Tag Archives: Love

Dads Who Aren’t Fathers

Please read and share if you agree…

February 14, 2012.

I rarely remember dates yet that one has been burned into my mind as it is the last time I saw my son.

That day I kept telling him I was sorry and I would rather stay jobless and close to him than have a job and be apart. He told me he knew it was best for me and that he just wanted me doing better. That is the kind of man he is becoming.

I moved only around 2 hours away but by the time I had the money and means to come and visit he had moved 6 more hours away to his grandmothers. And so it went.

We talk often and his biggest sentiment, and mine, is how much we miss each other and can’t wait to get together again. Finally having a better job and more money the strategy of getting to see him this summer started coming together. We first wanted to just go visit him but even just a few nights in a hotel along with food and gas and all that goes with a vacation would be near 1000 dollars. A tall order for us at this time.

So arrangements were agreed upon that I would pay for his bus ticket down. I have never been as excited as the day those plans were agreed upon and everything came together. I would have him for right at 8 days and found ways to squeeze as much time together as possible. And I was overjoyed at the idea of introducing him to the amazing new family I have.

But those plans are all but completely shot down now. His grandmother is not sure about sending him to see me. Not because she thinks I’m unfit but because he hasn’t been behaving to her liking. My argument is that keeping a son from his dad is no fit punishment for almost any behavior. This is exacerbated by the fact that he has aspergers, a form of autism, that he has struggled with.

Her comment was that I’m not his dad.

This is technically true. I am not the man who brought him into this world. I am not the man who ignored him most of his life. I am not the man who would occasionally call and make promises of grand Christmas gifts and birthday visits that never occurred.

I’m the man who met him when he was 3 and fell in love with his personality. I’m the man who taught him the basics of Lego building that became his talent and obsession. I’m the man who taught him how great Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Weird Al are. I’m the man who was there for those birthdays and Christmases with him crying into my shoulder asking why his Dad never came. I’m the man who stayed in his life, no matter what, after his mother and I split up when he was 9. I am the man he continues to call dad 5 years after that point. I may not be his ‘father’ but I AM his dad.

Of course, I have no legal rights to him or I would have him here. Not as a vacation, but to live. But I have no such rights.

Now I am scrambling to figure out how to come up with enough money to go see him. It will happen, but may be limited to a day or two. It will happen because I miss him. It will happen because I have faith God will make it happen. It will happen because I have the same feeling that any mother or father could tell you they feel when they are away from their kids for any length of significant time, let alone 2+ years.

But I want this shared to show support for those dads who aren’t ‘Fathers’. To show love for those who are there, not because they have to, but because they choose to. We have no rights if something goes wrong yet we throw our hearts into it 100% with no emotional safety net.

Share this if you are or know one of these dads.

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Relationships in Review

When you first get married you will inevitably hear the question, ‘so how long have you been married now?’ so much you’ll know the question that will follow it by heart, ‘have you fought yet?’

Is it odd that as a country we immediately start thinking the only obvious extension of marriage is fighting.

Some truths:

  • I’ve been married before
  • I’ve been in too many negative relationships
  • I’ve had plenty of fights

I know marriage isn’t all roses and candy canes and monkeys farting vanilla incense all over the place. The roses wilt, the candy canes don’t open without breaking and the monkeys, well let’s just say marriage isn’t always pretty.

But marriage can be a beautiful place where two people share their hearts, their laughs, their cries, and everything in between. Unfortunately, we bring a lot of baggage into marriage, and so much more so than ever before.

When you break up with someone you hold on to all the bitterness, angst, and ill-will and put it towards the next relationship. If you’ve been through a few break-ups then you form some weird amalgam of every negative quality of every person you ever got close too.

With the explosion of online dating this has gone from an amalgam of a few people to ten, twenty, or even more bad relationships. By the time you get married once or so commonly twice you assume it will end badly. This is the mindset in our country. Marriage is simply a stepping stone to divorce and divorce is a stepping stone to dating a bunch of people to marriage to divorce. One date is a prelude to sex which is a prelude to an argument.

Here’s another truth: My wife and I abstained from sex and chose not to live with each other until we got married. That took about a year and a half. Why did I feel like the freak anytime that fact came up? Why are we the exception to the rule?

But above all, why do we feed so much negativity into the relationships around us? When we hear about our friends having a fight do we side with them and agree that their spouse was wrong or do we encourage them and help them work through the hard times? Are we a community building each other up or a self-absorbed temple trying to make sure we’re the last one standing.

What would the divorce rate look like if we pushed each other to remember our vows and keep them close to our heart. When was the last time you looked at the vows your made when you got married? In the end that is the real purpose of marriage, not a paper, not a tax status, and not a reason to have children or explain children. It is that you made a vow to your best friend. You promised to love, honor, and cherish and so much more. We are meant build each other up not force them to change. To lift each other up not break them down.

