7 I was keeping a 7:30-7:45 but I suddenly just lost control, I lost focus and my stomach was raging mad at me so that I started to lose momentum from miles 7 till about 11. I did see the Myer family again and my sweet little peanuts and K and Melissa asked me how I was feeling and I was like EH that was just before mile 10. It was true. I felt shitty. My stomach was pissed so my brain started chattering and I nearly had to stop running to walk. I had two asthma attacks on the course right before I saw them too. One was pretty horrible and the other was smaller. I managed both of them by slowing down and inhaling past the attack. If I had not had that happen in Indy last year with Melissa and Jason running next to me I would have been scared out of my mind after a huge hill on my own in this race. Knowing I could have that happen made a difference.
I did slowly lose speed from miles 11-13.1 (about 14 seconds a mile) but I felt much better. I got my head back in the game, I zoned back out, my belly mostly felt better and I felt I stepped up to the plate more or less at the end. I also saw the sister of my boss after the last time I saw the Myers at around mile 11 and that was a HUGE moral boost. I needed someone like her to be shouting and she ran out and give me a high five even with people passing me left and right that made me smile all the way to the end!
I finished the race at 1:46:35. I had no kick left this year like the previous year. I have been working hard on speed work trying to get my pace down. I did what I wanted to do up till mile 7 which was keep my pace in the 7-8:00 minute range. I ended up with on average running about an 8 minute mile. If I want to run faster times, I definitely need to work on my back half of the race and I need to improve so that my average speed is more like 7:30 minute miles. I should definitely NOT drink water in a half marathon. Lesson learned.
Things I felt went well: having people on the course at points that I knew they were going to be there and even a surprise person helped! I felt the week leading up to the race was a positive one. I ended up running an easy three the night before. I was not sure how that would go. I think I will try it again. It kept me loose and it gave me something to do other than sit around and fret about the race. Being zoned out and in the moment totally helped me go faster and stay steady. I ate a banana and a (kid’s) granola bar the morning before and we had a solid dinner the night before (salad, fruit, and cheese I think I ended up eating). I was not really hungry at all before, during, or after. I did carry some fuel with me (Jelly Belly fuel beans) and I did not use those. I think in the half I am better off just being well hydrated before and skipping the water during if I want to run faster. I might think about water in the Flying Pig but more to rinse the funk out at some point late in the race. One thing I will do differently this time is carry the inhaler I have from being sick a few months back. I think if I can head off any exercise induced attacks in the race it will help me keep up the pace and have a better run.
I have no real goals for Flying Pig. I am running with a girlfriend whom I think will be faster than I am so I will try to keep with her as long as possible. I am working on speed still and a better 2nd half with faster average mile time overall – think negative splitting the race if possible! If I had to press myself for a goal in Cincinnati I would say getting under the 1:40 mark would be fantastic and ideally I would love to blow my PR out of the water at 1:35-1:38. We shall see.
Only because I have been meaning to start to write again on here and I never do. I thought 'oh start with this silly meme and then SURELY I will want to write again'. Of course, most of what I want to write is heavy stuff that is depressing about depression and negative feelings and all that crap so… (fake) happy Meme it is!
1. In baseball each player gets a “walk up song” that plays on his way up to the plate. What song would you pick?
Imagine (John Lennon) - I do know… I mean there are so many songs. Welcome to the Jungle (G 'n R)!? Ha. I mean seriously. Should it be a song that pumps me up?! Or one that I love because of the meaning. I chose one that I love because of the meaning and one that pumps me up then!
2. What’s the best thing that happened to you last weekend?
I ran 13.1 miles on a tough course and I felt like a rock star with the time I had at the end.
We had friends over and it was seriously the greatest way to spend the afternoon/evening after a race.
Spring has sprung and really that encapsulated all of the goodness that happened this past weekend.
3. If you could have a starring role in any film already made, which movie would you pick?
Grease. FOR SURE! Breakfast at Tiffany’s would be the 2nd one! Any Doris Day movie!
4. What actor/ actress would play you in a movie of your life?
Emma Watson – mostly because I have a girl crush on her and I think she’s adorable and I would like to be as adorable as she is.
5. What is your favorite quote?
She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails. ~ Elizabeth Edwards
6. What was your first concert?
Ziggy Marley and B-52s on the lawn at Shoreline (Mountain View CA) with my sister and her boyfriend
7. What Internet website do you visit the most?
Facebook, Google Reader (‘till it’s gone in June. Boo hoo hoo), Zulily, The Weather Channel, Hotmail, Emma (for work)
8. Which of Snow White’s 7 dwarfs describes you best and why?
Sleepy – I have terrible insomnia and so I wake up most days falling over tired until about noon
9. If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
Homemade Macaroni and cheese, broccoli, a plate of fresh fruit, and Crème brulee (made right!)
10. What is the background of your computer?
A funky blue with a picture of Lucy and Santana – I still miss Santana still so much so it is nice to see him every day (at work).
11. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Where wouldn't I go??? Where would I start is the better question! I would start first and foremost with The Netherlands, moving on to Belgium, Germany and the Swiss Alps. Italy, England, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Albania (odd, right!?) Poland, Russia (there are various cities I am intrigued by there), Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Japan, all (or any) of the Caribbean, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, The Philippines, Costa Rica, every single National park in the US, New Orleans, Atlanta (just drove through one time, would like to stop and visit it), ME/NH/VT, Boston (again), NYC (again and again…), Portland OR, France (though it is the least of the European countries I want to see… weird, right!?) Hong Kong and mainland China… I know there are specific locations I am missing (Galapagos Islands!) but seriously? I am ready to go anywhere! I have a passport ready to go at any time just waiting for the kiddos to get a little older J!
Thursday, March 7, 2013
This week has been rough. I did not even try to hide it either. I was so angry and upset and sad and it all fell into my lap at one time. My Mom told me about my Dad. I do take what she says with a grain of salt of course because she can stretch things for the drama of it and in some ways I wished she had not brought up but in her defense, I asked her to tell me what happened. Then again she brought it up to me so I wanted to know. I do find in some cases what we do not know will not hurt us. I am sure there are therapists every where wanting to strangle me for saying that. I suppose a therapist ought not to feel the urge to strangle anyone but I know those are the types of emotional shut off values they are looking to pry open in people right? That is the how and why of making their income, no? I digress.
My Dad has been an Alcoholic almost his entire life. He started to drink at 14 from what I was told. He was hellion along with his older brother back in the 50s and truly did a lot of crazy stuff out on Long Island. I don’t know if it was just treated as boys will be boys or the stuff of the 50’s but for my Dad it turned in the 60s and the 70s and the 80s (though for a brief time in my life he was sober so only part of the 80s) and the 90s and all of the 2000’s SO you see he is a lifer.
Of course when he was younger and drinking hard and he looked like heck he would just bounce back and he was most definitely until maybe is mid-50s a high functioning alcoholic holding down a full time job making amazing money and he garnered a lot of respect. In fact, had he not been an alcoholic I firmly believe he would be wealthy right now and he would have enjoyed an amazing life right now as a highly paid consultant semi-retired golfing and kicking back on beach like he used to like to do at some point in his life.
I can go on and on about my Dad. He is brilliant. Truly. So incredibly frighteningly smart that I think it hurts. He is a workaholic. He has a work ethic like no one I know. He would get up to be at work at 5-6am and often did not come home until after 6. He traveled the entire world. He was very handsome with striking blue eyes and a friendly outgoing personality that would warm up most anyone. He was a strong confident, and fair manager in his business life. He was an amazing story teller. He would spin a tale about his youth and I would be so intent on listening I would feel like I was there and I would lose track of time and space. He was always willing to try new things, foods, anything. He took me to horseback riding lessons and swim practice and he was a part of the Indiana Princesses for me and before that for my brother in the Cub Scouts. He was mostly an active and engaged father even though he was gone a lot of the time. He could start a book at noon and be done with in it mere hours. He taught me to explore the world around me, he never let me off the hook, and when he was healthy I know it was the happiest time in my life as a child.
A couple of years back, when we visited my family in Seattle it was the worst trip I have made to see them. Honestly, there are have been many worst trips to see my family but of course this one involved my Dad which is unusual. We hardly saw my Dad or brother the whole trip. It was over Fourth of July so my Dad suggested a ball game and fireworks which was great for the kids. Yay. By the time we found my Dad he was so drunk he could barely speak and I thought he was going to keel over right there. I was mortified for him and my children. I do not want them to know their Grandpa like that and it hurt my heart that another generation would see him like that. It took almost a year for me to get over that.
My Mom reported to me that his drinking is as bad as ever. He hardly takes care of himself. He gets bad rashes and my brother said he will go into the bathroom and stay there for oddly long amounts of time. The worst of it was he apparently fell down the stairs in their house from the top to bottom one night. He was drunk and he hurt himself badly it sounds like. Bruising and bleeding mostly. The thing that really hurt was that he said ‘I think I am being punished and I am hell. Why can’t I just die?’ He was raised in a hardcore Catholic home so we believe he will not outright ever kill himself but he engaged is this long process of trying to kill himself with alcohol. He would be better off NOT DRINKING in order to do that but let's not go there...
He will be 72 this summer and he has been on suicide mission for years and years. He smokes multiple packs of the worst unfiltered cigarettes he can find and drinks more than he probably did in his 40s. I love him so dearly and the few times our phone rings late into the night or early in the morning I think this is it. He is gone. I have been steeling myself from this moment for years it feels like but in my heart I know a huge chunk of me will go with him when he is gone. I feel like if I can talk about it now it will help but as it was with Santana and Barb, those wounds just lay freshly opened often even years after each have gone. I find myself sad and hurting about each of those two and I will hurt at odd moments when I least expect it. I think it is made harder with Dad because we have been so far apart physically to be sure but most definitely emotionally for so long. He told me when I lived with him 2000 that he would never ever change for anyone and I should not think about trying to change him and that this was how he wanted to live his life and he did not care about anyone or what they thought and so I have mostly just blended in the past 13 years and allowed him to do that shielding myself through distance and boxing away my emotions over him neatly as best I can. I know as the child of an Alcoholic that I cannot change people (nor do I want to) and if he wants to drink himself to death that is his choice, it is not about me; this is about him.
That does not stop it from hurting…