If you are constantly arguing with your spouse or on the verge of breaking up, I challenge you to not only think about the vows you made when you got married, but make new ones. How much more could you have vowed if you had known then what you know now? How much better could you treat this person than you are now?

My wife and I made the normal vows together and then I read these vows to her I had written myself. I challenge you all to hold me to them, were you to ever hear me in the place of constant negativity. Maybe we’d all argue a bit less, and expect more out of marriages, if we all took a little more time to think about the sacred vows we are making when we do.

I promise to love you the way you deserved to be loved. To treat you with respect and dignity, even if at times sprinkled with sarcasm. I promise I will work to be slow to anger, and always try to be quick to apologize and forgive. To be a role model to all our children current and future, as well as a spiritual leader. To show the love of God through my actions and not my words. And to always try to drive our family to be better today than we were yesterday. Not because we are bad, but because we always have room to grow. Also, I promise to always be your partner, I may not always agree with everything you say or choose to do, but I promise I will always back you up.

God Healed an Agnostic

This weekend, my fiancee and I took a trip to my hometown to visit my family.

The trip was relatively normal. We went to my brothers and had lunch and played a bunch of games. At the moment my fiancee and I have yet to find others in town to start a game group so these trips are also the nearly only time we get to play all our new games with more than just ourselves and the occasional child we con into joining us.

The only real difference in this trip was we transported a friends dog, who felt they weren’t home enough to care for him, to my mother.

MeAndMo

And yet on this trip I felt even closer to my soul mate than I ever have. But let’s back up first.

For those few of you who were around to read the first few posts of this blog, and then for some reason stuck around to read posts that actually got real and meaningful, will know that I’ve had a rough patch in my early-mid life. I had married a woman I was sure I would spend the rest of my life with. She had 3 children, one teen I unfortunately clashed with, and then a preteen and tween that I go really close to. And she introduced me to her church that was unlike any church I’d ever gone to.

But sadly, she didn’t keep the Holy Spirit close to her and instead let her physical wants take over. She decided to leave me for other people. I lost the whole family I’d come to know and depend on over the 3 years we were together.

This made me magnify all the negativity in my life and I ended up leaving my job. I then also overstayed my welcome with a family member and found myself homeless, moving from cheap motel to cheap motel, interspersed with the occasional night or more spent sleeping in my car.

I lost almost everything I owned including the only thing I had from my father, his wedding band, that I had worn every day since getting it for over 6 years. I’d lost my past, my present, and the foreseeable future. For over 6 months, I felt and for all intents and purposes was, alone.

I ended up getting a job at AT&T over 2 hours away from where I’d been living in my hometown and thought that God had delivered me into this new job for a reason. But instead he’d delivered me to the new city to meet the real love of my life. My actual future was in a town another hour north, and a job I would have never dreamed of a few years ago.

My fiancee and I took a vow to abstain until we were married. That was about a year and a half ago and we have kept that promise to each other and to God. It’s been one of the most important and significant decisions of our lives. Instead of building a relationship out of a sexual beginning, we have built a relationship out of communication and understanding. And while our wedding has been postponed thanks to various issues we continue to simply grow closer together.

And this weekend was no different and a perfect example. We are both a couple of huge geeks and have found our equal interests in board games. We watch videos of board games being played, reviewed, previewed, and explained. Our entertainment budget is pretty much exclusive to a small amount spent on board games each check. We don’t drink so we don’t go to bars, we cook at home almost all the time, and we rarely even go to the movies.

So these chances to play games with my family excite us even more so over the great conversation we know we’ll have. This weekend the star of the show, for us, was Ticket to Ride. While we played Forbidden Island and Nerts and had Small World and Arkham Horror available, 2 rounds of Ticket to Ride left us talking long after we’d started the 3 hour drive home.

Having only played the game 2 player style, except for one game with 2 reluctant kids, we had no idea how much we would enjoy a few games with a full compliment of 5 people actively trying their best to win. The board filled up quickly, tempers occasionally flared as routes got blocked off, and only a few colorful phrases got thrown around. We had taken a game we knew we liked and had it turned into one of the best experiences we’d ever had.

You know it's a great game when Kansas City is a busier hub than New York.

You know it’s a great game when Kansas City is a busier hub than Pittsburgh.

You see, a board game is something so much more than a video game or just dinner and a chat. Having grown up on video games, understand I’m not knocking them but even playing a 4 player round of Mario Kart still has you interacting more with a controller than a person. Talk is limited to smack and there is no way to pause the action and tell a quick joke or short story without actually PAUSING the action.

And dinner and a conversation is just that, dinner and a conversation. Teaching my rather competitive mother how to play and then helping with tips, tricks, and strategies had us conversing closely in a way we hadn’t done since I was little. Because one thing God has given me lately is a renewed relationship with her, as we had grown apart letting life get in the way.

So my lovely fiancee and I didn’t really get to talk while we were there. This isn’t uncommon as my family is loud, and there were 7 adults and 6 various aged children in the small home. And my family is loud. And there were a lot of us. And we’re all very loud.

It was loud.

So as we left I was ready to share this electric charge I’d gotten from T2R with her. She had wanted this game and it is considered ‘hers’ so I was excited to tell her how much I’d enjoyed it. All I had to say was “man that was so much more fun with 5 people” and her face lit up. We’d shared an experience from across the table, without needing to talk to each other at all.

I felt closer to her than ever before and fell in love with her all over again.

God took a broken agnostic and showed him grace. He then humbled that new Christian and showed him what true joy is. He then gave me a woman to keep reminding me of that.

Go play with your friends and family. Tell some stories, have a few laughs, and just a few colorful phrases when someone takes the route you need. YOU NEEDED THAT ROUTE! You can't just have your passengers walking from Kansas City to OKC to catch the connecting train.

Go play with your friends and family. Tell some stories, have a few laughs, and just a few colorful phrases when someone takes the route you need. YOU NEEDED THAT ROUTE! You can’t just have your passengers walking from Kansas City to OKC to catch the connecting train.

Clothing Optional

I’m one of the guys that hates shopping… unless it’s in an electronics or board game store. Yet, I currently have a yearning to go clothes shopping. One of those things that most guys would stay very far away from.

When you’re my size, finding a place to get clothes that fit can be kind of challenging. Here’s a test to see how many places in your area would NOT have clothes in my size. Go to google and search “Places that sell clothes in” whatever town you live in. If you live in a big metropolis, take away 2 or 3 from the search results number and that’s your answer. If you’re in a regular sized city, chances are you don’t have to take anything away.

But here is the real kicker, let’s say you live in one of the cities I could shop in. Prices for a shirt in my size will typically run from 35 to 55 dollars to start.

Now you may be saying, “But geek, there are lots of clothes that are that expensive, it’s not uncommon.” This is true, but also consider all the 10 dollar shirts at Wal-Mart.

If you owned 1 pair of pants and 4 shirts and had a small amount of extra money, would you consider hitting Wal-Mart for some clothes? If I could buy 4 shirts with the money I had instead of 1, it would seem like a great deal.

The problem is I have to shop for clothes the same way I have always shopped for cars. I go and see what they have, look at what I’d really like, then look at what is actually within budget. Typically it will be a little too small or not quite a right fit but it’s all they have and will have to do. Cars and clothes, way too much in common for me.

Now there are online sites that have clothes in my size and even some with some discounts. There is still nothing in the way of 10 dollars a shirt unless I go used or get ‘something flawed’ items. One of the best sites is King Size Direct, and their prices are reasonable. Still, a cheap pair of pants will start at 40 dollars. So, I got a 40 dollar pair of pants and a 40 dollar shirt, what am I getting for my money?

Because I went discount, the pants won’t be too great. KSD actually has a large number of returns and people all over the forums complain about the quality. If I were to buy 4 pairs of pants in one year, one of those pairs would still be wearable at the end of the year.

Oh yeah, that’s where I am now. I have one wearable pair of pants that haven’t ripped or torn within a few days of receiving them.

Here’s my dream. I would love the money to go into one of the aforementioned stores and buy some nice clothes. I work at a great company that does allow business casual but I would love to own a couple of suits because I’ve never had nice fitting suits. I would love to put them on and feel like I looked nice. I would love to be able to buy a few pairs of casual pants and some decent shirts and even one SIIBL outfits. If only I had about 500 dollars I could get 4 outfits. Don’t get me started on shoes.

As an aside, if anyone out there makes clothes and occasionally makes big person pants, here is how you make a better big person pant… in the crotch region, where that seam is, rip it apart. Undo that seam, now take a diamond shaped piece of fabric and sew to the aforementioned seam. This would give extra play when big people stretch but also more support in general. If you use my idea I expect appropriate compensation, like sample clothes for a start.

It’s hard enough to feel like you look good in today’s society without just having to wear whatever you have. Making a decent wage you’d think I’d be able to have a nice wardrobe, but not when a basic winter coat starts at 90 dollars. I may want clothes, but there are things my family needs more.

 

My 500 Pound Life: Acceptance

Isn’t it funny how no one really accepts themselves the way they are? And I say funny because any of us can find something that looks or seems better on someone else, yet that someone else probably thinks the exact same thing about something on them.

My thing, is fat. And it’s funny to me how I am dying to be 300 pounds instead of 500 pounds, yet when I WAS 300 pounds, I hated myself for being so fat. I want to slap that guy and tell him to enjoy doing the fun things he can.

Today, on one of the breaks away from my computer that my computer told me to take, I walked down 5 flights of stairs. If you read this post you’ll understand why that meant so much to me. And you’ll understand why I want to continue doing that on a regular basis. It was much easier than I thought it’d be though I think I’d need to sit down before walking the other block or two to our meeting point but I felt good about it. A small victory in a sea of broken dreams.

And I don’t say it to seek favor or adoration or ‘attaboys’ because this blog, like anything I write, is really more for me than about me. But I also don’t say it for that because yesterday I realized something as I scrolled through a few forums of people in my position.

I am not depressed.

This is saying a lot since I have been bi-polar all my life and depressed for most of it. I’m not on medication or anything I just have the Spirit of Joy flowing through me. My weight and position in life saddens me and walking around and moving brings me physical pain, but I am joyous through any sorrow. It’s a nice place to be.

Another thing that came up yesterday came from comments on this blog when I said, “You can’t be a story of inspiration without first being a story of struggle and pain.” It’s an interesting point yet leads to more thought about acceptance.

I used to think it was weird that I was so comfortable being friends with “disabled” people when others would shy away. Besides my brother having CP some of my best friends have been disabled.

One girl, who is no longer with us now, was a dear friend and she wanted so much to be accepted and to have friends. Stuck in a motorless wheelchair with no vehicle to drive and no one who would lug her around town she just wanted to get out and do things. I wish I had been stronger and able to take her more places but she was often ok with just a drive.

One time we were in a restaurant enjoying dinner and having a conversation and generally joking around when I whispered to her, “You should go act like you’re trying to get out the door but just keep running your chair into it. And when someone comes up and offers to help just look up at them sad eyed and say, ‘no thanks, I’m handi-capable.”

You may think I was being mean. She thought it was hilarious and added to it saying I should then come up behind her and act impatient. For us, the only problem with this story was that we didn’t actually act it out.

So what made a rather dark conversation like that with someone unable to walk a fun one? Acceptance. We were friends and we were just talking and having fun. I treated her the way I treat everyone and let me tell you, if I am picking on you, you know I accept you as a friend. Of course, any good joke is about timing. If people, random strangers had been picking on her and I jumped in with them, that would have been hurtful.

So how do I know all this just, seemingly, instinctively. It is now I realize partly because I really am disabled. I know most people wouldn’t see it that way, they’d just say ‘eat less exercise more’ as though I may have never heard such words of wisdom before. And I know that I didn’t used to see it that way. I have never wanted to get a handicap sticker, even though I could, nor have I thought of getting on Social Security. There are people in real need, even though at times, I was those people.

Of course the difference is I really can lose weight where as my friend who is paraplegic is not going to lose his paraplegicness anytime soon. Of course, he’d just cheer me on, not hold it against me. And he’d understand if I failed and wound up right back where I am. Isn’t it funny the most accepting people are the ones who have been accepted the least number of times.

PAYING (for) ATTENTION

I have had some low moments in my life. Though the lowest I’ve really never told anyone so it’s weird I will tell the world all at once.

After my nana died and I got bigger and bigger, before I finished Jr High, I had fewer and fewer friends. Which is to say I went from 2, to 1 at times, and less at others. I hated everyone who had anyone to talk to. I hated all the comments that were ‘whispered’ as I walked by or went to sit by myself. I wore dark clothing because it was all I felt comfortable in and, to be honest, it seemed to be expected of me. I was an outcast of outcasts. The outcasts wouldn’t be caught anywhere near me for fear of hurting their lack of reputation.

I also had a dad who didn’t know how to handle me. Nana had been the core of the family, now he and I were just kind of existing together. I had what any kid could want, a huge allowance. He would give me 200 dollars a month to do whatever I wanted. He would also buy me other things as well but I never did things with the allowance I now wish I had.

And I don’t mean saving it but really after I finally had friends and saw that younger people with big allowances bought nice stereos for their cars and other fancy stuff, I never wanted that when I had it. I wanted friends.

So, once a week I would stand outside at recess and hand out money. I would make it a game and say answer this question or do this or that and then give the kids what I had on me. The most I ever had on me was 50 dollars and I gave it all away to be surrounded by kids, to be the center of attention, for just a few minutes.

I like to think I’m not like that anymore. I mean, I don’t go handing out cash to people on the street so they’ll talk to me. Yet if something comes up and I feel like I may have said something offensive to an acquaintance, my first instinct is to get them a gift or ask them if I can get them anything.

Some people want things, I just want friends.